China is Destroying Its Forests to Make Disposable, Wooden Chopsticks
We humans can be such idiots:
Visit a run-of-the-mill sushi bar in New York or London and you’ll probably find wooden chopsticks at your disposal there, too. But if you’re in the mood for Vietnamese food, you’ll probably be dining with the plastic variety, while Korean restaurants tend to go with metal.
So, what’s the big deal?
Each year, the equivalent of 3.8 million trees go into the manufacture of about 57 billion disposable pairs of chopsticks in China, according to statistics from that nation’s national forest bureau. About 45 percent of disposable chopsticks are made from trees like cotton wood, birch, and spruce, while the remainder are made from bamboo.
Half of the disposables are consumed within China. Of the other half, 77 percent is exported to Japan, 21 percent to South Korea and 2 percent to the United States.
Chopsticks add to a plague of regional deforestation. According to a 2008 United Nations report, 10,800 square miles of Asian forest are disappearing each year, a trend that must be arrested to fight climate change, given the vital role trees play in absorbing carbon dioxide.
How hard would it be for everyone who uses wooden, disposable chopsticks to switch to metal or ceramic? I mean, imagine throwing out your fork, spoon and knife after every meal.