August 24, 2006 3:17 AM Subscribe
Give me some ideas about what can be done with those disposable chopsticks at Chinese restaurants once they've been used (I live in China, so there's lots of 'em).
posted by saysthis to Science & Nature (17 answers total)
China, believe it or not, actually has a pretty effective recycling apparattus - since nobody recycles, there are people who dig through the trash at about 3 in the morning, pull out anything they can sell, and leave the rest for the garbage shovelers and street sweepers who come out at about 5-6 in the morning. The garbage shovelers then sort by hand what's left. Sure ain't pretty work, but it's effective, at least where I live.
Anyway, one type of garbage I almost never see pulled and recycled is the disposable bamboo chopsticks/kebab sticks (coal grills and food on sticks are a stable of the street food market). I remember reading once about a guy who collects them and makes furniture out of them, and I guess now that I'm managing to store away a little capital and thinking about starting my own business, I'm wondering if there's a way to recycle these locally and turn them into something resalable. Any ideas/ballpark costs? The more ape-able and small-scale this thing is, the better, because it would get rid of a major pet peeve to my tree-hugging conscience (and probably open up consulting opportunities in the future :D ).