The Issue with Chopsticks

I came across this issue with chopsticks as part of my Man Only Dines research.

The use of disposable chopsticks has long been a preferred method of eating in China for convenience and sanitation; particularly since the SARS outbreak in 2003. Normally the use of wood instead of plastic would be advocated, however it is estimated that China produces 80billion chopsticks a year. Thats equal to 20 million 20 year old trees, placing considerable impact on the natural environment.


Since 2006, China has imposed a 5% tax  as a deterrent to using disposable chopsticks, however it is Taiwan that is taking up the BYO chopstick mantle; as demonstrated in the following images.

In an article called  Think Before You Use: The problem with disposable chopsticks, Emily Kuo states that:

We need more creative ways to encourage people to switch from disposable chopsticks to reusable ones.

She lists a range of plastic, screw together options (similar to those shown above), but none come close to using a familiar, natural  material when compared to plastic. The natural answer feels to make the chopsticks out of ceramics, an unusual but pre-existing process.



Ceramics can be decorative, easy to clean and has permanence. The ceramic chopstick could be the answer to China’s problem.





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