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Plantable pencils

Plantable pencils instead of cheap pens

In the search for sustainable alternatives for a plastic-free everyday school life I am on the plantable pencils from Sprout. Once the pencil is applied, the seeds from the end of the pencil can be used to plant new trees. I think the project from Denmark is great and got in touch with Michael Stausholm, the founder of Sprout, directly for a chat. Environmental protection interview arranged.

What is the idea behind the Sprout pencil?

The idea behind the Sprout pens is to create a pen that can have a second life as a plant when it has become too short to draw or write with. Instead of throwing away the leftover stub, you simply plant it in a pot of soil and watch it transform into a flower, herb or vegetable plant with the help of a little light and water. The pen encourages children, adults and companies to recycle more and to think about how small steps can contribute to greater sustainability and environmental protection. Sprout customers mainly include companies and organizations that have replaced the plastic pen, which is unfortunately still such a common promotional gift, with a Sprout pen. Sprout pens can be engraved with individual logos or slogans and used as a green give-away or simply as a good conversation starter. (Note: regarding the cheap ballpoint pens, we have started with the zero waste principle Say no and refuse another alternative)

The idea for the pen originally came from a group of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. They had the task of developing a sustainable office product and then came up with this idea, for which they launched a Kickstarter campaign. There I saw the idea and was thrilled, I bought it without further ado and started the company Sprout in 2013. Today we have the full rights to the idea, the brand and the patent for the pen and all other plantable writing instruments.

Plantable pencils

What is the plantable pencil made of?

The pencil is 100 percent natural and biodegradable. All Sprout pencils are made from PEFC or FSC-certified organic natural wood. This means that for every tree felled, another is planted. No lead is used in the leads, which are made of graphite or clay. The seed capsule at the end of the pencil is made of cellulose, peat and high-quality seeds. It dissolves when it comes into contact with soil and water. Our pen is currently available with 14 different seeds, including bearded carnation, basil, daisy, cherry tomato, sunflower and forget-me-not.

Theoretically, 10 million plants can grow from the 10 million pens sold to date. A total of 57 trees were felled to produce them, as around 170,000 pens can be made from one tree.

Who is the team behind Sprout?

Sprout is backed by a very passionate team. The company has a main office near Copenhagen, where around 10 people work. Plans are currently underway to open a second office on the east coast of the USA. Sprout sells the pens in over 60 countries.

How is the project financed?

Sprout was originally financed by customers having to pay for their orders in advance. In this way, no major investments were initially required. In the meantime, however, there have been a few investments. However, the main shareholder of the company is still me as the founder.

Where are the vegetable pencils made and how are they shipped?

The Sprout pens are produced both in the EU (Poland) and in the USA (Minnesota). In this way, Sprout tries to use as short distances as possible for shipping and to use as little CO2 as possible when selling to 60 countries.

Plantable pencils

What sign do the plantable pencils make?

Sprout's mission is to inspire people and businesses to make greener choices. If you can plant a pencil, what else can you do to make a difference? Even very small steps count! Simply swapping a plastic ballpoint pen for a Sprout pen can make a difference. Every year, 50 billion plastic ballpoint pens are produced and sold worldwide. That's 135 million plastic pens a day. A huge amount of plastic that sooner or later is simply thrown away carelessly and ends up in landfills. If we can replace just a tiny proportion of these pens with plantable pens, we will have a good reason to produce them and be happy to make the world a little greener.

How will Sprout continue to develop as a company?

We already have a lot of ideas for this. For example, we have recently developed the world's first plant-based make-up stick. My expectations for this product are high, I want to penetrate the large market of the cosmetics industry and it looks very promising so far.

In addition to the B2B business, we also want to further expand the private customer business. That's why we regularly develop special editions, such as the Spread The Love Edition, for which we have engraved the pens with symbols and sayings that make the pens an ideal gift for lovers or friends. We are currently launching the Kids Color Kit, which consists of eight different colored pencils and a matching coloring book. It's a fun way to show children what sustainability means - a great gift for the next birthday party.

Where to get the pencils that become a plant?

Currently, the plantable pencils can be purchased as private get here. Interested companies that want a larger quantity of branded pens in individually designed packaging can simply order directly via the Sprout website.

I am an avid fan of the plastic free and plantable pencils. The concept is convincing and the people behind it work with genuine enthusiasm for nature. When Environmental protection in school is only focused on very slowly, projects like Sprout have to bring the topic of sustainability into schools. What do you think about the plantable pencil? I look forward to your comment under this post!

Stay clean,

CareElite Christoph

PS: In the Plastic free store you can find in the category Baby & Child other great plastic-free alternatives to conventional plastic items at school.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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