This Pencil Can Grow Plants
21 June 2018
Denmark-based company Sprout World takes sustainability to the next level. The startup makes plantable pencils that grow into vegetables, herbs or flowering plants once you're done using them.
Where a typical eraser would be, these wooden pencils have a capsule made from biodegradable material that contains a small mixture of seeds and peat.
You plant the capsule in a pot of soil and use the stub end of the pencil as a marker. The capsule dissolves and the seeds grow into a plant.
All aspects of the Sprout pencil are sustainable and non-toxic – from the biodegradable seed capsule to the 100% natural clay and graphite core and PEFC/FSC-certified wood.
All Sprout seeds have been selected because they are easy to germinate. So you can enjoy vibrant flowers, fragrant herbs or fresh vegetables.
"There are 15 billion pencils made annually, and three million of those just in the United States. That's a lot of pencil stubs thrown away," said Michael Stausholm, CEO of Sprout World.
The pencils were developed by three MIT students in 2012.
"At the time, I was living in Denmark and working a lot with sustainable companies," he said. "But sustainability is hard to illustrate to consumers. I was searching for a product that could easily do that."
Between its beginning and today, the company has achieved a production growth rate of 2000%, from selling about 100,000 pencils the first year they are now selling approximately 2,000,000 pencils today.
Still, unlike its regular plantable pencils, Sprout’s new tree-growing ones might not be for everyone. Stausholm says it takes an “advanced and patient” grower to produce trees from seeds. “Many tree seeds may be difficult to germinate, as they have a natural dormancy,” he explains. “However, with light, water, love and a lot of patience it should be possible.” To makes things easier for novices, the company has popped some wildflower seeds in the capsules “to give them an extra sprouting touch.”
How to plant
1. Use a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom. Place it on a saucer and fill with good potting soil.
2. Water the soil so it’s moist but not soggy.
3. Plant the pencil at an angle and not too deep. The soil should just cover the seed capsule.
4. Place the pot in natural light but avoid direct sunlight. A temperature of 20C is ideal.
5. Water regularly in the saucer. The first shoots should appear between one and four weeks later.
|Written by: Julia Wright|