I am almost embarrassed to mention that one of my kitchen drawers is dedicated to disposable chopsticks. Let me explain: the collection was fodder for a fabulous reuse project that I made with many, many school kids. Handmade knitting needles was the project. While I still knit with the handmade knitting needles, I don’t need to make any more new ones. Hence, the build-up in the chopsticks drawer.
The rest of the sticks seem to be waiting for the next great DIY project. Being quite chopstick proficient, I have a set of beautiful handmade sustainable bamboo chopsticks that a friend gave me as a gift. Those are the chosen utensils to use when a meal calls for chopsticks. Now I say no to single use chopsticks and bring my own when dining out.
Here is some chopstick background information adapted from The Waribashi Project: Chopsticks have been used for over 5000 years and are an important part of many Asian cultures. They signify sustenance, history, the sacred (special ones are used in religious ceremonies) and the mundane. A distinction is made between reusable/washable chopsticks and the throwaway kind. Disposable chopsticks pose an environmental threat through deforestation and destruction of forest habitats. Every year, throughout the world, hundreds of billions of disposable chopsticks are thrown away after a single-use. Disposable chopsticks are the number one use of rainforest wood after furniture: 25 million trees are chopped down each year to make them.
Kwytza Chopstick Art is an inspiring company that addresses the environmental impact of single-use chopsticks. The idea is simple: they collect post-use, single-use bamboo chopsticks from restaurants, thoroughly clean them, sanitize them at extremely high temperature and pressure, and use the chopsticks to make high-quality accents for the consumer’s living space. Kwytza Chopstick Art was the original idea of founder Bryan Parks, an American who lived in China for several years. Bryan rather nonchalantly asked his lunch partner one day how many chopsticks he imagined China used per year. This simple question would prove to be the catalyst for this innovative coupling of art and conservationism.
10 DIY reuses for chopsticks:
– Make gardening stakes; write plant names on the sides and stick them next to seedlings.
– Make training chopsticks for kids.
– Remove stuck toast with a chopstick (be sure to unplug the toaster first).
– Make knitting needles (my project here)
– Make chopstick wrapper bookmarks.
– Make hair chopsticks.
– Use and reuse in handy DIY Utensil Holder.
– Make a set of pick-up sticks.
– Make a DIY Place Mat.
– Use as skewers for kabobs.
Save up to 7,382 used chopsticks and build a life-size canoe!
Photo Credit: Chopstick Art www.chopstickart.com