The chopstick industry has taken a lot of of heat in recent years from environmental groups and the public at large in regards to their foresting practices, waste by-product and mass produced disposible products.
That raises the question as a consumer.. what can be done as a consumer to reduce the environmental impact of disposible chopsticks? The obvious answers are to reduce the quantity of chopsticks that you as an individual go through by using reusable chopsticks, however, for many people there will still be times here and there where you find yourself getting disposible chopsticks with your take away sushi. Seeing as this site is about composting, we’ll take a closer look at what you can do in those situations.
Generally, wooden chopsticks from the take-out restaurant end up in the trash, but they are wooden, so shouldn’t they be compostable? Well, yes they will break down, but if you are concerned about turnover rate with your home composter, you should keep in mind that chopsticks will compost much slower than traditional food scraps.
If your municipality has a curbside program which allows for separate pick up of organic products, it would be a good idea to leave the chopsticks for an industrial composting facility. The same goes for other wood products manufactured for the food industry such as; coffee stirrers, popsicle sticks and tooth picks.
If your property is large enough to allow for two seperate compost systems it may be a good idea to run one system composting strictly traditional organics for a quick turnover of quality soil and a second system that allows for slower break down time of products like chopsticks and wine corks. Just be sure not to leave out a decent amount of kitchen scraps, lawn trimmings and water as required.
This article should help in those cases when you find yourself using disposable chopsticks, but, it should also act as a remind to do your part in helping to reduce the use of disposable chopsticks. A small investment in reusable chopsticks for the home can go a long way and if you’d like to make an extra step in helping the environment, reusable travel chopsticks are now on the market for sushi lovers on the go.