The controversy over use-and-throw food packaging has been put out on the table for as long as we can remember. China alone produces around 130 million pairs of bamboo chopsticks daily, which destroys a forest the size of 100 American football fields every single day. Consequently, the country produces about 80 billion chopsticks each year.
The popularity of Asian cuisine has reached all parts of the world. But such a spread has inevitably paved the way for an increase in food packaging waste as well. This has given a purpose to Felix Böck, a doctoral student in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia (UBC), to take actions against this pressing need of dealing with the wooden discards.
It does not stop in Asia
Around 100,000 pairs of chopsticks are dumped into the landfill of Vancouver every day. Böck came up with an idea to find an innovative and sustainable way to make the most out of these used restaurant cutleries which would otherwise have been simply disposed.
Böck started off by recruiting restaurants all around the city to make use of recycle bins. They ask customers to throw bamboo chopsticks into the bin separately after their meal. Chopvalue, a Product Development and Design Startup, then picks them up and brings them to a lab at UBC. There, they clean and coat the chopsticks in resin. Finally, a machine hot-presses to flatten them.
They arrange these “planks” together to make beautiful home accessories and furniture pieces.
The recycling firm started out back in July 2016. Within less than a year, it has already recycled 800,000 chopsticks. The restaurants are in favour of Chopvalue because it decreases their payment for waste disposal by a good chunk. The company proves that one man’s trash can certainly be another man’s treasure.
For more details on their products, visit https://chopvalue.ca/
Written by: Sumichhya Gurung