Saying No To Disposable Chopsticks


Over dinner the other night with a group of friends, I was talking about the excessive use of plastic bags in the world. I told them I easily recalled 20 years back, when traveling in Europe, it was just a given that you brought your own bag to the supermarket and shopping with you. Now, plastic bags are everywhere, but I like to re-use them.

Curiously, some vendors have told me I shouldn’t do that because of les bactéries.

Which I find even more odd considering they don’t think it’s pas hygiénique to rip open a clementine with their teeth, then hand over the sections for customers to taste.

Things are changing in Europe, like everywhere else, but when I told my friends that I used to bring my own chopsticks out to dinner with me in San Francisco, they looked at me like I was nuts.

I didn’t have the statistics in my head at the time, but later read that Japanuses 25 billion pairs a year and China uses 45 billion pairs. And other countries go through their fair share as well. But no matter where you live, the fact remains that disposable chopsticks are made by clear cutting forests for the wood, causing irreparable harm to the environment.

“Do you really think one person bringing their own chopsticks will make a difference?” I was asked.

So I decided that I’m going to bringing my own chopsticks with me when going out to eat again. And I’m posing the question to you: What do you think?

Do you think it’s odd to bring your own chopsticks instead of using the disposable ones?

Does anyone else out their bring their own?

Do you think you might start?

(More info here.)

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  • February 3, 2008 8:22am

    I just went shopping for a meal for my mothers birthday and as I walked down the street I noticed in the gutters old trash and in a tree a plastic bag! I thought how gross humans are and think there is no substitute to punishment for the miscreants!
    Viva the Bring your own chopstick!


  • Murasaki Shikibu
    February 3, 2008 8:47am

    I’m concerned about the environment but I don’t really want to get hepatitis so…I purchased a pair of sterling silver hopsticks when in China that I could carry in my backpack.

  • February 3, 2008 8:51am

    My friends and I bring our own chopsticks with us, but the environment isn’t our first thought. We all collect interesting chopsticks so eating out is a great way to show off our collections!

  • February 3, 2008 8:57am

    I bring my own chopsticks, and have my own silverware, a bowl, and a plate at work so that I don’t use their plastic and styrofoam.

  • February 3, 2008 9:16am

    Murasaki: One of the reasons I read for the proliferation of disposable chopsticks in Asia was for sanitary reasons.

    When I worked in an Asian restaurant in San Francisco, the health department forbid us from using re-usable wooden chopsticks, so we had to use washable plastic ones. Except it’s almost impossible to eat chow fun and udon with plastic chopsticks.

    The silver ones sound pretty, but aren’t they a bit slippery? And do they give the food a metalic taste?

  • Kharina
    February 3, 2008 9:28am

    I’ve read somewhere that the Japanese have started to bring their own chopsticks to restaurants as they are now getting increasingly aware of the impact what disposable chopsticks are doing to the environment. Obviously this means they have specially designed little pouches with Hello Kitty or elegant containers to show off their amazing chopsticks. It has become a cool thing to do.

  • February 3, 2008 9:42am

    I think this is a brilliant idea, actually. You can wash them at home and carry them in a little plastic sleeve. The Asian markets all have plastic chopsticks that are usually dishwasher-safe, and I’ve even seen ones with little ridges on the lower end, presumably so they’re more “grippy” with food than smooth plastic ‘sticks. Go for it!

  • February 3, 2008 9:47am

    Good question. I haven’t thought about this because the restos that we go to, Chinese, Japanese or Korean offer us their chopsticks to use and they are reusable ones. I prefer Korean chopsticks, the thin metal ones. I would not be against bringing my own. I always have some kind of silverware in my bag for my son so I could add some chopsticks in there as well. :)

    The metal ones do not change the flavor of the food, btw. They take a bit more finesse to use but after a few times you’ll get it.

  • February 3, 2008 10:01am

    As a Korean-American with excellent chopsticking skills, what I’m about to say may be heretical but…I often just use a fork (or my fingers). I don’t like throwing away chopsticks either. But carrying chopsticks is a problem because I don’t carry a purse and they’d look funny sticking out of my pocket.

