160 billion disposable chopsticks account for 20 million trees every year

And that’s just in China:

A Chinese legislator who heads a forestry company has urged the country to save more trees by reducing the 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks it makes each year, state media say.

“We must change our consumption habits and encourage people to carry their own tableware,”Bo Guangxin, the chairman of Jilin Forestry Industry Group, was quoted as telling fellow delegates at the country’s annual parliament session on Friday.

China’s chopstick production amounted to 20 million 20-year-old trees, enough to fill Tiananmen Square with 360 layers of the single-use utensil, the Xinhua state news agency cited him as saying.

It seems that our forestry industry has plenty of opportunity to improve their exports to China

China is the world’s largest consumer and importer of wood, and imposed a five percent tax on disposable chopsticks and wooden floor panels in 2006 in an effort to reduce timber wastage.

The country’s demand for foreign wood had tripled since 2000 to reach 180 million cubic metres in 2011…  the growing appetite for timber — with at least one-tenth of supplies coming from illegal sources — meant that “the fate of much of the world’s natural forests is in China’s hands”.

Perhaps there is an opportunity for value-added exports?

Alibaba screenshot

Alibaba screenshot

It appears to me that whatever we could produce would be like a drop of water on a hotplate to the Chinese, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add some value to our exports instead of shipping raw logs over.


Source: Times of India, NBC News


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  • BJ

    What a great idea – and the pinetrees could be harvested in a much earlier than after 30 years growth because the end product has such small dimensions. Then, a much smaller more economical ship could do the chopstick run – hmmmm

  • I know, how about disposal plastic chopsticks!


  • James M

    That is quite an astounding number of trees to make chopsticks bound for landfills. You dont need to be in the Green Taliban to think thats a bit of a waste of a valuable resource.

  • P1LL

    why not use forks

  • LesleyNZ

    Using knives and forks is much easier.

  • Ronnie Chow

    NZ Radiata is too weak for chopsticks . Asians use disposable chopsticks , Westerners use toilet paper . Be careful what you wish for .

  • johnbronkhorst

    Could be recycled? But as what?

    • PlanetOrphan

      Boil them up and brew some wood alcohol, run our cars on them :-)
      Or recycled toothpicks maybe ?

    • Rodger T

      I recycle mine as kindling,by releasing the stored carbon back into the atmosphere I`m helping make our winters warmer. : )

    • Hazards001


  • John Q Public

    Well fuck me. I thought they made those out of bamboo that grows like, well, grass.

  • LabTested

    About 12 months ago I got quotes to install wood shutters in the house. Was shocked to learn that all companies offered the same thing – made in China from American wood. Local Auckland shutter manufacturer had just gone under. I couldn’t by a NZ made, NZwood product!