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10 Innovative and Funky Ways to Recycle Wooden Chopsticks

Written by Trish Smith .
The Chinese people use 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year, which adds up to 25 million full-grown trees.

If you can’t use ‘em with food, try recycling them into something a bit more interesting!

Photo from ichizen

According to an article in the UK-based magazine The Independent, “The Chinese use 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year, which adds up to 1.7 million cubic meter of timber or 25 million full-grown trees, which means badly depleted forests.” And that’s only in China! Just think about how many Asian restaurants exist around the world (and around the corner from your home), and how many people they service every day. Now that’s a whole lot of wooden chopsticks that get thrown into the trash.

I’ve been to a few Asian restaurants that offer reusable stainless steel or wooden chopsticks, but for the most part (because it’s cheaper to mass produce), these places give you disposable wooden chopsticks. You use them (or try to use them) once and then throw them away, or you put them in a kitchen drawer and they sit there for eternity. Now that’s no way to get creative with your eating utensils!

I wanted to see if I could find some clever and funky ways that people are recycling these chopsticks. Here are 10 recycled chopstick designs that caught my eye:

1. Recycled Chopstick Folding Basket

Featured on

This may be the perfect basket for holding fruit. It’s completely collapsible and can be used for on-the-go travel.

2. Chopstick Lamps

Featured on buygreen

Need a light? Try one of these recycled chopstick lamps that come with a 4.5 foot cord and standard light bulbs.

3. Chopstick Dress

Featured on gargles

Students from Suining County, East China created this recycled chopstick dress for a “Waste Chopsticks Utilization Contest.”

4. “Soap Lo Mein” Recycled Chopsticks Soap Dish

Featured on uncommongoods

This folding soap dish features chopsticks that were soaked in black tea to give it a darker color.

5. Chopstick Canoe

Featured on pinktentacle

This amazing canoe was made from thousands of disposable chopsticks that were recovered from a Koriyama, Japan city hall cafeteria.

6. Chopstick “Koo” Handbag

Featured on eco-handbags

This purse is lined on the inside with a removable hemp bag!

7. Chopstick Marine Life at the Arts Aquarium in Hong Kong

Featured on bp2

I kid you not! There’s actually an entire gallery of recycled chopstick marine animals featured in the Hong Kong City mall. The marine animals were all handcrafted by Koike Masataka.

8. Reclaimed Chopstick Wine Bottle Holder Featured on ecofriend

A thousand chopsticks were used to make this wine rack, which holds 27 bottles of wine!

9. Art Deco Chopstick Necklace

Featured on ecoemporia

This cute necklace with a lobster claw clasp is made from disposable bamboo chopsticks.

10. Chopstick Pencil Holder

Featured on buygreen

A pretty cool way to hold your pencils and pens.

I admit it, I’ve used a LOT of disposable chopsticks in my time (I blame it on being half-Korean), so I’m super happy to know that there are creative ways to recycle them. Now I can take all the disposable chopsticks that my mom is hoarding at her house and try to turn them into a swanky bag!

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  • Laura L. 2 months ago
    Can we please start a petition to ask the Chinese restaurants that have disposable chopsticks to offer reusable ones? 25 million trees a year is very dangerous, we won't have forest left pretty soon and the pandas won't have any habitat. Also let's start a petition to send to Asian restaurants here in the U.S. to offer reusable chopsticks to their dine-in guests. Reading about it just makes me upset, we need to do something or else this is time wasted and we become part of the problem. And re-purposing projects doesn't put the CO2 filtering trees back in the ground. :(
  • vernyce d. 2 months ago
    i tried to see the visuals unsuccessfully ;(
  • Christina W. 4 years ago
    I really like the wine holder, but the dress? well.. sometimes it's all in the intent I guess!
  • Nadira P. 4 years ago
    cool way to recycle chopsticks.
  • Kali O. 4 years ago
    Am I the only one wondering how they get them clean enough to make into new products? Wouldn't that use more resources and energy? I guess maybe it's minimal enough for it to be worth it...
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