  • Charlene
    February 3, 2008 10:08am

    I find the “what can one person do?” attitude irritating. It abrogates personal responsibility (hmmm, memories of David’s “dog droppings” post. . .). Here’s what one person can do: make the world a little better–or a little less bad–than it would have been!
    Like bipolarcooklawyer, I have all my own servingware at work. When I walk down to the cafeteria with my fork in hand, they stare at me like I’m a weirdo. . . and then I see the garbage cans bulging with styrofoam cups, plastic clamshells, and disposable cutlery and realize I’m the sane one. : )


  • signe
    February 3, 2008 10:17am

    Before disposable chopsticks came along people of course carried their own. When I lived in Japan I collected some wonderful old lacquer chopstick carrying boxes. Chopstick boxes and chopstick bags, which are less bulky to carry than the boxes, are often sold together with bento boxes these days.

    Here are some I just found for sale. And how about this option?

  • February 3, 2008 10:46am

    I’ll start carrying my own chopsticks now. It seems like it would be easy to make your own chopstick bag, even if you’re not a terribly crafty person.

  • Kao
    February 3, 2008 10:50am

    I have been bringing around my own chopsticks in my bag for 10 years, and will continue doing this. My own chopsticks really helped me a lot, plus I feel really good when I use my own ideal, and pretty chopsticks.

    But it is also a sad fact that there aren’t many people doing this, and sometimes I had to avoid using my own pair not to break the atmosphere of the meeting.

  • E.
    February 3, 2008 11:11am

    That’s a great idea. I’ve also heard that the process to make disposable chopsticks uses bleach, so that might be another consideration to bringing your own chopsticks. I personally use Korean metal chopsticks, and I find them less clumsy and nicer than large wooden or plastic ones. Plus, they’re pretty!

  • February 3, 2008 11:13am

    Having just come back from Korea, their approach is to not use disposable chopsticks anywhere. Every single place I went had stainless steel chopsticks. They take some getting used to as the shape is a little different, but they work.

    I know in China, they have started charging an additional tax on disposable chopsticks to discourage their use. When I was there last year, many of the restaurants I ate at had switched to washable plastic or disposable bamboo.

    The bamboo brings up an interesting point – it’s still disposable, but it’s biodegradable as well as a renewable resource.

  • lauren
    February 3, 2008 11:40am

    Hm…all the Asian restaurants I went to in SF had perma-chopsticks that were washed and reused. But when I got take out I wouldn’t take the paper napkins, plastic utensils, or wooden chopsticks. I’m going to be in China this summer, and I think I’ll have a pair of my own chopsticks in my backpack. I think it’s great, what you’re doing.

  • February 3, 2008 11:58am

    I think it’s an excellent idea. Why not? Seems like a good thing to do. Personally, I have serious issues with the use of plastic bags — especially in the US where you get 10 bags for 5 items — and I try to use my tote. Even worse are the paper coffee cups … Not that long ago paper cups were for take- away, but not folks sit in the coffee shop drinking from a paper cup. I’ve heard the amount of cups in landfills are something extreme.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re saving a couple of trees. The reasoning that one person can’t make a difference — well, history should prove that’s wrong.

  • KatyBelle
    February 3, 2008 12:09pm

    I think I’ll start, I mean, I already use cloth grocery bags, so this isn’t much of a difference.

  • February 3, 2008 12:17pm

    Isn’t that why they sell chopsticks in stores in France as well as other countries?

  • Signe
    February 3, 2008 12:51pm

    Searching under “travel chopsticks” brings up a lot of interesting collapsible and foldable chopsticks which are really portable. Here are some:

    Deal Extreme

    Rocket World

    The Saavy Traveler


    The Next


  • February 3, 2008 1:19pm

    i think this is a fabulous idea. i already lug around all the cutlery and crap for my preschooler and baby when i go to restaurants (which is too frequently), so tucking in a couple of extra pairs of chopsticks would be no prob. in vancouver, most chinese restaurants use reusable sticks, while the japanese restaurants all rely on the disposable ones. being a chopstick carrier would help the environment, minimize contact with potential unsanitary conditions and be oh so fashionable. i’m thinking this would be an ideal opportunity for me to purchase cool bento accessories.

