Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chopsticks: From Dinner Plate to Gas Tank?

The Japanese are a resourceful and innovative lot, but here's an idea that made me say "Gee why didn't I think of that?"

Japan is looking into turning its millions of disposable wooden chopsticks into fuel. The island nation has virtually no natural sources of energy, so the chopsticks could provide a valuable, practical, renewable energy source. Most are imported from China and are made from bamboo and aspen timber.

About 90,000 tons of chopsticks are thrown out each year, according to the Japanese government. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries is studying whether to place collection boxes at restaurants to gather the utensils. But officials are still looking at all the resources that would go into harvesting the chopsticks. One representative explained:
"We will look at the pluses and minuses, including the greenhouse gas emissions, of the process of collecting the chopsticks, carrying them to facilities and then producing the biofuel."

No comments: