In a remarkable bid to preserve what’s left of Chinese forests, the government has begun raising the price of chopsticks. It started with a 5% tax locally, and evidentally has resulted in 30% higher prices for disposable chopsticks in Japan. Though such abrupt changes may cause momentary disruption, Japan, who import almost 100% of their chopsticks from China, has responded by switching to re-usables. From the article:
“We were concerned that our customers would complain over the change, but we haven’t had any complaints that it is unhygienic. We’ve been able to reduce the amount of garbage,” Marche spokesman Tomohiro Ajioka said.
Seems like an ultimate win-win (depending on the orgins of the reusable chopsticks) for Japanese restauranteurs who, despite an initial expense, will end up with higher quality service, less trash to deal with, and savings.