  • February 3, 2008 1:38pm

    David, I think it’s a great idea. I have a collection of (inexpensive) chopsticks for home use already. It would be easy enough to take them along with me. Heck, why not keep a spare pare or two in the glove-box for when the mood strikes for take-away?

  • joanne
    February 3, 2008 1:46pm

    Bring your own chopsticks or silverware. Sometimes the little hole in the walls just aren’t as sanitary as you hope. Some of my favorite pho places have caddies with soup spoons, condiment dishes, and chopsticks. So, who sat at that table before you? Did they have snotty kids messing with the spoons and chopsticks? Did they go to the fish market first and poke around the fish and pick shrimp with their fingers? Of course if I’m getting take out, I’m using my own utensils, so I just take the disposable ones out and give them back to the cashier.

  • Phoebe
    February 3, 2008 2:04pm

    That’s a really good idea, I will definitely stick a pair in my bag. I guess I don’t really understand, though, why restaurants can’t reuse chopsticks–WHY does the health department forbid it? Not the disposable kind, but the nice wooden kind that I have for at home. I just wash them in soapy water like any other dish. Isn’t there something about wood that is naturally anti-bacterial (I think I’ve read that about cutting boards anyway)?

  • Susan
    February 3, 2008 2:15pm

    I confess to not having given it much thought — my weekly Thai takeout fix comes with disposable chopsticks. But I use them as plant stakes (big enough for seedlings and they dissolve into the dirt by the end of growing season) and eat with my Hello Kitty chopsticks that come in their own little box.

  • February 3, 2008 2:19pm

    I’ve never heard of bringing your own chopsticks-but why the heck not!?! I always reuse bags- and mostly bring my own and hate the amount water bottles people at my work go through!

  • Jill
    February 3, 2008 2:52pm

    Like Susan, we seem to always have a use for the chopsticks that have come with takeout. My young sons make all sorts of crafts with them so I don’t feel like we’re wasting them. My concern with all the “more permanent” things we’re trying to use instead of the disposable plastic bags, lunchboxes or chopsticks is that we’re buying a lot more consumer goods to HOLD our environmentally correct items. Is a plastic bento box with it’s six little lidded containers significantly better than platic baggies? Is the manufacturing of a Hello Kitty chopstick container hurting the environment? How often are these “fashionable” items replaced? I don’t want a landfill stocked up with items that are even more permanent than the ones we have already.

  • Heather
    February 3, 2008 2:57pm

    Good on ya…you can be sure that i’m going to bring my own from now on. Besides the ones from home are nicer looking!

  • February 3, 2008 3:06pm

    I want to start bringing my own chopsticks when we eat out in Japan, but sometimes, the atmosphere of the restaurant makes it hard to. I’ve also heard that the bulk of these disposable chopsticks are made in China and that they are bleached white, so bringing and using your own may be a good thing.

  • February 3, 2008 3:09pm

    Count me in.

  • February 3, 2008 3:35pm

    I just saw this great documentary on plastic bags a couple nights ago on cbc

    as for whether or not one person can make a difference. Absolutely! I believe that by making small changes, individually, can collectively lead to big changes.

    i’m going to start brining my own chopsticks too!

  • Murasaki Shikibu
    February 3, 2008 3:50pm

    The metalic taste and feeling is unavoidable with siilver so if you’re just going to a restaurant near your flat I’d take wooden chopsticks because those are the best! I bought the silver ones because I didn’t want to lug wooden ones all over China when I couldn’t really wash them with proper dish washing liquid in the hotel sink. Imagine carrying wooden ones around all day with food on it in the summer heat! It was for hygiene reasons mostly but also because they happened to be selling beautiful silver ones at the department store ;)

    And yes, it is for reasons of hygiene that they started using those disposable ones. But bringing your own chopsticks takes care of that problem!


  • JJ
    February 3, 2008 4:57pm

    Is it bad that I already bring along my own spork? (From thinkgeek)

  • February 3, 2008 5:56pm

    I bring my own chopsticks too, I have a nice set from with the chopsticks, a spoon and a little fork. it’s really useful.

