At the time, Böck was a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia who was hoping to recycle waste wood from demolition and construction sites.
With Otamendi’s suggestion in mind, he eventually created ChopValue, a startup that aims to recycle chopsticks from restaurants, houses and schools to turn them into something useful. Now, the startup has managed to recycle and transform over 47 million chopsticks “that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill,” according to its website.
“Our resource is what others may view as waste – that means we don’t take virgin materials from our environment,” ChopValue wrote. “Every chopstick is perfect, slender, and defect free, making them ideal to develop an innovative engineered material.”
The startup incorporates heat, steam and pressure in recycling chopsticks sourced from different locations and turning them into wooden tiles. ChopValue also made sure that all chopsticks were “thoroughly cleaned and disinfected during production.”
ChopValue said that it had collected more than 350,000 a week in Metro Vancouver alone.
Some of the homeware ChopValue has already made include a wooden workstation, staircases and wall decor.