It is very simple when we try to explain where the idea came from: we love sushi! And with many sushi lovers come thousands of disposable chopsticks that end up in our landfills. Actually, up to 100 000 per day just in Vancouver... so that got us thinking.
What started as a product development exercise, soon became an opportunity for our research team to get Vancouverites involved in value-added bamboo research - entirely based on solid waste as a resource. We launched the collection program in May 2016 and we instantly started receiving plenty of material and positive feedback from our participating restaurants. Some are now actively involved in designing products they'd like to see their chopsticks turn into.
ChopValue provides free recycling bins to anyone who is interested in joining the collection program. When a new user signs up on chopvalue.ca, a new pick up point appears on the map; the ChopValue team then receives a notification and arranges the pick up free of charge on a weekly or biweekly basis.
It's a great story to be part of and we are just at the beginning of it. Saving thousands of chopsticks from the landfill each day is a good and responsible start of making our city greener. Looking into the future, we can think of many more urban waste resources that can be turned into new, value-added materials.
The majority of disposable chopsticks we use on a daily basis are made out of bamboo - mainly Moso bamboo grown in China. Bamboo is actually so vast that it covers approximately 1% of the world's forests. Over the last decades, this extensive resource has been studied for the use of new, high-performance engineered products with its advantages in hardness, strength, and durability.
China is a world leader in supplying our favourite restaurants with chopsticks. Only in China, 45 billion disposable bamboo chopsticks are used per year.
How long do you need to finish your daily take-out sushi tray? 30minutes? 1 hour? Well... a pair of chopsticks went through a whole lot longer than that to get in your hands! Bamboo culms first get harvested, then treated and dried, then the finest and most mature part of the bamboo stem gets shaped into the chopsticks (utilization rate is below 50% - the rest is waste), and then the finished product is shipped to your city which is often more than 8000 km away!
ChopValue thinks we can do better than just throwing out these chopsticks, which is why the team is giving them a second life as a high-performance durable product with an appealing design and versatile applications. Let's improve our carbon footprint and give this material a second chance - it's worth the chopsticks' long travels!
ChopValue's product development team has worked on a process that cleans, screens and processes the chopsticks, before heat and pressure form up to 200 chopsticks into 1 single tile. Based on this process, tiles, shelves, table tops, and many more products can be developed.
Our final vision is supplying high-performance products made out of recycled chopsticks to our customers - most notably our participating restaurants when they plan their next renovation. Let's tell the story together and create a circular economy - without any production waste!
Product 1: ChopValue™ Tiles
Product 2: ChopValue™ Coasters
Product 3: ChopValue™ Shelf
Product 4: ChopValue™ StarterSet (featuring Tiles & Shelves)
ChopValue™ TableTop & Special Projects
Risks and challenges
We have successfully launched the collection program for recycling chopsticks in one of the most environmentally perceptive neighbourhoods - Kitsilano, Vancouver. We hope to create an impact with the same success rate of participating restaurants in many other neighbourhoods which requires our society to be motivated to recycle and see the opportunities of creating new things...Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)