    I first started to use those because I have that wood taste of the reusable chopsticks, but I stuck with that habit because i wanted to have a more ecological way of life.

    Plastic bags rarefied here since two or three years, but there’s still way too many of them given away : supermarkets do not give them anymore, but markets (marchés de plein air) have those huge amounts of plastic bags for anything :/ . I almost need to fight not to have one for any small amount of vegetables I buy ! ” j’ai une charrette ! j’ai une charrette ! ” :D
    they even game me one with ONE lipstick… n’importe quoi !

  • Cindy
    February 3, 2008 6:07pm

    i think if everybody made small moves like these it’d make a difference.. and even if it doesn’t – at least you’re doing you’re part.. i should do that now.. great idea :)

  • Linda H
    February 3, 2008 7:57pm

    There is a lack of Chinese restaurants here on the prairie, but I’m helping with the chopstick problem–I plant trees. So far I have 3 oaks, 3 sugar maples, 2 Washington hawthorns, 8 pines and 2 blue spruce. Already, after just 5 years, there are more birds and butterflies here than before, which is very gratifying. Hardwood has become so valuable that there are tree thieves now all over the US, with some instances of trees being cut from lawns if the owners are absent. Isn’t that despicable?

  • TamiM
    February 3, 2008 8:05pm

    You’ve just inspired me, David. I’ve been saying for years that we should bring our own chopsticks since I hate those crappy wooden ones and since I even have chopsticks with a case and everything. But somehow I never remember. I think its like bags, one just needs to get into the habit or leave some in your bag or car at all times. Chopsticks are so fashionable and cheap, so why not make it a trend!

  • February 3, 2008 8:52pm

    oh man– when I lived in Seattle– I brought my Art Institute of Chicago bought chop sticks (they were a gift) with me everywhere– and no one batted an eyelash– but that is soooooooooooo Seattle. After living there 7 years and then leaving I remember being so confused and disheartened that the world didn’t re-use and recycle everything– what a bubble burster. But, then again– those Seattlites don’t use toilet paper and re-use cloths taking it quite far– oh, but don’t the French do that?

  • February 3, 2008 9:25pm

    I love that people are finally coming around to the idea of reusing plastic bags. Here in Berkeley (as you probably know) taking your own bags to the grocery store is the norm and I really think it makes a difference. For a long while I used to carry a pair of chopsticks with me in my purse. You’ll find that you’ll use them an awful lot, and every time, you’ll feel good about doing it.

  • February 3, 2008 9:44pm

    It’s all about making our own personal tiny choices! I carry a bamboo spork (so I don’t have to take disposables while out and about), glass jar/water bottle, and reusable shopping bag everywhere I go. And at work, I have a set of silverware so I don’t deal with disposables.

    Right on with your chopstick-carrying self, David!

  • elarael
    February 3, 2008 11:33pm

    Yeah, I do bring my own chopsticks along. I bought a very beautiful pair with their own case just for that purpose, and keep them in my bag at all times.

    I must say that it might be a west coast thing, though, because I don’t know anyone on the east coast who does it, but many of my friends out here do it.

    None of us is Asian, by the way, haha, and most of us use chopsticks exclusively. Which I never really thought about before til now.

  • Connie
    February 3, 2008 11:33pm

    Bring your own chopsticks, your own coffee mug. Bring a canvas bag to the grocery store, buy a stainless steel water bottle, recycle, reuse, reduce, we really have way too much crap in this country!

    And if everyone who reads this blog does this, well we are more than one!

  • February 3, 2008 11:50pm

    I love to bring my own chopsticks when I go out because I have really great ones. They are attached at the top with a little spring, like tongs. They also have little grooves on the tips, so they really grab the food. Perfect for eating noodles. Believe it or not, I found them at a Scandinavian gift shop! Go figure.

  • February 4, 2008 1:28am

    I think it’s brilliant to bring your own chopsticks, to use cloth napkins, avoid disposable consumable things like one time use products etc and to bring your own bags to stores etc etc etc, I really do believe every little bit helps, and even if it didn’t, how does it make you feel? I personally feel better when I try a little harder at reducing my negative impact on the world, I can’t change any one but me so everything ME does that is positive is worth while!

