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Bring your Own Chopsticks & Save the Planet

June 9, 2008

Bring your Own Chopsticks & Save the Planet

Did you know that the use of disposable chopsticks is contributing to the decimation of forests in China? 

Asia’s appetite for chopsticks has resulted in the loss of 25 million trees a year in China and since the start of the decade and the country has exported over 165,000 tonnes of chopsticks, with 15 billion pairs finding their way to dinner tables in Japan and South Korea.  One estimate states that a nation wide noodle chain in China uses 160,000 pair of chopsticks each day.  That’s a lot of trees!

…environmentalists say they (chopsticks) are up there with plastic carrier bags, individual mini-cheeses and clear plastic CD cases. (in terms of their impact on the environment)

The use of chopsticks date back over 5,000 years but disposable chopsticks only became prevalent in the mid-1980’s.  I say it’s time to put the brakes on this trend! 

If you love Asian food then you are contributing to the environmental waste when you use disposable chopsticks at an Asian restaurant on your travels or at home.  Ask your favorite restaurant to start offering re-usable chopsticks right now and if you are planning on traveling to Asia make your first stop a store where you can buy yourself a beautiful pair of chopsticks or bring some with you.  You can use your beautiful new chopsticks on your journey and take them home with you as an amazing reminder of your trip and your ongoing kindness to the planet.  It’s a simple thing to do and and if everyone did it there would be a huge positive impact on the environment.

If you are in Tokyo you can pick up a beautiful set of chopsticks at Ginza Natsuno.  You can even buy foldable chopsticks that are compact and easy to carry in your pocket, handbag or backpack.  Your new chopsticks will be the talk of your table when you eat out and you’ll be doing your little bit to save the planet and educate others at the same time!

Check out other green travel tips at Traveling The Green Way, one of the new additions to the b5 Travel and Culture Channel, and be sure to check out the entries from the inaugural green travel blog carnival hosted by Liz.

Photo Credit, Flicrk, chopsticks  Sources: NPR, Group Pleads: Bring Your Own Chopsticks to China & The Independent, The true price of disposable chopsticks