Mind you, I've been watching a lot of Japanese movies, and these disposable chopsticks have been bothering me.
Are they really that common? Why not use washable ones?
the life of a conservationist is not easy.....
Early 1990's, after WWF criticized disposable chopsticks, some liberal groups insisted that you should carry your own washable chopsticks all the time to save forest. In middle of 90's, some of my friends started to bring her/his own chopsticks when they dined out. Bringing chopsticks became a kind of symbol of the environment movement. But now, most of them gave up bringing washable chopsticks.
The reason was to use disposal chopsticks is helping to keep Japanese forest. Originally, disposal chopsticks were made from thinned wood. Forest thinnings (間伐材)came up from artificial forest ( afforestation programed forest ?) to make fine lumber. After the WW2, Japanese government tried to make artificial forest by the close planting. So a thinning operation is needed. Forest thinnings became some small products. Disposal chopsticks is one of them. There are still many discarded forest thinnings without producing. The profits from forest thinnings, included disposal chopsticks, was used for maintenance forest. If they don't get profits from the forest thinnings, there will not be a heir of the forest workers. This issue became one of serious problems.
Nowadays, 98% of disposal chopsticks are imported from China. According to the statistics, we Japanese use 200 sets of disposal chopsticks per person, per one year. The newspapers reported that China will halt export of disposal chopsticks to Japan in 2008. If so, the price of disposal chopsticks will rise and percentage of disposal chopsticks made from Japanese forest thinnings might rise up. If so, I will be glad. We need to protect our forest and forest workers.
At the same time, some paper manufacturing companies try to recycle disposal chopsticks. They propound an idea of producing papers
from used disposal chopsticks.
Each conservationist has different thoughts and ways of approach.
I don't deny people who bring your own chopsticks, and people who want to wear the eco-bra. It is not for sale, though.