Thanks to Steve Barker for these interesting facts.
- China’s population goes through roughly 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks a year – that’s 130 million pairs a day.
- To keep up with this demand, 100 acres of trees – 100 American football fields worth – are felled every day. That means that one acre of trees gets cut down to make chopsticks every 15 minutes.
- That works out to 16 million to 25 million felled trees a year.
- Usually, these chopsticks are made from birch or poplar (instead of the much more renewable bamboo) to save money. It takes 30 to 40 years for one birch tree to mature.
- In 2006, the Chinese government imposed a 5% consumption tax and a 30% price increase on chopsticks. Apparently, the only people this initiative really stopped from using disposable chopsticks were some Japanese people.
- Hygiene worries are a silly reason to use disposable chopsticks: Apparently nearly half of companies offering sterilized tableware in Beijing are unqualified, which means “Unhygienic dish-washing, no sterilization, lingering viruses and detergent residues are all hiding under a thin layer of transparent plastic at city restaurants.”