A Conversation for Chopsticks

Campaign Against Disposable Chopsticks

Post 1


Bit of a serious post - oddly so for me.

A couple of years ago, I spent a few months in Japan, teaching English. Whilst there, I observed the phenomenon mentioned in this (very good) entry, namely disposable wooden chopsticks being given away with every restaurant meal, fast food dish and shop-bought "quick meal", like cup (pot) noodles.

A friend of mine who had been in Japan for some time pointed out to me the waste of natural resources that this involves. There are millions of Japanese people who will receive a fresh pair of wooden chopsticks at least once a day. It must take an absolute rainforest of wood to supply the country every year.

Her advice to me, which I wish, humbly I hasten to add, to pass on to the h2g2 community is that people living in or visiting South-East Asian countries can simply take around their own chopsticks (plastic, wooden, metal - whatever) and use them rather than the disposable wooden variety. They often come in washable wallets, so you can clean them properly.

In the West we are very aware of the damage caused by overuse of natural resources and it does not make you stand out any more in SE Asia to make this small stand. It might even make a positive difference.

Thanks for reading this polemic (if you have). It's one of the few things I have a real beef about and I thank h2g2 for this opportunity to air my views.

On a lighter note, my time in the Orient has enabled me to develop first-rate chopstick skills which I now display at the drop of a rice grain!

Campaign Against Disposable Chopsticks

Post 2


As for me and mine, we do each have our own personal pair of sticks that we take with us when we know we are going to a resturant that provides disposables. But often time, we do just drop into places on the spur of the moment where chopsticks are the prefered method of feeding our faces, and we do not have them with us. I think there is a justifiable need for disposable chopsticks, however they do not need to made of wood. The best disposables I have used are made of bamboo, a resource that is much quicker to renew than trees. Though when you think about how much wood is in a tree compared to that in a pair of disposable chopsticks, the impact can't be that much can it?

Campaign Against Disposable Chopsticks

Post 3


Given the nature of usual processes to turn trees into "usable" wood, I would imagine that there is awful lot of wastage.
However, the issue is not wastage, it is the fact that each restaurant uses something like a trunk a day (rough figures) in disposable sticks.
I do, however, salute your use of your own sticks wherever possible.

To be thoughtful of the world is to start to become of it.

Campaign Against Disposable Chopsticks

Post 4


Thank you for pointing that out DickieP. Here in Malaysia, a veritable mountain of disposable chopsticks must be used every day. I am going to join your campaign and take my own chopsticks. Anyway, the bamboo ones are often roughly made and shed strips of bamboo while one is eating.

Campaign Against Disposable Chopsticks

Post 5

Wand'rin star

When I first went to China a very distinguished elderly scholar came to the banquet that was given to welcome me . He pretended that his hands were now too shaky to operate chopsticks and called for a spoon and fork. Thus I did not lose face when they were provided for me too.Fifteen years later I am still amzed by his kindness.
I not only carry my own chopsticks but also a fork for foreign visitors in Porf Chu's memory.smiley - smiley

Campaign Against Disposable Chopsticks

Post 6


What a lovely story!

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