More than 3.8 Million Trees Cut Annually for Disposable Chopsticks

A published report calculates that about 3.8 million trees in China are cut annually for the production of disposable chopsticks, contributing to the loss of China’s
Wooden chopsticks
Disposable chopsticks
regional forests. According to a report in the New York Times’ Green blog, about half of those chopsticks are used in China, 39 percent in Japan, 12 percent in South Korea, and 1 percent in the United States. Environmental activists say that wooden utensils can be phased out, and China has taken steps to discourage their use, imposing a tax on disposable chopsticks in 2007. In addition, more than 2,000 restaurants in Beijing and Guangzhou have stopped using wooden chopsticks in favor of reusables, which have a lifespan of about 130 meals. Last year, students from 200 Chinese universities built a series of “trees” using 80,000 discarded chopsticks and displayed them in a busy Beijing mall to call attention to the issue. In Japan, however, many restaurants have resisted switching to reusable chopsticks.