Biodiversity / Food / Water

April 1, 2004


Special Wooden Chopsticks Help Conserve Forests

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity NGO / Citizen Non-manufacturing industry Policy / Systems University / Research institute 

With the slogan "Let's protect Japanese forests with disposable chopsticks," the Eco Media Foundation (EMF), a non-profit organization, has launched a project using disposable wooden chopsticks, or "waribashi" in Japanese, and named them "Advashi," aiming at covering the high cost of domestic timber with advertising revenues by printing ads on the wrappers. "Advashi" is a combination of the Japanese word for "advertising" and "hashi," which means chopsticks.

Ninety-five percent of the waribashi used in Japan are imported from abroad. The number of waribashi consumed in 1999 amounted to 25.47 billion pairs, a level of consumption that has been criticized as a cause of deforestation in other countries, including China, a major exporter. Meanwhile, the demand for domestic timber, such as wood from the thinning of forest, has been stagnant, because it costs four times more than imported timber. Despite the urgent need of forest thinning to help tree growth, many Japanese forests have been left unattended for years.

The advertising revenues from the wrappers will compensate the difference in prices between domestic thinned wood and imported timber. Utilizing thinned wood effectively, the EMF is trying to maintain Japanese forests and stop deforestation abroad. The EMF also plans to use stores carrying "Advashi" chopsticks to collect used chopsticks and exchange wrappers for discount tickets and coupons redeemable at local stores as a part of sales promotion.

The first "Advashi" chopsticks with an announcement of the Otsuma Women's University festival made its debut in October 2003 at four shops operated by Ministop, a major convenience store chain based in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Posted: 2004/04/01 10:54:57 PM
Japanese version