A Vancouver Company Is Making Furniture Out of Chopsticks

Pretty elegant furniture at that

This cabinet has an unlikely origin story.

What do you first think of when you think of recycling? Metal, glass and paper are likely the first things that come to mind, whether you’re looking at a labeled garbage can in a coffee shop or dragging a recycling bin to the curb. But the full spectrum of the previously-used items that can be transformed into something new is a lot bigger than that, and includes everything from sneakers to old electronics.

Turns out you can add chopsticks to that list. And while chopsticks might not be the first thing that comes to mind, they’re also a logical candidate for recycling, from their organic origins to their relatively small size and modular design. A new article at Atlas Obscura explores the ways that ChopValue, a Vancouver-based company, is turning old chopsticks into elegant furniture and housewares.

There’s no shortage of chopsticks out there — the article notes that 80 billion pairs of chopsticks are discarded every year. No, that’s not a misprint.

ChopValue founder Felix Böck cited the figure of 100,000 chopsticks a day discarded in Vancouver restaurants. Hence his company, which picks up old chopsticks from 300 restaurants across the city and gets to work. The company takes steps to clean and sterilize the wood, at which points machines turn the chopsticks into the composite boards that are at the center of many of ChopValue’s products.

The end result is furniture that’s net negative when it comes to carbon, and looks impressive while doing it. The article notes that the company recently expanded to Singapore. It seems like there’s no shortage of locations with an abundance of old chopsticks that could be transformed into something functional — and benefiting the environment along the way.

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