  • February 4, 2008 9:22am

    Great idea, I try to reuse whenever possible, but this never occurred to me!

  • February 4, 2008 9:28am

    Jesse Sharrad at Corduroy Orange talked about sustainability and use of cloth napkins. Why not the same with chopsticks and coffee cups? When I have my act together, I pack my lunch in a Mr Bento, which eliminates disposable containers and disposable tableware, at least for 1 day.

  • Judith inUmbria
    February 4, 2008 10:31am

    I thought they were made of bamboo and therefore were one of the most renewable materials of all.

    Of course it would be really pitiful to wander around Italy with chopsticks in hopes you might run into genuine Chinese food.

  • CafAholic
    February 4, 2008 10:40am

    To the people who ask, “Do you really think one person bringing their own chopsticks will make a difference?” I would have to say, “Yes!” I think the point IS to get strange and/or curious looks . . . to make other people think about the everyday things that we do that may not be the best for the environment.

    When I use cloth bags for groceries, I see other people looking a little guilty for not bringing their own bags. When I have to be aggressive and yell “No, I brought my own bag!” to the cashier/bagger, I hope that next time they will think twice before automatically bagging everyone’s groceries in plastic bags. Lead by example, right?

  • February 4, 2008 10:52am

    CafAholic: Be sure to read that NYTimes article about Ireland and how times have changed. No one thought that people carrying around plastic bags would be looked at with such derision!

    How times have changed. I think a lot more Europeans are used to carrying their own bags to the market than others, since the infiltration of plastic bags seems to be recent. Many of the hypermarkets here stopped giving out plastic bags and the city of Paris is banning non-biodegradable plastic bags in 2010. Yay!


  • Mady
    February 4, 2008 12:36pm

    I thought chopsticks were made from bamboo, which is touted as being the ultimate renewable resource.

    Though I agree that the disposable variety still fill up landfills, and I am now considering bringing my own sticks along to restaurants because of your post.

    Nice idea; why had I not thought about it before?

  • Steve
    February 4, 2008 12:54pm

    I tried to reuse plastic bags in Paris. No one said anything–they probably thought “weird American”–but there were a couple of quizzical looks. I didn’t always remember to bring one with me, though, and since different vendors are used for (almost) each fruit, vegetable, baked good, hunk of cheese, etc., I had a gigantic collection after only a couple of weeks. I felt terribly guilty throwing them all away.

  • Margaret
    February 4, 2008 3:07pm

    An excellent idea–anything we can do to promote better use of natural resources and reduce our waste stream is worth doing. I’ve started taking a tupperware container w/me when I dine out (OK, I admit I haven’t taken it to fancy restos) so I don’t have to take home styrofoam.

  • February 4, 2008 10:39pm

    Its great to see all the people just responding to this one post. Now if all of us not only take along our own chopsticks, but also carry our own reusable grocery bags with us, we will be making a real difference. All change begins with the individual making a choice. If enough of us make the right choice, we have positive impact. I never thought of the chopstick thing although I had already decided to tell my chinese takeout place not to give me napkins, plastic forks (forks!) and soy sauce packets that I am not going to use…Keep up these posts David, its nice to know that we aren’t “the only ones” out there trying to be more sustainable.

  • February 5, 2008 11:10am

    Great job trying to make a change in the world David! I admire you.

  • February 5, 2008 1:25pm

    David –

    This is good to know. I just started cooking Chinese at home – thanks to my friend Kian at http://www.Red – and now have my own sets of chopsticks. I’ll be taking them with me when we eat out.

    Also, I love reading you – you make me want to go back to Paris, which hopefully will be sometime this year! Thanks for that!



  • sara
    February 5, 2008 1:30pm

    You know, I never thought about bringing my own chopsticks to restaurants (though my favorite Japanese restaurant uses plastic, reusable ones).

    However, I usually bring my own container for leftovers instead of styrofoam. Occasionally I’ve had restaurants refuse to let me use it though because of hygenic reasons. I bring them to the farmers market too for prepared foods and
    small bulk items (and there I usually get an extra dolma or ounce of nuts for my effort)

  • Mary
    February 5, 2008 2:35pm

    There’s not enough tea in China to make me use those disposable chopsticks. They are too short, too blunt, covered with little hairy splinters, and feel dry and weird when they touch my mouth. I carry my own chopsticks AND my own “Knork,” a fairly new utensils that combines a knife and fork. At least I know they are clean.

