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Which element you started your writing journey with? In childhood, most of us have started writing with pencils. But as we gradually have grown up, the necessity of pencils has been lessened. We hardly need to use it. But still, we are in an emotional relationship with pencils.
But have you ever wondered that how many pencils are produced each year worldwide? How does it affect the global economy and environmental balance? Have a read till the end of the writing to learn about it.
Also Read: What Wood Are Pencils Made Of?
Table of Contents
How Many Pencils Are Made Each Year?
You will become amazed to know that each year, an estimated 20 billion pencils are produced worldwide! Though China produces about half of the total production (729 million $), poorer countries like Germany (166 million $), Brazil (105 million $), Indonesia, India are also in the competition.
The world’s largest pencil producing company is Faber-Castell which was founded in Germany by Kaspar Faber in 1761. This company has gained unimaginable success mainly because of some of its inventions. They invented the hexagonal pencils and were the first to use water-based paints on pencils. Now, they produce more than 2.3 billion pencils a year.
How Many Wooden Pencils Are Used Each Year?
Despite being a thing of less use, still pencils are of many applications and it has a worldwide demand. Especially wooden pencils are spontaneously used by school-going children. Consequently, more than 2 billion wooden pencils are used across the world.
Pencils of this type are made of graphite encased in wood. Hence, there are various qualities of a wooden pencil depending on how hard or soft and light or dark it will write on the paper and how smoothly it will write.
Among so many wooden pencil manufacturers across the world, it is quite confusing to determine who makes the best pencils but Dixon Ticonderoga and General Pencils are two quality manufacturers of wooden pencils in the USA.
On the other hand, Germany and Japan are phenomenal pencil producers having a long history of making the highest quality pencils. German company Faber-Castell makes one of the finest pencils but despite having 16 manufacturing plants worldwide, this giant stationary company tries to limit the best quality know-how of their pencils to its origin country – Germany.
How Many Mechanical Pencils Are Made Each Year?
To talk about pencils, the picture that generally comes to our mind is mostly of a wooden one. Mechanical pencils are not wood-cased and the lead is not attached to the casing.
The amount of mechanical pencils produced each year is much higher than that of wooden pencils. More than 14 billion pencils of this kind (which can circle the earth 62 times!) are made each year to meet the demand for it.
These pencils are generally reusable. The first patent for a refillable pencil with a lead-propelling mechanism was issued to John I Hawkins and Sampson Mordan in 1822 in Britain.
But it became successful after a lot of attempts by a Japanese metalworker Tokuji Hayakawa in 1915, who had just finished his apprenticeship. It was introduced as the ‘Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil’. From then on, it has gained huge popularity from writers.
How Many Pencils Are Made in a Day?
From an average calculation, we get that approximately 55 million pencils are made in a day worldwide. US company Dixon Ticonderoga, who is known predominately for its yellow and green pencils for many years and is the eleventh oldest company in the United States produces about 4 million pencils per day.
General Pencil, the oldest pencil-making company in America, makes about 24,000 pencils a day, almost 9 million in a year! German company Faber-Castell makes about 6,300,000 pencils daily. These numbers depict the daily demand for pencils across the globe.
How Many Pencils Are Made from One Tree?
In order to make wooden pencils, wood is required. Each average-sized tree can yield more than 170,000 pencils. An enormous number of trees are being cut down to get wood.
Especially softwoods are more suitable for making pencils and this vital ingredient mostly comes from coniferous trees such as pines or spruces. But very few woods are as used as Cedar woods in pencil production because it encases the graphite and so pencils become easier to hold for the writer.
A 14 years-old tree is assumed to be perfect for using as a pencil-making ingredient since they’re matured enough to be cut down. But unfortunately, they are under the threat of extinction. So we should care for the environment so that trees can grow nice and strong into the future.
How Many Trees Does It Take to Make 1.5 Billion Pencils?
By the normal calculation, it can be said that it takes almost 9,000 trees to make 1.5 billion pencils. In total, it is estimated that 82,000 trees are cut each year just for this single purpose.
The wood pencil emits 5-6 times more Carbon Monoxide gas in the air than a paper-pencil. It also emits water pollutants and increases BOD in water. These are the ways the production of pencils is affecting the environment.
Deforestation is taking place to make pencils and it is a threat to ecological balance. Environmentalists are suggesting that Eco-pencils should alter the traditional pencils so that nature could be saved from pollution and climate change. Eco-pencils are pencils that are non-toxic and biodegradable.
How Many Pencils Are Produced in the US Each Year?
The United States produces more than 2 billion pencils in a year. Two giant pencil-making companies of this country are Dixon Ticonderoga and General Pencils. As well as producing a huge number of pencils, they assure the best quality of their products.
No other companies have become able to exceed their level of quality or quantity. Dixon Ticonderoga makes 500 million and General Pencils make 2 billion pencils a year. The pencil industry in the US is visibly dominated by these two companies.
How Many Pencils Are Made Each Year in the UK?
In the UK, Derwent Cumberland (a pencil company) makes about 14 million pencils each year. This company started producing pencils from 1832 in Cumbria. The company was awarded the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
In 2014, Derwent was awarded the Environmental & Energy Awareness Award at the local CN Business Awards. This company has also established a Pencil Museum located in Keswick which shows the history of pencil making and the creation of the company itself.
The history of the origin of Pencil is somehow related to the UK. Before 1565, human beings first observed the invention of graphite pencil after revealing a deposit of graphite in Cumbria. Its neighbor country Italy was the first to use the wooden covers to graphite rods. So, this country has a historical connection to pencil.
As pencils have become an essential and integral part of our life and of so many uses indeed, the production of this element is very important. Its utility and ubiquity have made its distinctive identity. It plays a significant role in the economy of Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, Thailand, or Mozambique as they either make pencils or export raw materials for the process of making it.
But as it is causing negative effects on the environment to some extent, stern steps must be taken as soon as possible to save the environment. Keeping this in mind, high-wage nations can compete based on quality, innovation, and specialization.