But soon schools in Central New York and around the country will have the opportunity to use a different kind of writing tool.
"I just thought the idea was so neat and different that it would really work for us," said Daniel Smith, CEO of Max L. Cowen's Student Stores in Oriskany.
The idea is to have schools participate in a fundraising and recycling program to turn your everyday newspapers into recycled pencils.
"They go around and do a newspaper drive around their neighborhood or school. They pack everything in a U.S. Postal Box, we send in the tag, we pay for the freight and it ships to our factory in Oregon and then it's put into the inventory to convert into pencils," said Smith.
During the process, Smith says all you need is one half sheet of newspaper to make one recycled pencil.
"It's a machine that rolls them back and forth and it's a very proprietary machine and the glue is a patented glue that they're using. It kind of all melts and seals together," he said.
Along with recycling pencils, Smith says they hope to create other school-like items.
"We're expanding into doing the snack bags and potato chip bags and drink bags. We're going to turn those into pencil boxes and rulers and all different types of products like that," said Smith.