Solving the Problem of the Forgotten Pencils: Give Them Away!

In addition of having his own birthday party in October, my son was invited to other birthday parties this month. He got all kind of interesting things in the loot bags, including pencils.

Have you ever asked yourself how many pencils do you have at home? It struck me that although pencils can always be useful, we already have too many in our house. Pencils are popular gifts given to kids as souvenirs or little gifts. My son has received pencils from doctors, teachers, librarians and other professionals. He has also received pencils as Halloween treats, Christmas gift and in loot bags. I am 100% certain that we have more pencils at home that he would ever be able to use.

What to do with all these pencils?

Although many people thought that pencils would become obsolete in the computer age, it appears that we are still producing between 15-20 billion of pencils each year (apparently, Faber-Castell produces about 2.2 billion by itself!). How many trees does it take to make all these pencils? 

My issue is that many of these pencils are not used and will most probably be wasted or forgotten in drawers. For instance, we must have at least 50 pencils in drawers and other places in our house alone. Are we really going to use these pencils one day? I doubt.

I know that pencils can be recycled and used for all kind of creative crafts. I suppose that this is better than nothing. But, pencils were invented for writing and drawing. How many of the pencils that are produced each year are still used for this purpose? 

I don't have anything against pencil crafts or the use of pencils for similar projects. My issue is that there are kids in developing countries that could use many of these pencils for writing or drawing. In many developing countries, kids use pencil nubs to write or draw. It doesn't make sense at all - a really unfair situation.

My Takeaway

Call me blind or naive if you want, but this "pencil situation" is only striking me now. It sounds completely crazy, but it's true. It's like, I am suddenly opening my eyes and I am seeing something that was always there in front of me, but that for an inexplicable reason I was never able to see. I am now wondering, how many of these "realities" are there in front of me and I am not seeing them?

I feel that life is giving me an opportunity to do something to help others, perhaps to change somebody's life. I know that I will not be able to give pencils to all the children of the world that need one. All I know is that we have ~50 pencils at home that aren't used and that can be used by kids to write. I also know that this is a great opportunity to teach my son the importance to give back.  

It is often said that changing the world starts with little acts. So, if you are like me and have pencils at home that are not used, please consider donating them to organizations that send pencils to developing countries or kids who really need them. I am investigating the possibility of sending pencils to Peru where I know pencils are expensive and many parents cannot afford to buy pencils for their children. This is a project for me now, and I am planning to involve my family, friends and whoever else wants to help.

Small Changes can make a big difference!

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