Will China Ban Disposable Chopsticks?

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The Chinese government is considering a ban on disposable chopsticks in an effort to conserve its rapidly diminishing forests, reports The New Internationalist (April 1999). Each year, 25 million trees are felled to manufacture the 45 billion pairs of chopsticks the Chinese use and export. Without a move toward reusable chopsticks—featured now in only the poorest cafés (where they reuse cheap bamboo sticks) and the most extravagant restaurants (where they use lacquered ones)—experts predict that much of the country's remaining 80 million hectares of natural forests will disappear in the next decade.