The body of the Paper Mate Earth Write mechanical pencil is made from compostable corn-based plastics that will biodegrade within a year in soil or a compost pile. I bought it about a year ago but realized I hadn’t reviewed it or even mentioned it. Partly, I waited to see if anything untoward would happen to the pencil casing left in my office over time and partly because I can be forgetful when it comes to what office supplies I have.
The set came with one mechanical pencil body and a separate tube that stored refill leads and extra eraser caps. To be honest, I was more intrigued with this spare tube than the environmental aspects of this particular tool. Both the pencil and the extra tube are a soft cream color with light sage green accents. I liked the less garish colors and we all know if you make it green, I’ll buy it.
The photo above shows the pencil lead completely retracted and the clear plastic cover over the eraser so that it doesn’t pick up lint or gunge in the bottom of your bag. The sage colored grip is slightly rubbery to make for a comfortable grip.
Each end of the spare tube untwists from a center piece to access the leads from one end and the erasers from the other. I found this to be the most ingenious thing I’d found in a big box office supply shop.
The overall performance of this pencil is quite good. The lead is dark (HB hardness I beileve) and smudges a little but would be good for sketching and shading. If you prefer a different lead grade, that’s easy to change. The eraser that comes with the pencil is perfectly adequate. The point retracts into the pencil when not in use so it will not be damaged or stab the unsuspecting.
I love mechanical pencils for the on-the-go writing. I always have a mechanical pencil in my car because I don’t have to worry about the pencil not working in severe climates. This pencil, because of its environmental biodegradability, is not a pencil I’d leave in my car but rather keep it in a pocket, bag or just on my desk at work. The other advantage of a mechanical pencil is that you can fill it with whatever type of lead you prefer — harder lead, softer lead, colored lead — as long as it matches the diameter of the pencil mechanism.
If you happen upon this Paper Mate Earth Write mechanical pencil with lead and eraser holder I would recommend picking it up if only for the travel-friendly leadholder. I searched extensively for an online retailer with the set but came up empty handed. If anyone finds a vendor selling the mechanical pencil with lead/eraser holder, let me know and I’ll update this post. Thanks!