A Canadian-based company called ChopValue has found some unique ways to reuse single-use chopsticks — think of it as upcycling food utensils into chic, sustainable decor and housewares.
The process starts in coordination with restaurants by collecting used chopsticks. The wood then goes through a micro-manufacturing process, which turns it into usable material for other products. ChopValue keeps the production carbon-neutral while maintaining an overall carbon-negative status for the company. Consumers can select products with complete transparency regarding the overall carbon footprint and number of recycled chopsticks that were used to make a specific item.
The founder of ChopValue, Felix Böck, developed and engineered the innovative material while earning his PhD. The idea came one night while having sushi, when Böck and his partner were discussing their frustrations over construction waste in the city. They looked down at their chopsticks and were instantly inspired; the rest is history. Taking an interest in the environment and corporate responsibility, Böck hopes to lead by example and inspire others to rethink resource efficiency.
The company offers a variety of decor items, including a hexagonal display shelf and honeycomb-shaped pieces that can be used as a single unit or in conjunction with other tiles for a geometric look. There is also a selection of cutting board options with designs specialized for charcuterie boards, cheese and cracker displays or butcher blocks. There’s even a zero-waste kit that comes with a cheeseboard, coasters, key chains, toothbrushes, chopsticks, stainless steel straws and straw cleaners; the kit comes in a box that can be used to donate used chopsticks back to the company. As an incentive, the company will get you a product equal to the amount of chopsticks you donate. For example, 75 chopsticks will net you a 75-chopstick coaster.
In addition to the standard selections available on the website, ChopValue can produce custom wood furniture and other items. For example, a community table created for Little Kitchen Academy diverted 33,436 disposable chopsticks from the landfill. Another big project saw the creation of wall paneling, restaurant tables and entrance flooring for Little Bird Dim Sum that utilized more than 330,000 disposable chopsticks. According to the company, its efforts have recycled more than 25 million chopsticks to date.
ChopValue has created a virtual interactive trade show booth in partnership with WireWax as a result of the many canceled trade shows stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Check it out while scrolling through the website, and it might just inspire the designer in you.