[photopress:hotels_disposable_chopsticks.jpg,full,alignright]Disposable chopsticks are under attack all across China.Over the past three decades, the snap-apart sticks have become a staple of hectic city life, used by everyone from migrant workers eating fish balls at street stalls to busy professionals ordering takeout sashimi. China’s disposable-chopstick factories turn out roughly 63 billion pairs each year.
The campaign to banish them from Chinese tables is pitting environmentalists against the nation’s booming disposable-chopstick industry, which employs more than 100,000 people.
Since November, about 300 Beijing restaurants have vowed to replace disposable chopsticks with reusables. Big companies, including Microsoft, Intel and IBM, which already use reusables have invited Greenpeace to stage antichopstick rallies in their cafeterias.
In December, China’s Ministry of Commerce issued new guidelines urging restaurants to ‘reduce the use of disposable chopsticks.’
Beijing’s Olympic committee is banning disposables during the Olympic Torch Relay and at a number of other events at this year’s ‘green Olympics.’
China is the world’s biggest disposable-chopstick producer but one of its major outlets is Japan. As yet there seems to be little sign of the campaign catching on there.