ChopValue YYC is a recycling company that receives around 500 kilograms of chopsticks every month from 85 local restaurants in Calgary. They give the chopsticks a second life by recycling those into all different kinds of home decoration items.
As many restaurants serve disposable chopsticks due to COVID-19, ChopValue YYC hopes more restaurants and people will join their recycling program.
“Most of the chopsticks are not coming back because people don’t know,” said Kim Osz, a collection partner coordinator at ChopValue YYC.
“It is free,” she added. “We are going to pick the chopsticks up from your restaurants, you can also mail them to us.”
Joanne Dafoe is the president of ChopValue YYC who believes that Calgary can do better with the chopsticks other than throwing them into compost bins.
“Bamboo chopsticks are a great renew resource, but they get tossed after 20 minutes being used,” Dafoe said. “Why not turn them into something that is beautiful and practical?”
The primary focus of ChopValue YYC is to save every chopstick from ending up in a landfill.
“Rescue as many chopsticks as possible, that is just what we want,” Osz said.
As reported by ChopValue YYC, they recycled around 6.7 million chopsticks in 2021.
According to city officials, Calgary is expanding the city’s composting facility by spending $50 million due to operating beyond its capacity. The facility is able to handle 100,000 tonnes of compost from green carts per year, but they are recently getting over 130,000 tonnes.
Daniel Hebert, a regional business manager of North America for biopolymers, respects ChopValue YYC for being a leader to help a circular economy in Calgary by recycling chopsticks.
“Anything that goes into a normal garbage bin and landfill never goes away, even stuff that’s compostable,” Hebert said. “Removing that from the landfill and putting it into another use definitely helps.”
Hebert thinks that making it simple is the best way for people to join ChopValue YYC.
“Just show people,” Hebert added. “Even putting the composts with a picture of chopsticks, that is the best thing they can do.”