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Most people in China don't think twice about using wooden chopsticks to eat with. But one environmental activist group is trying to change that. The group Greenpeace wants people to use metal or plastic chopsticks that are reusable... because close to four million trees are cut down to make the popular utensil.
Environmental activist group Green Peace is raising awareness about just how many trees it takes to make chopsticks in China every year. At a shopping center in Beijing, the organization showcased a group of trees constructed from thousands of disposable chopsticks. Organizers want people to be aware of the effects the wooden utensils have on China's dwindling forest resources.
Over 200 student volunteers collected 84-thousand pairs of used disposable chopsticks to create four 16-foot-tall trees.
According to statistics from the Forestry Administration, China produced 57 billion pairs of disposable wooden chopsticks in 2009 alone.
And the large-scale production of disposable chopsticks required wood from 3.8 million trees.
Organizers hope that the imagery of the stark patchwork trees will make people reflect on the utensils' impact on the environment.
[Li Anhong, Greenpeace's Forest Protection Program]:
"Disposable chopsticks are a relatable topic for many people, so the goal for this event is to raise public awareness and wake them up so that they refuse to use disposable chopsticks and other similar disposable products."
Li suggested that diners replace their wooden chopsticks with a plastic or metal version, a reusable and environmentally-friendly alternative.
The chopstick trees garnered a lot of attention from shoppers and passersby.