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No forests were harmed for these chopsticks

 Posted by on September 25, 2009
Sep 252009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Cobalt Chopsticks

Cobalt Chopsticks by TiStix

You’ve gotten rid of your plastic water bottle. You turn down polystyrene to-go containers.  You ask for local fruit and you only drink Fair Trade coffee.

What’s left to help lower your dining-out carbon profile?

Reusable titanium chopsticks.

Alan Folts’ colorful and gracefully turned titanium “TiStix” chopsticks are made from surplus titanium; they’re durable dining tools that help save a surprising amount of wood.

Disposable chopsticks use up some 25 million trees annually just in China, where residents might use and discard a couple sets of disposable chopsticks every day.

Make that 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks that the Chinese alone use every year, adding up to 1.7 million cubic meters of timber or 25 million full-grown trees, according to an account in the The Independent.

Apparently those little wooden sticks could probably be stacked to the moon when you consider a globe of billions of people all hungry for the Happy Family combo dinner (or sushi or Asian fusion or Thai dishes). After reports about the horrific toll on forests created by consumable chopsticks came out about three years ago, China actually began taxing chopsticks in 2006.

Still, the problem is far from solved. Add to China the other Asian countries where chopsticks are the norm, and the Western world, which has a big appetite for Asian food, and you’ve got a needless deforestation issue.

TiStix 2

TiStix in rainbow colors

Folts’ idea for a more lasting product predated the fuss over the snap-and-use disposable chopsticks (which we’re still using, why?). He took up a challenge on the Internet to make them out of titanium back in 2003.

His custom-made chopsticks are pricier than some reusable chopsticks, such as those made with plastic  or finished wood. But they’ll likely last a lot longer too. They are made from surplus titanium that’s recyclable, though the metal artist hopes that his TiStix will become family heirlooms (why recycle something that remains usable?).

Buy them online ($65 retail) from Folts’ shop in Greenville, N.C..

And don’t think these are the only high-end chopsticks, Robbe and Berking produce a set made from sandalwood and silver. These are also made for the ages, though they’re not so green.

For a more affordable, though still perishable option, you can find an array of reusable chopsticks made from renewable bamboo at online stores.

Stainless steel chopsticks are reusable and functional, but without the gift appeal of TiStix.

Copyright © 2009 Green Right Now | Distributed by Noofangle Media