December 29, 2016

The Chopstick Conundrum

Two small pieces of wood, pencil shaped and joined together at one end. You take the paper off, break them in half and then proceed to wolf down a tasty bowl of ramen or even some delicious sushi. But do you realise the true environmental impact of disposable chopsticks?

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Statistics have shown massive forest devastation has been caused by the disposable chopstick production. If you think about how many countries use chopsticks on a daily basis and then throw in every other country that sells take away food with disposable chopsticks, then you start to understand the bigger picture and also how widespread the problem is.

The Chinese government estimated that China  cuts down 25 million trees a year to make 45 billion chopsticks, with another 15 billion pairs are exported to Japan, South Korea and other countries, all of which are eventually thrown away. I am not one for maths, but according to Wikipedia this “adds up to 1.7 million cubic metres of timber or 25 million fully grown trees every year“!

That is insane amounts of completely unnecessary waste!

According to the Web site of My Hashi My Heart(in Japanese), 97 percent of Japan’s disposable chopsticks are now imported, with 90 percent coming from China, of which — the Japan Chopstick Import Association says — 67 percent are sourced from timber harvested in Russia or Mongolia.

So what can we do about this? Well simple – use reusable chopsticks!

Similar to knives and forks given at restaurants you should be demanding reusable chopsticks. Many restaurants already use plastic chopsticks that are washed and reused, but if you visit restaurants or take away places that you know don’t have reusable chopsticks, you should ask them to purchase them but until they do you will bring you own!

Yes, this is where things get cute! You can buy a huge array of cute, colourful and intricate chopsticks. Many of them come in carry packs that easily can slip into a bag that you take with you to work every day or small enough to slip into pocket to take on your lunch breaks.

chopsticks-carve
My hashi Kit –Make Your Own Chopsticks kit

The kit contains precut wood strips to make 5 pairs of chopsticks, sandpaper, beeswax and a polishing cloth. What better way to show off your creativity with your own personalised chopsticks!

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ECO Love-Earth DX Portable Own Chopsticks ~ Black

2-piece chopsticks that you can unscrew and store in a small locking case so they take up much less room than standard chopsticks. Great for road trips, camping, or taking with your bento every day.

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Japanese Lacquer Chopsticks Chop stick Travel w/ case Red

Cute Pair Red lacquer Chopsticks with Case.

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Stainless steel chopsticks with a case

Stainless steel chopsticks with a case that you simply screw together and you are ready to eat!

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Travel Picnic Portable Chopsticks Spoon Cutlery Set

Classy all stainless steel design Travel Chopsticks Spoon Cutlery Set is durable and easy to clean! Set includes a pair of chopsticks, and a spoon. It is ideal for camping, picnics, lunch boxes!

For some more reading about disposable chopsticks and their impact world wide see below:

 

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