Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Use of reusable chopsticks urged

Environment advocates urged restaurants to make a “cut” on the use of disposable chopsticks because of deforestation and flooding problems.

“By making a switch from disposable to reusable chopsticks, we help in assuaging China’s problem with deforestation that leads to soil erosion and destructive flooding, and in trimming down chopstick trash from our consumption of mouth-watering East Asian food,” EcoWaste Coalition president Roy Alvarez said.

As this developed, Alvarez appealed to Chinese food lovers to opt for reusable chopsticks as a fitting response to the environmental troubles being faced by both China and the Philippines.

“If you are planning to eat out in Binondo or dine in your favorite Chinese restaurant elsewhere, please bring your own reusable chopsticks and protect trees from being cut and wasted,” Alvarez suggested.

“We likewise encourage restaurant owners to provide their customers with clean reusable chopsticks and offer single-use chopsticks by request only. To entice their customers to switch to reusable chopsticks, eco-minded food entrepreneurs can provide incentives such as extra fortune cookies or fruit servings,” he added.

EcoWaste’s Basura Patrollers observed that only one of the 25 Chinese restaurants they visited along Ongpin Street and nearby streets in Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown, offered reusable chopsticks.

While all the 25 restaurants use reusable tableware for dine-in customers, only one restaurant offers both reusable and disposable chopsticks, which are given to diners if requested.

Aside from bringing your own chopsticks, EcoWaste advised the public, especially those planning to go to Binondo area in the coming days to bring reusable bags or containers for popular “take home” Chinese dishes, and make a healthy and eco-friendly food choice

Citing information that Greenpeace East Asia obtained from China’s forestry authorities, EcoWaste noted that China produces some 57 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks annually that requires over 1.18 million square meters of forest to be cut.

Chinese government data revealed that over 25 million trees are felled in China each year to meet the consumer demand for disposable chopsticks inside China and overseas, it added.


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