Japanese sure like their chopsticks (as does Greenbang, for that matter). In fact, they like them so much that they get through some 90,000 tons of sticks every year — about 200 pairs per person, every year.
But now, rather than binning the lot, they’re going to start collecting them in separate bins, which will be collected and converted into wooden pellets to be used as a high-energy fuel.
Typically, wooden pellets are formed using heat and pressure to compact sawdust and paper, though disposable chopsticks are clearly a more abundant resource. There is also hope that disposable chopsticks can be converted into ethanol, which is becoming an increasingly important additive to gasoline. Currently, there are approximately thirty facilities producing wooden pellets across the country, as well as ethanol-producing facilities in Osaka and Okayama.