Well, I don’t know that you could get a lead pencil anymore, as lead is toxic to humans and those pencils discontinued in the early 20th century. In pencils the word “lead” most often actually refers to a graphite/clay mixture that has been in use for writing utensils since the mid 1500s. Lead was cheaper, and so was still used until the combination of rising health concerns and new methods for using low-quality graphite into perfectly good pencils led (no pun intended) to graphite’s take-over. The best pencil for the environment is one made from recycled paper instead of wood, non of which are available with actual lead.
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. You can refill mechanical pencils when they run out, but when regular pencils are “done” the stubs have to be thrown away. As regular pencils are made from wood, if you go through a lot of pencils you’re cutting down a lot of trees. If you have a single mechanical pencil and keep it for a really long time, you’re consuming less.
But wooden pencils bio-degrade easily when they’re thrown out. Mechanical pencils, in contrast, are made of plastic, which takes hundreds if not thousands of years to decompose. So even though you’re not producing as much waste with mechanical pencils, it’s going to be around longer!
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