Bamboo Pencils

Pencils are covered with wood and increasingly with plastic. A bamboo pencil looks, sharpens, feels and writes like a conventional pencil; the user experience is unaltered. Bamboo is a locally available resource and pencil manufacture can be a household enterprise and/or create rural jobs, with a policy change in material specification.

• A small unit setup with an annual production of 144,000 pencils can generate employment of 2400 labour hours/person per year.
• Technologies and production processes to enable rural communities to produce bamboo pencils in India have been developed.
• One technology produces individual pencil slats by hand that are then machined to accurate dimensions, leads inserted and halves glued. The process is completed in the same machines as for painting and branding wood pencils.
• A second technology converts round bamboo into a flat slat that feeds the conventional wood pencil industry as a raw material. This generates fewer jobs but retains the advantage of saving trees.

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