Turning potential waste into usable products is at the very peak of innovation, benefiting the planet by making the most of our natural resources while giving used objects new life in the way of everyday usefulness. One Canadian company called ChopValue has taken this idea and used it to turn post-consumer bamboo chopsticks into a variety of boredom-busting and organizational products in response to the recent coronavirus outbreak, building on their existing line of custom and pre-made items.
ChopValue typically uses the wood from donated chopsticks to make home decor, household, and kitchen items. But when the stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders started hitting the airwaves, the company shifted their focus to designing products that those making the adjustment to copious home time would appreciate. The result is recycled wood smartphone, tablet, and pocket stands, as well as a striking set of building blocks similar to those of the popular Jenga game. One more limited release product is a finger hockey game that acts as a serving tray when flipped to the other side.
In addition to tabletop items is a table itself. Actually a workstation, it offers two patterned designs for the wood top and a durable white metal base. There’s also a smaller steel-base side table that can be pulled up to a couch or chair or used as a side table in your newly-necessitated home office. Each product lists the number of chopsticks used to make it, as well as its overall carbon footprint, not only to keep consumers informed but also to inspire other businesses and individuals to understand that product manufacturing doesn’t have to be detrimental to the planet.Materials donated by those that purchase the zero-waste kit are rewarded with a free product of equal chopstick value. For example, donating 75 chopsticks can net you a 75-chopstick coaster. Plus, donating helps reduce city waste charges as well as the mess caused when chopsticks puncture garbage bags. For some perspective on just how many chopsticks are gathered before heading into the trash, the new basic phone stand is produced from 150 chopsticks, while the work table requires over 10,800.
In addition to the newest line for the stay-at-home set, the company offers a variety of wall decor items and a selection of cutting board options. There’s even a zero waste kit that comes with a cheeseboard, coasters, key chains, toothbrushes, chopsticks, stainless steel straws, straw cleaners, and a box that can be used to return old chopsticks to the company.
Before the pandemic hit, ChopValue was known largely for producing custom furniture and other items. For example, a single Community Table they created for Little Kitchen Academy diverted 33,436 disposable chopsticks from the landfill. Another big project saw the creation of wall paneling, restaurant tables, and entrance flooring for Little Bird Dim Sum that repurposed more than 330,000 disposable chopsticks. According to the company, their efforts have recycled more than 25 million chopsticks to date.
Most recently, ChopValue has created a virtual interactive trade show booth in partnership with WireWax as a result of the many canceled trade shows stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. Check it out here.