what to do with pencil shavings

What to Do With Pencil Shavings: 11 Ideas for Reuse & Art

Some may see pencil shavings as a small and insignificant mess, but they actually have some practical uses and creative applications. Let’s explore what to do with pencil shavings instead of just throwing them away and generating more garbage. 

There are various ways to repurpose pencil shavings, from using them in art projects and as natural fertilizers to incorporating them into DIY crafts. With a little imagination, you can turn your pencil shavings into treasure.

Can You Recycle Pencil Shavings?

Generally, you cannot recycle pencil shavings in the traditional sense. This is because they’re usually made of wood and graphite, which are difficult to separate and recycle properly. However, you can choose one of the creative ways to repurpose pencil shavings below and reduce waste. 

Are Pencil Shavings Compostable?

Yes, pencil shavings are compostable. They’re typically made of wood, which is a natural material that can be broken down by microorganisms in a compost pile. 

But there’s one thing you should know before you hurry to compost pencil shavings.

If your pencils are made of treated wood or contain any synthetic materials, the shavings may not be suitable for composting. Also, when adding pencil shavings to your compost pile, be sure to mix them well with the other materials so that they can break down properly. 

In short, your pencil shavings can be a valuable addition to your compost pile and help nourish your garden. 

What to Do With Pencil Shavings

Here’s what you can do with pencil shavings instead of throwing them away:

  1. Use them as kindling: They’re an excellent fire starter. You can use them to start a fire in your fireplace or wood stove. And if you have neither, you can save them for your next camping trip.
  2. Add them to your compost: Pencil shavings are biodegradable, and they make an excellent addition to your compost pile.
  3. Bedding for rodents: If you happen to have a pet mouse, guinea pig, or hamster, you can use pencil shavings as their bedding materials. You’ll save money and reduce your waste.
  4. Make art: Glue them onto paper or canvas to make interesting and textured designs. Look for more pencil waste craft ideas in the next section.
  5. Plant fertilizer: Pencil shavings are rich in carbon, making them an excellent addition to your soil that will help your plants grow.
  6. Filler: You can use pencil shavings as a filler in crafts or DIY projects, such as stuffing a pillow or cushion.
  7. Create scented sachets: If you have a lot of pencil shavings, you can put them in a sachet or small bag and add essential oils to create a pleasant scent.

These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless!

Easy Pencil Waste Art

Instead of throwing away pencil shavings, you can transform them into something new and unique. With just a few simple tools and some imagination, you can create stunning pieces that are not only visually appealing but also sustainable. 

Whether you’re an experienced artist or a beginner, you can craft with pencil waste to explore your creativity and make a positive impact on the environment. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Collage: Create a collage using different colored pencil shavings. You can create a landscape, abstract design, or even a portrait.
  • Sculptures: Using glue, shape the pencil shavings into sculptures. You can create animals, flowers, or even sustainable Christmas decorations.
  • Frames: Create a picture frame using pencil shavings. You can glue the shavings onto a wooden or cardboard frame and paint them to match your decor.
  • Greeting Cards: Create unique greeting cards by gluing the pencil shavings onto a piece of cardstock or paper. You can add other embellishments like buttons, beads, or sequins.

There are countless ways to create pencil scrap art. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different techniques!

Final Thoughts

You can find many creative and practical uses for pencil shavings, instead of just throwing them away. From starting a fire with their help to creating beautiful art and crafts, pencil shavings have a wide range of possibilities. 

The next time you sharpen your pencils, don’t toss the shavings aside. Consider the many ways you can put them to good use, and you may just discover a new hobby or solution to an everyday problem. 

By finding out what to do with pencil shavings in a creative way, we can reduce waste and promote a more sustainable lifestyle.


How do you dispose of pencil shavings?

One of the easiest and most convenient ways is to simply throw the pencil shavings away in the trash bin. 

But if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, you can consider composting them along with other biodegradable materials. This is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your plants. You can also reuse the shavings in various ways — for pencil waste craft work, as kindling for a fire, or even as a natural pest repellent in your garden. Reusing materials has numerous benefits for the environment and for you.

Can pencil shavings go in the green bin?

Whether or not pencil shavings can go in the green bin depends on the specific guidelines of your local waste management program. Pencil shavings, being a small amount of paper waste, may be considered compostable and acceptable for the green bin. Still, it’s always best to check with your local waste management program to determine what can and cannot go in the green bin.

Do pencil shavings dissolve in water?

Pencil shavings are usually made of wood and graphite, so they do not dissolve in water. They may absorb some of the moisture, but they won’t dissolve or break down. 

If you’re looking to dispose of pencil shavings, avoid flushing them down the drain or toilet as they can contribute to plumbing problems. Instead, consider throwing them in the trash, composting them, or finding creative ways to reuse them such as pencil sharpener waste art.

Is it safe to burn pencil shavings?

Pencil shavings made from natural, untreated wood are generally safe to burn, as they’ll release only small amounts of smoke and ash. However, if the shavings are made from treated or synthetic wood (such as those found in some mechanical pencils), they can release harmful chemicals when burned.

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