Transforming Marine Plastic Waste Into Chopsticks
High school students in Japan have transformed plastic trash from the ocean into beautiful chopsticks. Students of the Fukui Prefecture Wakasa High School Marine Science Department, researched and developed the process as a school project in conjunction with Matsukan chopsticks company in Obama, Japan.
The purpose of the project is to communicate the current state of the marine plastic problems while illustrating a productive solution. Based on their research more than 8 million tons of plastic flow into the ocean each year. By 2050 plastic waste in our oceans will outweigh all fish.
The students created a clever method of collecting, sanitizing and processing plastic waste. They crushed the plastic with a coffee grinder and household blender to reduce the plastic to a particle size suitable for molding. The Matsukan company assisted in creating the wood chopstick tips and molding the plastic into final form.
The final result is Ocean Chopsticks, a series of four colors of chopsticks based on how the color of the sea constantly changes through the seasons; Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. They have colorful specks of color and mother of pearl shell to create a truly beautiful and elegant set of chopsticks.
The young ladies held a pop-up sale at the newly restored GOSHOEN community center. They sold 74 pairs during the event with customers proclaiming the chopsticks were cute and beautiful. The students received a special award for their presentation at the regional preliminaries of the National Youth Environmental Activity Research Presentations in December, 2022.
We had the honor of meeting the students in May, 2023. They gave us a presentation of their ingenious chopsticks product. We wish them every success in promoting the issues of marine plastic waste and how we can strive to reduce waste through productive use and manufacturing techniques.
Check out their social media!