As I sat down at a local conveyor belt sushi joint last week and snapped my wooden chopsticks apart, I noticed the two halves broke like a bad wishbone. In one hand I had a whole stick, plus a good portion of the other one. A three-inch splinter was all that was left to complete the pinch. “Defect,â€? I thought, as I reached for another pair.
But then something snapped in my head: I looked around and noticed 50 people shoveling nigiri with the chopsticks and thought about how this place was always busy. That’s a lot of “disposableâ€? wood. After consuming my weight in fatty salmon, I went home and looked up the impact of chopsticks on the environment. The first site told me that these one-use implements eat up 25 million trees per year and that the Chinese government has even imposed a tax on their sale in an attempt to save their forests. My next stop, Treehugger, described how there’s a recent trend among conscientious Asians to bring their own chopsticks to restaurants. It also directed me to another blog devoted to bring-your-own culture that detailed how much of a waste disposable coffee cups are.
With that, I resolved to always bring my plastic green chopsticks to future sushi feeds. And if I didn’t have my own trusty tools, I’d just bare hand it ” a totally appropriate way to eat raw fish in Japan.