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Sprout pencil comes with a future plant instead of an eraser

When is a pencil not just a pencil? When it's also a plant. Sprout pencils each contain a seed that will grow into a plant. Just add water (and soil).

Sprout pencil
Plant your pencil once it's a stub.

In this age of keyboards and stylii, there's still something beautiful about a pencil. I'm talking about real wood pencils, the kind you have to sharpen.

If you're anything like me, you end up with drawer full of pencil stubs that need to be cleaned out periodically. Instead of tossing them in the trash, there is an alternative.

The Sprout pencil from Democratech is made with a Ticonderoga cedar body, but it has a seed inside a water-activated cap. Once it gets small, just turn it upside down, plant it, water it, and reap the benefits of growing your own herbs or heirloom tomatoes.

Pencil chewers looking to break the habit should check into Sprout. Nibble on the end and you will dissolve the capsule holding the seed inside. You'll need some restraint if you want to be able to plant it as intended.

One of the nice features of this Kickstarter project is the affordability. A $5 pledge will get you started with a Basil Sprout. A $10 pledge gets you a three-pack with basil, marigold, and cherry tomato.

If you really want to get crazy with it, you can pledge $1,000 and the Sprout creators will plant a seed in an inanimate object of your choosing. That means you could plant a book, a router, or a smartphone. Then you can tell everyone you have a limited-edition cilantro iPhone.

Sprout pencil sprouting
This is a creative way to recycle. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET