Chopsticks to Treasure
Who They Are
Odds are, the last time you went out for sushi your mind was focused on the delicious combo of seasoned rice, flavorful veggies, and fresh fish; not your chopsticks. The city of Vancouver is home to over 2,000 restaurants that use disposable chopsticks, and is known as a mecca for Asian cuisine. A whopping 100,000 bamboo chopsticks are thrown away each day in the city alone, and that’s where German native Felix Böck comes into play.
As a PhD candidate in the forestry program at the University of British Columbia, Böck was interested in bamboo as a sustainable building material, but was searching for a justification to study bamboo in Vancouver. When Böck moved in with food connoisseur and sushi loving girlfriend Thalia, he noticed a drawer filled entirely with disposable chopsticks. That’s when ChopValue was born. “That was the first time it clicked, I couldn’t get it out of my head” says Böck.
ChopValue was launched in the Spring of 2016, after coming in first place at the annual Pitch Tank. Pitch Tank is a Shark Tank-esque competitive interior design show where the sustainable, reclaimed bamboo designs blew the judges’ socks off. Two years later, ChopValue is taking the innovative recycling market by storm and has transformed over 2.5 million chopsticks into beautiful home decor and accessories. These sushi lovers are giving urban waste a second life by creating products such as stylish coasters, wall decor, and yoga blocks.