Pencil "Lead" from Generator Brushes

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) and Tombow Pencil recently announced that they have jointly developed mechanical pencil "leads" recycled from generator brushes used in TEPCO's thermal power plants. Generator brushes are made from highly pure graphite (over 97 percent), and are crushed to form graphite particles. Generator brushes transmit electricity to rotating shafts and must be replaced on a regular basis because they get worn out from friction with the rotating shafts. Discarded brushes used to be disposed of as industrial waste in landfill. Having examined the cost and effectiveness of recycling generator brushes, TEPCO decided to recycle the brushes into mechanical pencil leads in collaboration with Tombow. TEPCO estimates that about 300kg of used brushes are replaced in its thermal plants annually. Recycling all these brushes could produce 24 million refill leads (1.5 million packages of 16 leads each). Tombow plans to put the recycled leads on the market during 2005. :: Triple Pundit and Japan For Sustainability