If I say an exciting new pencil has recently hit the market, how would you react? Most of you would say a pencil is a pencil. There are hundreds of them making a debut every day, so what’s the big deal! But, renowned global stationery product manufacturer BIC promises stylish plastic pencils. Now, you would say that plastic pencils have been there for quite some time now, so what’s so great about it. The stationary maker has unveiled its new line of pencils called “Ecolutions”, which offers sustainable wood-free pencils made from Axion Polymers’ high-grade recycled polystyrene.
Axion’s Axpoly PS01 is obtained from waste fridge plastic. Although the pencils are made completely from recycled polystyrene, but they look and behave like conventional cedar wood. BIC claims that using Axion’s Axpoly PS01, as many as 640 pencils can be made from one typical UK recycled fridge. It’s not the first time that BIC has produced all-plastic pencils, the company has been producing them for nearly ten years now. The manufacturer used a co-extrusion process for both the lead and outer body, which was criticized for being less sustainable. So, in order to further improve the sustainability of their pencil, BIC replaced the virgin polymers that they used with recycled plastics.
This is what Axion Director Keith Freegard says:
The recycled plastic pencil is a fantastic high-profile example of the closed-loop recycling of one widely-used household product into another. It’s also a really interesting story of product development in relation to changing consumer environmental awareness. Disposable plastic items, such as pens, pencils and razors made from virgin polymer, have been with us for some years. With general raised awareness of sustainability and recyclability issues, the next logical step was to make these plastics more sustainable – hence the use of a fully-recycled polymer from fridges. As a technically-demanding yet practical product, the pencil also highlights the versatility and innovation of current plastics processing technologies.
In order to develop polystyrene that BIC wanted, Axion worked in collaboration with Ineos Styrenics, leading global manufacturer of polystyrene resins. Looking like conventional pencil, the Ecolutions range not only meets various environmental and regulatory standards, but is also a cost-effective green product. It can be sharpened using a conventional pencil sharpener and does not splinter. Axion claims that by using its Axpoly PS01, BIC saves 2,300 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions annually. These pencils also saves up on the high levels of wood waste involved with the manufactuiring of wooden pencils. So, it proves to be a great way to save the life giving trees.