Chopsticks bra launches new front in fight to save vanishing forests
SNAPPING CHOPSTICKS AND digging into a meal is part of everyday life for millions of Japanese people – but the tradition of using the disposable wooden splints is wreaking havoc on forests and causing outrage among environmentalists.
Now, a lingerie-maker has developed a novel remedy: a chopstick bra.
Unveiled this week in Tokyo, the bra’s cups holster a pair of collapsible chopsticks, which are pulled out before a meal. Triumph International Japan, the maker of the ‘My Chopsticks Bra’, says it hopes it will promote environmental awareness.
‘It’s a small step, but because many Japanese chopsticks are disposable, big chunks of forests are being cut down,’ a spokesman said
The ritual sees Japan ploughing through about 25 billion sets of wood and bamboo waribashi (disposable chopsticks) a year – more than 200 for every person in the country. The splints, the vast bulk of which are imported from China, are handed out in noodle shops, sushi bars and convenience stores, then thrown away with tons of plastic wrapping.
China is attempting to tackle the issue, and has imposed a 5% tax on the 45 billion pairs of chopsticks it produces a year. Several chains have already switched to reusable plastic chopsticks and some offer small refunds to customers who bring their own.
South Korea is even stricter, and has banned disposable chopsticks in restaurants in favour of metal ones.
The Triumph bra is not for sale, but is a gimmick to help raise awareness of the issue.
‘Anything that stops people using throwaway wooden chopsticks is a good thing,’ said Jun Hosokawa, head of Greenpeace Japan.’