Side Line: Are chopsticks a thing of the past
For the humble chopstick, life is predictable. Start off as a tree, one of the 25 million felled each year for the purpose. Spend a brief few weeks, newly whittled, encased in paper. Then wind up on someone's plate, where you are expertly used to shovel noodles, or rice, or meat into a mouth.
Then that's it. It's time to face the great landfill in the sky.
Millions of chopsticks meet their end like this. In fact, billions -- 45 billion a year in China alone, taking with them some 100 acres of birch, poplar and bamboo forest a day.