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Don't Throw Out Those Chopsticks! Recycle Them!
According to Jay Weinstein's book "The Ethical Gourmet"(Random House, Inc., 2006) diners throw out twenty billion pairs of disposable chopsticks after just one use in Japan alone each year. Considering that people in other countries with restaurants selling Asian foods throw theirs away as well, it is a growing problem contributing to the landfills. Recycling chopsticks into enjoyable and creative projects offers one solution.
Chopstick Recycling Ideas
Coasters and Place-mats
Cut chopsticks in half with shears and drill a hole in the ends of the chopsticks. Use colorful string threading through the first chopstick hole. Continue threading the chopsticks together all on one end. Add small colorful beads in between each chopstick if desired. Tie off the string in a knot after the last chopstick. Repeat this process on the other end of the chopstick. Make place-mats to go with the coasters by drilling the holes in the ends of full size chopsticks. Then string and bead the full sized version the same way you did the cut ones.
Wrap beading wire around the wider end of the chopsticks. Thread beads on another piece of wire and attach the beaded wire to the wire wrapped around the chopsticks. Design matching hair pins by painting the sticks to match your clothes before beading. Place colored electrical tape around the sticks instead of painting them if preferred. Push your new hairpins into your hair at the desired angle so that the beads dangle as you move.
Earrings and Necklaces
Create several pairs of earrings from one set of chopsticks. Use shears to cut each chopstick into the desired length for dangle type earrings. Paint the pieces in a solid color if desired or paint designs such as Chinese characters or small flowers on each piece. Wrap the top of the piece in gold or silver wire and attach an earring wire that loops through a pierced ear. You can find is kind of jewelry making wire at craft stores. Make a necklace in much the same way except attach the ear loops around a chain necklace and close the loops by squeezing them shut.
Homemade Pick Up Sticks Game
Make and play the game of "Pick up Sticks" with a handful of chopsticks. Paint the chopsticks different colors with acrylic paint. Toss a handful of chopsticks easily on the table or floor. Each player removes one at a time without moving and of the other sticks at all. Pick up any color you wish or go by all of one color before moving onto the next color. Win by picking up the most sticks before they are all gone.