A Man with one Chopstick goes Hungry
Made from aerospace titanium Twinz chopsticks are bacteria and corrosion resistant, weighing in at only 4g
Article by Andy Barnham
Cast your mind back; when was the last time you had a Chinese meal (at a restaurant or a takeaway)? Think further, what type of chopsticks did you use? Were they disposable or non-disposable? Did you care? I know personally, whilst I don’t like using disposable chopsticks, I honestly haven’t given their use a second thought. Until now.
The phrases ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘carbon footprint’ are, I hope we can all agree, phrases that are here to stay and increasingly important along with ‘air pollution’ and other such green expressions. So consider this; it is estimated over 25 million 20 year old trees are logged annually worldwide to satisfy demand for the disposable chopstick market. China consumes 50 per cent of this production, gobbling up 80 billion pairs, with Japan coming second using 24 billion pairs or approximately 200 pairs per person yearly. If the idea of mass deforestation isn’t enough to make you sit back and think twice, disposable chopsticks also pose a health risk. In China, where 45 billion pairs are produced domestically each year, small factories are rarely inspected. The result is that chemicals such as bleach, and potentially also sulphur, paraffin and other toxic materials, have been found in the production process.
If you have a pair of disposable chopsticks at home, do a quick test. Put a pair into a bowl and pour boiling water over them and see what colour the water turns. Now imagine the active ingredients that are responsible for that discolouration being ingested by you after they come into contact with hot food or soup. If the dirty yellow water in the bowl still doesn’t convince you, think about this; the more chemicals that a pair of disposable chopsticks can absorb, the more germs can cling to them.
I have never been one to bring my own chopsticks to a restaurant (honestly who brings their own cutlery with them when they dine?). However, these numbers are mind boggling, so much so even the Chinese government, rarely one to promote health and safety, issued a notice urging restaurants to go green.
So, what can you do? Well, the obvious one is to stop using disposable chopsticks. Assuming a modicum of moral high ground, neither I, nor my parents use disposable chopsticks in our homes, preferring to use the non-disposable type. Given a lifetime in the Far East my parents prefer the chunky, blunt tip Chinese style chopstick over the Japanese style thinner, tapered ones, though for cooking my mother does use long (30 – 40cm) Japanese chopsticks rather than a Western traditional wooden spoon.
If you now think twice about what you use when you consume Chinese food (even the lacquered non-disposable chopsticks found in restaurants last only approximately 130 meals), you are inevitably going to consider chopstick shopping. Do you prefer them blunt and reassuringly chunky or sharp and pointed? If you’re after a pair to accompany you to your next restaurant and you’re after something as stylish, dapper and as well thought out and considered as you yourself, your search probably isn’t going to last much past Twinz. Made from aerospace titanium they’re bacteria and corrosion resistant, weighing in at only 4g. Whilst I err, like my parents, towards a chunky pair of chopsticks (my personal favourite are my dark coloured wooden pairs), the idea of a sustainable pair of chopsticks, and bringing them with me to a restaurant, now doesn’t seem as outlandish as it once did.