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Circular design: upcycling wood made from chopsticks

What can you do with used chopsticks? The Canadian company ChopValue has a few ideas. She turns the chopsticks into upcycled wood and uses them to make minimalist furniture and household items.

33 million chopsticks saved

ChopValue turns a total of 10,000 chopsticks into a desk. That sounds like a lot, but it's nothing when you know that in China alone 260 million chopsticks are thrown away every day. Since 2016, ChopValue has saved and processed 33 million sticks. Most of them are made of bamboo.

ChopValue picks up the material for its upcycled wood free of charge from 300 restaurants in Vancouver. Over 350,000 chopsticks come together every week. In a micro-factory, the sticks are sorted, coated with a protective, water-based resin and then heated in an oven for five hours at 200 degrees. That kills all germs. At the same time, the heat and the resin create a durable composite material that becomes a durable product again. When they come out of the oven, the sticks are pressed with great pressure to form wooden boards of the same size, sanded and then processed.

Upcycling wood from ChopValue

ChopValue's first product was a coaster that is still one of the bestsellers today. The collection has now grown to include 30 different items and pieces of furniture. These include worktops, cutting boards, desks and shelves, dominoes, building blocks or mounts for laptops and smartphones.

Even if the whole thing is a drop in the ocean, given the huge amount of chopsticks that are used every day, it is a step in the right direction. ChopValue now has three production sites in Canada and several sales partners in the USA and is looking for franchise partners. The network for upcycling products made from chopsticks is to continue to grow in order to create a circular economy for valuable wood that would otherwise end up in the garbage.