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The Preachy Blog


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8/5/2008 -- Chopsticks

forest The Olympic Games cast their shadows. Everyday you read about China now, including some background information on Chinese culture. Today I read about chopsticks, which became quite a concern after the CP recommended disposable chopsticks for hygenic reasons. According to that magazine, China today uses 45 billion pair of throw-away sticks each year, which of course means whole forests are turned into eating devices ...

Sooo ... how many stick-pairs do you get out of 1 average tree? My estimate would be not more than a few thousand - maybe 3000 at maximum? That means there are at least 15 million trees cut each year just for chopsticks in China*. Would be interesting to see if this is a sustainable idea, i.e. if there are as many trees planted newly and enough space is reserved for letting them grow until harvest.

Uhm, what about the western eating culture? According to the McDonalds' FAQ webpage, they serve more than 47 million customers daily worldwide. For the sake of the argument, let's say this means around 50 million drinking straws are used-and-thrown-away each day - plus the often needless cup lids.

I know, such large numbers don't mean too much, but broken down they make your chop suey get stuck in your throat: 50 million McDonald's plastic straws thrown away daily, 40 thousand trees for Chinese chopsticks cut daily.

I think it would be really easy to save some of that waste - I am 100% positive about the Mc stuff at least.

*[In fact, it seems to be around 25 million trees, according to a CNN article ]

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