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  • People throw out 100,000 chopsticks every day here in Vancouver.

  • But now, this local company is upcycling them into shelves, cutting boards, and furniture.

  • Can it help reduce the massive amount of single-use items in restaurants around the world?

  • We visited ChopValue's headquarters in Canada to find out.

  • ChopValue drivers pick up used chopsticks from over 300 restaurants around Vancouver a couple times a week.

  • Typically about 100 kilograms a day, up to 150.

  • Pre-COVID, it was more closer to like, 300 kilograms a day.

  • The restaurants part with them for free.

  • After they got in, I believe all 5,000 pairs being recycled and reused. So, it's a great thing.

  • The real work begins at ChopValue HQ.

  • The founder, Felixck, calls this place a micro-factory.

  • Just like a microbrewery, curious visitors can come in and see how small batches of tiles get made.

  • And this is how the process looks like from raw material to end product.

  • First, they sort the chopsticks on the custom-built shaker table.

  • These neat stacks are easier to work with.

  • Then they dip the sticks into a water-based resin.

  • That provides a protective coating before they roast in a massive oven for five hours.

  • The 200-degree heat kills all the germs.

  • It smells like a bakery.

  • They need to get separated again so they can be spread out evenly for the next step.

  • You can take your frustration out on the day inside here.

  • They're weighed precisely.

  • This batch will make ChopValue's thinnest tile.

  • So about 560 grams.

  • Then comes the big squeeze.

  • A hydraulic machine, also invented byck's team, compresses the chopsticks with hundreds of pounds of pressure.

  • The heart of the process that densifies like a cake, a mat of chopsticks, into a new, uniform, engineered material.

  • Which is the base modular tile used for all of our end products.

  • The tiles can be sanded and assembled into furniture, and also cut into smaller products like coasters, or even domino pieces.

  • This desk sells for just under $1,000.

  • That's about three times what you'd pay at Ikea, but comparable to the price of a desk made from solid wood.

  • This piece is made from about 10,000 chopsticks.

  • ChopValue also takes custom orders.

  • We could do large countertops, or boardroom tables, or pretty much anything like that.

  • Since 2016, the company has upcycled 33 million chopsticks that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.

  • But in China, people use that many wood utensils in one lunch break.

  • There, people throw out 130 million pairs every single day.

  • That means leveling entire forests for a product most people use for just one meal.

  • It's not just Asia. Consumers around the world contribute to this problem.

  • We all have this drawer filled with plastic cutlery, chopsticks, condiments that we never asked for.

  • Inexpensive, they're cheap, they just come in without you even asking for them.

  • Sheila Morovati is the woman behind the Cut Out Cutlery campaign.

  • Her organization pressured major delivery apps to opt out of sending cutlery by default.

  • She estimates that saved well over 200 million utensils from going to landfill.

  • Good job, Sheila.

  • Activists in China tried a similar strategy.

  • In 2017, they sued their country's biggest food delivery apps, trying to force them to stop giving cutlery by default.

  • There was a public outcry at the time, but since the pandemic, food delivery with single-use items is higher than ever.

  • So we may never eliminate disposables completely.

  • That's why Sheila says upcycling is so important.

  • If there are opportunities like that to use something that was going in the trash or headed to landfill, why not?

  • We have so much trash right now, and it's just, we're at the limit. The planet can't take it anymore.

  • When ChopValue first started, it was only making coasters.

  • Now it has franchises in three cities in North America, with more expected later this year.

  • Coasters are still the No. 1 selling item, but the collection has grown to more than 30 products.

  • And Felixck hopes his invention will show people that the next big idea for reducing waste could be right at our fingertips.

  • You put a few tiles and a few hexagon shelves on your wall, and you can point your friends to your wall and say, "Hey, guess what? I have 1,800 chopsticks on my wall."

  • And you start a conversation about sustainability or about recycling.

People throw out 100,000 chopsticks every day here in Vancouver.

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How Used Chopsticks Are Turned Into Tables, Tiles, And Other Furniture | World Wide Waste

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    joey joey posted on 2022/03/23
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