We can't all make as finely conceived art from our used wooden chopsticks as this short video shows Donna Keiko Ozawa does, but we can definitely give second and maybe even third lives to our wooden chopsticks, or refrain from accepting them at restaurants entirely.
When the idea for this entry occurred to me a few weeks ago after eating Japanese take-out I thought I'd write a cute little something on chopstick crafts. I was not aware how critical the implications for our environment take-out chopsticks are.
Ozawa reveals in this video an old statistic from 1994, that Japan used 150 million wooden disposable chopsticks PER DAY. When she searched further she found more recent figures. According to a 2007 statistic she quotes, China then was exporting 14 million trees worth of these utensils to Japan EVERY YEAR and that if they continue at this pace China will be deforested in 10 years. This is not accounting for chopsticks to other countries, only Japan. I was blown away. It made me think not only of chopsticks being wasted and forests degraded, but all the other little incidentals associated with our take-out culture -- sugar packets, plastic utensils and containers, paper and plastic bags, styrofoam containers, aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, etc...
Now don't get me wrong. I am by no means an extremist on the green-thinking spectrum, but these chopstick statistics are sobering and have made me more aware of how our seemingly small habits can snowball with catastrophic implications.
Here are 10 Ways To Re-use Your Disposable Wooden Chopsticks:
- Make a soap dish.
- Use as fire kindling.
- Make a chopstick wrapper bookmark.
- Use as plant markers or stakes in garden.
- Make a lampshade.
- Sand them and use as beginner knitting needles.
- Make cup coasters, placemats or trivets.
- Use to test oil temperature when deep frying.
- Sand and use as decorative hair sticks.
- Sand and paint to play pick up sticks.