Plant-Growing Chopsticks? It’s the 21st Century!

Posted by Kayo Homma-Komori & filed under Art & Design, Environment.

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Many a green designer and/or sustainable thinker have dedicated some capacity to solving the problem of those nasty, plastic water bottles. Indeed, there have been some extremely innovative solutions (solar bottle light, anyone?). But now it’s time for the disposable chopstick to take centre stage. If you’re a frequent patron of Asian restaurants, you’ve probably wondered what happens to all those wooden chopsticks after they’ve passed that last morsel of salmon sashimi into your mouth.

Korean designer Gyeongwan Koo has obviously pondered this problem as well—his solution being the To Be Nature Wooden Chopstick. Maybe not the most self-explanatory name, but the gist is that after using the chopsticks, you can plant them in the ground, after which they will begin to sprout greenery. The tip of the chopstick is made from a starch cap (similar to those used for pills) which contains a seed inside. When you plant the tip of the chopstick into the ground, the starch cap dissolves, the seed begins to grow, et voila! The “rebirth” (as Koo has named the process) has begun. The chopstick becomes the trellis for the plant. The other end of the chopstick contains a hole so that multiple chopsticks can be combined to support taller plants.

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Koo’s vision is that one day the whole world will be covered with little chopstick trees, which is not completely out of reach given the amount of disposable chopsticks that must be thrown away daily. To put it in the words of the designer himself, thanks to Koo’s seemingly small contribution to sustainable design, now “your little concern will change the world”.

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