Yup, crazy at it may seem, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is looking to introduce recycling bins to begin collection the country’s hearty supply of disposable chopsticks. It appears, that on average, each of that nations 127 million souls discards 200 sets annually. The resulting 90,000 tons of wood can, apparently, be converted to a biofuel, though those details are little sketchy. Ministry officials believe they’ll still come out in front, even after factoring in the “greenhouse gas emissions, of the process of collecting the chopsticks, carrying them to facilities and then producing the biofuel." Strikes us as an end-of-pipe ‘solution,’ particularly as it is touted as a way of reducing Japan's reliance on imported oil, especially given that 90% of the chopsticks are imported anyhow. Maybe a levy, such as China imposed, would help reduce the waste in the first instance. Via ::Physorg. Pic by Greg Baker / AP
We’ve covered the chopstick issue many times before, such as here, and here, for instance. UPDATE: We just noticed this fuller article at Breitbart, which suggests the trial is likely to take the chopsticks to ethanol-producing facilities in Osaka and Okayama prefectures. Though some may processed, together with waste paper, to produce a wood pellet fuel. Japan has 30 such plants, which can do this pelletisation.