Disposable Chopsticks –
The Price Of Convenience

Do you know the habit of using disposable chopsticks destroys millions of trees each year?

Yeah, that’s true, especially in my neighbor country China, which produces the most chopsticks in the world.

In an article by Washington Post, it’s estimated that the nation of 1.4 billion population produce 80 billion of chopstick pairs a year. And it costs the nature about 20 million tree being cut down. It’s a simple calculation: one 20-old tree can be carved into 4,000 pair of chopsticks. 

It’s a stunning, isn't it? Keep in mind that figure is in China alone. What if we sum up for all Asian nations using chopsticks in daily meals? It’ll be a huge amount.

I’m not an activist, so I’m not talking about environment protection. But as a responsible citizen on this earth, I feel regretful for that reality.

As I learnt, chopsticks have a history of 4,000 years, since the Xia Dynasty in China. Yet, in the past, people usually used sustainable sticks and things were fine. Now modern humans change habit to using throwaway utensils and, as a consequence, more and more mature trees are cut down.

See a short video clip titled “Chopsticks Eating up China Forests” on Youtube

So, what are solutions? Here is what we can do to help:

  • Use reusable rather than throwaway chopsticks
  • Bring tableware along with us whenever eating out
  • Replace wooden chopsticks with bamboo or metal ones, or other substitutes (e.g. fork and spoon)

Fortunately, in Vietnam we prefer chopsticks made with bamboo, not wooden trees. It takes only several years to grow up bamboo, but decades or more to nourish trees like spruce, birch, cedar, and willow trees to make chopsticks. That’s the point: growing time is a big difference.

Having said that, I think we still need disposable chopsticks. They are very suitable for certain circumstances, just like any other throwaway tools. You may also agree that:

  • It’s convenient; we don’t have to wash and dry them upon use. That’s very suitable for outdoor events like picnic, camping, open air parties, etc.
  • It brings certain comfort because we’re always use new ones.
  • It’s assumingly more hygienic than reusable one. Frankly, I just agree half of it. The problem lying in how we wash and clean chopsticks after use.

So, to balance between advantages and disadvantages is our own personal opinion. We need disposable chopsticks but should not over-use them. And, when we do need to buy such chopsticks, here’re several reliable online sources: amazon.com or ebay.com

Do you use throwaway chopsticks in daily meals? Do you think it’s convenient or just a habit? Share some of your thoughts here. We’d love to hear from you! 

Besides, if you find useful information in this article, would you mind encouraging me with a Like button? I love your thumbs up. Thank you very much!

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