Single use-chopsticks are a notable waste issue in China - roughly 100 trees a day must be felled to create the little, wooden eating utensils. In response to the atrocities being subjected to these innocent trees, the China Environmental Protection Foundation has assembled the ghostly remains of meals past into a full-sized chopstick tree. An impressive sculpture standing beautiful and tall, this was actually far from the message they hoped to convey. So what did they do to get their point across? They broke it and handed out reusable chopstick sets and statistics near the slain tree.
The tree was built from 30,000 used wooden chopsticks, stretched five meters high. It stood along a local street in Shanghai accompanied by a laundry list of chopstick consumption statistics. And despite the likelihood they were dipped numerous times in soy sauce, the sticks were odor-free having been thoroughly cleansed before assembly.
The hope of this project was to raise awareness and encourage the use of reusable chopsticks. China’s activists estimate that the country’s current forest stock will only support chopstick production for the next 20 years.
With various "bring your own chopsticks" movements making little headway against the 45 billion pairs of disposable wooden utensils used each year in China alone, a clever Chinese environmental group has brought a dramatic visible representation of the environmental impact to the streets of downtown Shanghai.I eat with chopsticks almost all the time, almost never disposeble ones, and if the are disposable, they are bamboo. There's something about stabbing food and the need for cutting at the table is usually unnecessary, with my diet. It's much calmer to just pick it up and place it in your mouth rather than cutting, stabbing and shoving it in.
Though they can be made out of porcelain, plastic, lacquered bamboo, stainless steel, and even ivory or jade, chopsticks of the disposable wooden variety have long been the most-used utensil in China's restaurants and other eateries. Some 25 million trees are required to feed the country's annual chopstick, er, yen, according to the China Environmental Protection Foundation, which notes that at this rate, "forest will disappear from China in 20 years."
Only Two Decades' Worth Of Trees Left
To raise awareness about the problem, the foundation went around Shanghai and gathered 30,000 pairs of used disposable chopsticks from the city's restaurants. After washing and preparing them, they used the little wooden sticks to build a five-meter-high tree in a busy district of the city -- and then chopped it down. Volunteers were stationed by the fallen "tree" to hand out reusable chopsticks to curious passers-by, while a sign laid out the consumption statistics and warned: "Our trees are enough to feed us for only another 20 years."
We'll agree with tipster copyranter that it was an impressive and "pretty damn industrious" idea -- and hopefully one that makes a real impact.