Chopsticks are a massive waste problem. This company recycles them.

Additional uses I have found so far:

  • making a big nail hole in sheetrock “smaller” by shoving all (or a splintered sliver) as a 2" section of (clean) wooden chopstick;

  • the balsa wood ones (not the bamboo kind), soaked in old veg oil (the kind that has gone off so much it is inedible) or melted wax for firestarter (grill, campfire, burn pile), let dry, store in a tall jar or tennis ball can (not a Pringles can, the oil wicks into the paperboard)… balsa sure does burn;

  • shims or props when (spray)painting stuff that needs to be kept just a bit away from the work surface;

  • shove them handfuls at a time into the soil to keep the cats from digging in flower pots (I sometimes soak these chopsticks in peppermint or chili oil first if I have a persistent problem);

  • the hard bamboo kind can be cleaned in a hot dishwasher or using hot water and bleach… bring to a potluck and leave them out for people to use and take home if they forgot to bring their own utensils;

  • good for cleaning out icky hunks of old seed from complicated bird feeders–just compost (or throw them away if bird germs like salmonella are suspected).


oops, forgot one: I use old chopsticks to hold wet boots and shoes open so they can dry faster… I can custom-size each stick by breaking a piece to the correct size for each shoe… usually I use several per shoe (or boot)


It’s somewhat m​oist*. It would be a moldy mess in a few days or less. (With the locally-made injera, we debate whether to leave it out on the counter overnight.) I think I’ve seen the airfreight tags on the cardboard boxes; the grocer puts it in the refrigerated case once it arrives.

*hey that worked


The problem isn’t “chopsticks” - it’s DISPOSABLE chopsticks. Buy your own chopsticks and keep them with you!
I have a preferred laquered pair I use at home and a metal pair for when I’m going out to restaurants.
This example is wooden but it’s the same deal - bring your own chopsticks!


I keep chopsticks in my toolbox mostly for hinge repair. If a wood screw has stripped out of the jamb, put some glue on a chop stick, hammer it into the hole that the loose screw was in, let the glue dry, cut it flush, and re drill for the screw.
Also, I’m a bit confused on the waste problem. It is (usually) a piece of bamboo. If I use it to stake a small plant, I just leave it once it has served it’s purpose and let it degrade.


When we align the chopsticks through our shaker table, anything that doesn’t belong is removed by hand. After that, the next step is to press them into tiles, which are the working base of all our products. We coat the chopsticks in a water-based resin, and then they are transferred into an oven for drying and then into our hydraulic press, both of which are at high temperatures.

We don’t use water or any type of chemicals in the process because our chopsticks are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected during production.

Imagine tons of pressure and high heat applied on the material over a six-hour period - that sterilizes and removes any trails of contamination or bacteria in our newly formed tiles!

That’s the full quote on how they clean them. I do know that bamboo boards are made by squeezing bamboo fibers into a form with some kind of resin and curing them. I don’t really see that as a cleaning process but what do I know.


Most things that claim to be compostable aren’t. Compostable plastics are especially a lie. There’s no shortage of people on YouTube testing those claims in their compost piles.

Why don’t dine-in restaurants simply use reusable chopsticks? If you dine in at a Western place, you don’t get plastic utensils that they throw away. You get steel ones that are washed, just like people do in their own homes with chopsticks. Why is everyone using disposable ones?

We have some plastic and some bamboo chopsticks here that we’ve been reusing for decades. They’re trivial to hand wash and put back in the cutlery drawer.


I can see wanting to keep them out of the landfill, since that’s added bulk and not an environment where things degrade desperately quickly as well as one without mixed odds and ends that you can’t really trust what does degrade to not have unpleasant contaminants; but I have to wonder if it’s really more efficient to go through the process of cleaning and compositing used chopsticks rather than just routing them to the compost stream(after a bit of mulching down if necessary); and starting with fresh bamboo chosen for the purpose if you specifically want bamboo composite materials.

As forestry products go bamboo is at least a couple of notches below fast growing softwoods in terms of not exactly being sourced from priceless old-growth; so I’d imagine that the amount of energy you can spend on rehabilitating used pieces before it becomes counterproductive is relatively tightly constrained.


And those that you link to come with a wooden spoon too, which solves this problem:


I’m guessing that those claims of compostability may possibly pertain to large municipal composting operations (which AFAIUI use different processes/equipment than our home/backyard compost bins). Still, it does seem to parallel issues with the whole “recyclable” claim thing (i.e., where consumers think they’re doing good because they buy/use something labeled “recyclable” but there aren’t actually recycling facilities for it in their area, or there’s no market for the recycled material…)

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Unless they are treated with something odd disposal chopsticks should compost. It may take time but should not need the high temperatures that the “compostable” plastics need to break down. ( I am not sure compost is the right word even when they break down under the conditions that they are designed for)

If you introduced them as utensils made from renewable resources and truly compostable then disposable chopsticks would probably be far better than most other options these days.


Yeah, it’s one of the better things one might put in landfills (or incinerate), and the quantities per customer are small, even compared to disposable plates/utensils/straws/cups/take-out containers that might be plastic (or otherwise non-biodegradable). Seems like it’s more a gimmick to add a novelty factor to the products made from them, rather than an actual solution to a problem.


I use metal chopsticks at home, but most of my chop stick eating is snacks so my fingers stay clean.


When I was in my early twenties, I lived with a bunch of other young people in a house next door to a sports bar. We didn’t care about sports, but they did have a popcorn machine and all the free (extremely salty) popcorn you could eat. I always brought a pair of chopsticks with me, not to keep my fingers clean, but to limit my consumption by eating just one piece at a time, rather than shoveling handfuls at a time into my mouth. It made for a good conversation starter with other folks in the bar, too :smiley:


Perhaps, but all “recyclable” plastics are guilty until proven innocent. It’s all been a lie from the plastic lobby from the beginning. Aside from the milk jug plastic which can be made into shitty park benches, nothing else has ever been recycled in any substantial way. The closest we got was selling it all to China during the aughts and teens, and they were mostly incinerating it. That stopped in 2017 so now it all gets landfilled at the sorting centre even though people put it in the magic blue bin to absolve their guilt.

Recycling plastic is a lie and we must get off of it. Speaking of getting off of things, I am drifting off topic and will stop now.


How about this idea…


(Credit to Olive Garden)


Totally agree. I’m always telling people the slogan is “REDUCE, Reuse, recycle” in that order for a reason, and it’s amazing to me how many people just don’t think beyond “Oh, this says it can be recycled, so it’s fine to buy/use this.”

Along with that, I tend to cringe when I read about stuff like these chopsticks being made into “home decor” as though that’s going to save the planet. (No one really needs more home decor—IMO.) And then what happens to it when it’s out of style?


Yes, unless they specify “home compostable”, they’re referring to “industrial composting”, which uses prolonged periods of high temperature (about 60C). Something marked only as “compostable” may or may not degrade in your compost heap.


I was teaching at a summer camp in China and was complimented by one of the children on my skill with chopsticks. :astonished: As it turned out, the reason for the compliment was because I ate the way they were apparently supposed to eat, one dainty piece at a time, while of course, they had the skills to just funnel the food into their mouths with theirs.


The old chopstick Cheetos?


That was my experience as well. More challenging at first since they’re slippery, but after spending 3 months there my chopstick skills were much better.

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