The seeds are housed in a cellulose-based capsules located where the eraser would be in a normal pencil. Once the pencil is used up, the nub can simply be put in a pot upside down, where it will eventually sprout basil, thyme, forget-me-nots, cherry tomatoes or one of several other varieties Sprout World offers.
The majority of Sprout World’s pencils are sold to companies that then hand them out as promotional items such as conference “swag.”
Michael Stausholm founded Sprout World in 2013 after coming across a Kickstarter campaign launched by three Massachusetts Institute of Technology students. “They came up with the idea during a design class at MIT,” Stausholm tells Globe and Mail. He later bought the global rights to the product.
Sprout World has since sold more than 10 million pencils—using just 57 trees in total.