The Wopex and Eco are, as far as I can tell, identical except for the finish. They are made from a wood-plastic composite and shout out their environmentally friendly credentials. What are they like?
Lead grade options: HB (Wopex and Eco), 2B (Wopex), 2H (Wopex)
Barrel colours: green/black (Eco), silvery blue/green/red (HB/2H/2B respectively) plus some limited edition finishes
Barrel shape: hexagonal
Eraser?: an option for the Eco
According to Staedtler, Wopex is a combination of wood and plastic that’s heated and moulded into a long pencil shape, which is then chopped into appropriate lengths. It’s apparently better for the environment than using just wood and the page about this displays all kinds of badges to prove it. I have to take their word for it, it’s way beyond my knowledge. It seems strange that disposable plastic is more environmentally friendly that wood but I don’t suppose for a moment they’re making it up. Perhaps the manufacturing process itself is greener.
The lead is good. It’s nice and smooth, fairly smudge-free and shades well. It’s easy to erase. It doesn’t feel like normal pencil lead. In common with the barrel, it’s a little plasticky feeling.
The paint used feels a little plasticky and takes some getting used to but I particularly love how the Noris Eco version looks.
As is so often the case, it’s marred by a barcode and serial number, particularly so in this case as Staedtler didn’t make any attempt to match it to the rest of the printing on the pencil.
The barrel material also feels, and looks, plastic. This is really obvious when sharpening.
My initial reaction on picking up the Noris Eco was less than positive. I have to be honest: if I pick up a pencil, I expect it to be a certain way and made from wood is pretty much at the top of the list of ways I expect it to be. I put it back down and avoided it for a long time. Then I saw a pack of Wopexes in a French supermarket and, inevitably, bought them and gave them, and then the Eco, another try. The Eco in particular has grown on me. It’s a good pencil. It sharpens well, keeps a good point and looks fab. It will never be a favourite wooden pencil because, well, it’s not really wooden, but I no longer shun it. I’d even go as far as to say I like it.
Supposedly better for the environment
Good looking (particularly the Noris Eco)
None, as long as you like how it feels
You can find some more reviews of the Staedtler Wopex on Pennaquod.