  • February 5, 2008 3:23pm

    Why not? I would also consider bringing my tupperware to use in place of doggy bags or at the cafeteria. There is also something to be said about using your own silverware for lunch. I have access to plastic cutlery at work but always try to bring my own. If, at a company’s level, everyone did that for a year, we would prevent thousands of plastic silverware from ending up in landfill.

  • auntie jo
    February 5, 2008 4:45pm

    that’s a good idea, though in france, I think people will thing it’s weird ;-) but you’re right disposable chopsticks mean trees!

  • tommy
    February 6, 2008 2:54am

    I dunno…lots of the Asian restaurants in the New York City area use those reusable plastic chopsticks, and I find them perfectly serviceable for picking up chow fun, rice, and all other noodle dishes. I don’t find them slippery at all, and they actually feel more substantial in my hand then those cheap wooden ones.

  • Vivian
    February 6, 2008 8:03am

    Funny you posted about this. My MIL gave my family 3 pairs of chopsticks with their own carrying cases for xmas just for this purpose. Her reasoning was not so much environmental reasons but she had heard about the bleach (and other chemicals) used in the production of disposable chopsticks.

  • Vivian
    February 6, 2008 8:19am

    At the end of the article in this link, it mentions the potential side effects of sulfur dioxide used in the bleaching process in chopstick production:

    Snopes also wrote about disposable chopsticks, debunking the link to cancer, but does maintain that one of a hundred people are sensitive to sulfites and may suffer reactions from the sulfur dioxide:


  • February 6, 2008 9:53am

    That’s a great idea “BYO” chopsticks. At least that way you don’t have to worry about getting a nasty wood splinter in your mouth ;-)

  • Mama Gina
    February 6, 2008 5:09pm

    I’m so with you. I have a mug, cup, plate, and silverware at work and people look at me all funny for using it. But I must have saved at least 100 plastic utensils last year alone.

  • Tine
    February 6, 2008 5:27pm

    Nope, don’t think it’s odd. I have a little carrying case for my chopsticks, and when I used to live in China usually had them with me. I’d get very, very odd looks, though. I don’t carry them in my bag in Europe, I go out to have Japanese or Chinese food too little to make it worth the space.

    As for carrying bags, I always bring my own bags. Considering the street leading home from my local boulangerie and how close the not so well wrapped baguettes get to the dirt spat out (and up when it rains) by the cars, yet never having gotten ill, I am not particularly worried about germs. Then again, after a year eating in cheap Chinese student restaurants, and knowing the places they got their ingredients from, I don’t think any non-superbug will make me ill ever again. Reusing my shopping bags seems laughably low-risk in comparison.

  • ela
    February 6, 2008 11:36pm

    I am cloth bags all the way and have been for over 10 years. I think women (me included – when I have long hair) could wear a pair of chopsticks in their hair buns ;-) thus always have them on hand/hair. Of course for sanitary purposes they’d need to be swiped down before being used of course… Seriously, it’s a good idea.
    Are chop sticks typically made from bamboo? Which I think would be the best bet wrt our environment.

  • February 7, 2008 11:17am

    Of course, David! :-)
    You’re getting 5 stars from me for this post and your action to BYO chopsticks. One time I even went to Asian fast food eatery with my own tupperware to buy some dim sum etc. You should look at their (Asian) faces ;-P I love it! I bring my own bag all the time to do grocery and say NO as much as I can to more plastic bags. I even knitted my old collection of plastic bags (hundreds of them) into 4 cute bags…Fun. Anyways…thanks for the post, and here some more info about this BYO movement:

    A bientot,

  • charlotte s
    February 7, 2008 6:11pm

    i am completely with you as well! and i re-use all of my plastic bags- and am pretty healthy ;) i bring cloth bags to the supermarket and keep all of the plastic bags i happen to accumulate anyways (and thats the worst thing about plastic bags- they’re just so prolific- and vendors give them out like theyre being paid to do so- buying a pack of gum? take a plastic bag!) – i reuse them as little garbage bags, to wrap fragile things, the cleaner ones for food…. and as often as possible- i say no to plastic. and hey as others have said, if we all do it, its not just one person…

  • Mari
    February 8, 2008 10:36am

    My boyfriend and I both carry a set of this bamboo silverware around with us everywhere:

    It’s lightweight so carrying it is no problem. There’s a set of chopsticks as part of the set.

