Letter to the Editor: We Are Using Too Many Pencils

We Are Using Too Many Pencils
Third grader at Aspen Elementary School

How many pencils do we use in each school and how many pencils do we need? 

On this year’s school supply list, third graders were asked to bring 48 pencils. Is that too much? I think so! 

I think we could each use just two pencils and sharpen them when they get dull. I wonder, how many trees can be saved if each student would bring only two pencils to school rather than 48.

You can make about 300,000 pencils out of one tree. If there are 400 students in a school and each brings 48 pencils, that is 19,200 pencils per year for each school.

There are about 140,000 schools in the USA. If each school uses 19,200 pencils, that is 2,688,000,000 pencils per year or 8,900 trees.  

But if each student only bought two pencils (and learned to take care of them), each school would only use 800 pencils. That is 112,000,000 pencils in the USA or about 373 trees.

Therefore, if we reduced the amount of pencils, we could save 8,527 trees in one year. If those 8,527 trees were saved, they would absorb about 110,851 pounds of carbon per year to help with air pollution, which is about the amount of carbon one car emits in 120,000 miles.

Do you think trees matter? I think they do. This year we were not very helpful saving the trees. We have another chance to try next year!