    If I’m going to a restaurant and I suspect that I’ll have leftovers I try to bring a tupperware with me. That way I don’t have to use the styrofoam container, and simultaneously I don’t have to worry about leakage.

    I bring my own canvas grocery bags with me when I go shopping, but here in Indiana the people who bag tend to fight with me about it. “Are you sure you don’t want a bag for these eggs? If you don’t put them in their own bag they’ll break. I bag more food then you, therefor I know better than you that you need a seperate plastic bag for these eggs…” and so on.

  • Bri
    February 8, 2008 12:17pm

    I too always bring my own bags to the store, and try to either remember my chopsticks or frequent restaurants that use washable ones. But then again, I live in a VERY environmentally conscious town.

    As it happens, my mom gave me a basket made out of recycled chopsticks for Christmas this year. They gather up single use chopsticks, sanitize them and turn them into a number of unique products. Their web address is: Not that I’m plugging their products, I just think it’s nice that someone else has recognized the issue and is trying to do something positive about it.

  • flavia
    February 9, 2008 2:02pm

    I bring my own chopsticks too! They’re old, wood and not pointed (hate the pointed ones, no fine control). I also was washing and reusing plastic bags in college in 1973, everyone thought I was crazy.
    You go David.

  • February 10, 2008 5:11am

    More and more people in Taiwan are opting to carry around their own chopsticks. For a while there were news that most disposable bamboo chopsticks were all bleached so I bought my own stainless steel chopsticks and started carrying them around.

  • Rev. R. Farrier
    February 14, 2008 7:33pm

    I too have been carrying my own chopsticks around with me for quite a while. I have a few stainless steel pairs and I made a cedar case for them out of cedar panels scavenged from an old house that was being torn down.

    The strange looks that I get are not from bringing my own though, they are because I am eating with chopsticks while living in the Deep South of the U.S.A.

  • ladyvictoria
    February 18, 2008 2:39am

    Great Idea. Not very useful here in middle US, where very few Asian restaurants.
    No one has really talked about it, but many grocery stores and places like WalMart and Target accually recycle plastic bags now (reg plastic, not just bio ones). And they can only be avoided so much, since most of us here shop once a week so we do need quite a few bags at a time (I fill my trunk sometimes). So my suggestion is: when you can’t avoid the plastic bag, recycle it!
    And since our schools and library have paper recycle ‘trash bins’ to earn money, our newspapers and paper sacks get recycled that way each week or so. Helps the planet and our local programs!
    One Person??? Every time I see a bag in a tree, I would like to talk to That Person! Here in Middle USA, everything is so spread out, we all have to drive everywhere. And I still see people throw things out their car windows! What are they thinking? Yes, David, everyone has some impact. Really. And just look at what you have done with your idea….

  • charlotte
    November 8, 2008 1:55am

    J’apporte mes baguettes aussi. For the environment, but also because of the wide variety of cute Sanrio chopsticks that come with little holders for easy and clean transportation. A step further, sometimes even I bring my reusable work bento box for left-overs when I eat out, instead of using styrofoam or something else to throw away. The amount of disposable items people go through on a daily basis is unreal.

  • r
    September 9, 2010 9:12am

    I just came across this documentary. If you can get someone to translate it, it sounds like disposable chopsticks might be kind of gross – perhaps this would encourage people to bring their own! Reply

  • Disgruntled
    October 27, 2010 9:22pm

    I’ve been doing that for a year! For the above reasons and also because the chopsticks in restaurants are too skinny.

    I’ve tried to find more “Chinese” style bamboo chopsticks (with the blunt end, not pointed) but can only find plastic ones. So I’m hanging on to a few old bamboo sets… Reply

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