How can I reuse or recycle … unwanted chopsticks?

ChopsticksWe’ve had an email from Carine:

I have huge chopsticks left from those Chinese delivery, since we usually don’t use them… fork and knives do better !!!
So what can I do with them.

The first thing I would say would be to ask the take-out place to not include them with your order – reducing is always better than dealing with the waste afterwards. But that obviously doesn’t address the stack Carine already has.

We’re still using some plastic ones we got with a delivery a few years ago and I recently re-used some “disposable” bamboo ones to when creating a mini-greenhouse around a cutting – I put the cutting in an old clear plastic bag and used the chopsticks to keep the bag away from the cutting.

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by Penny Matthews)

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24 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … unwanted chopsticks?”

  1. Ashley says:

    Stick them in your hair.

  2. Tammy says:

    I use them to hold up early seedlings in my garden and for mixing small cans of paint (where the tradition stir sticks are just too large for the job).

  3. Eigon says:

    They can be used as the centre of a drop spindle – you then add a disc towards one end, which can be of wood, or a toy wheel, or a CD, or one of those quick drying clays you can get for craft work.

  4. Anita says:

    They are great to use if you’re learning to knit, just make sure you sand off any little splinters, the stitches stay on better than conventional metal knitting needles.And it is especially helpful when using extra smooth yarns!

  5. Shabnam says:

    It seems that you have quite a collection of new chopsticks: so you can make placemats.
    Lay chopstick on the table, place a chopstick side by side but upside down (in French we call it tête bêche, the head touches the foot), and then keep on alternating till you get the size of place mat you want.

    Choose a nice string and then knot the chop sticks one to the other (you want to make the string go over a chopstick, then under the next one, till the end of the row and back to the starting position).

    Sounds complicated, but I don’t have any chopsticks to do it to show you (sorry)! (I take my own topperware to the Chinese anyway and they fill them up for me and tell them not to give me the chopsticks since I have some nice ones at home).

  6. Delusion says:

    There are crafty things you can do, like lay them out into a “star” or “wreath” design, use craft wire to bind them were two chopsticks meet.

    Once you have this frame, it can be decorated with anything from wool, to tinsel to wire… Use them as Xmas decorations or wall mounted art :)

  7. How about making them into photo frames. Gluing them together in a similar way as already described for making placemats in whichever shape you want

  8. Frannie says:

    If you have lots and lots of them, you can get ideas from this dude who makes incredible home decor with used (and sanitized!) chopsticks from take-out Chinese restaurants:

  9. paperlady says:

    I recently used the sharper end of a chop stick to clean out the crevices inside my coffeemaker, even taped a toothpick to the end and cleaned the tinier areas and wrapped a paper towel around the end to mop up what I had removed. So save a couple for cleaning crevices!

  10. Sordale says:

    Ok, lame one, but still :) I keep one or two at work to scratch my back if the need arise :)

  11. melody says:

    I use them to keep my hair up in a twist. It looks pretty and it holds well enough if you do it right. Just twist your hair up and weave the stick through.

  12. nancy says:

    this comment is not meant to be mean, learn how to use them! I lived in Korea for a year, and now I cannot eat oriental food without chopsticks. It is easier, you get a smaller bite sized portion, and it is neater.

  13. Before using them in your hair, you can paint them, glue jewels to them, etc. to decorate them and then they make very pretty hair ornaments.

  14. David Kichi says:

    Give it away by asking friends or put it online and I’m sure somebody will take it off your hands and find a use for them. Ultimately, you should use chopsticks to eat Asian food which makes it taste better. There are plenty of Americans nowadays who are masters of the chopstick unlike Tom Selleck’s character in Mr.Baseball who doesn’t eat “BAIT!”. Fast forward to 2008 and eating Bait is cool and healthy.

  15. Bad Monkey says:

    I have used these to start fires using them as kindling,they catch well instead of buying expensive fire lighters or when there is lack of other easily available kindling.

  16. PainChaud says:

    I have used them in replacement of nails in some tables I made….drilling hole then puting some glue in it and breaking a stick in it.

  17. Kurt Cullen says:

    Check out University of Hawaii of Manoa: Entrepreneurs Club Chopstick Challenge on youtube for a solution to recycling chopsticks.

  18. addy says:

    if you have kids, you can find a whole bunch of uses for them like flag poles on sand castles or you could paint them and use them as stems for tissue paper flowers or glue feathers on the non-pointy end and they can be pretend arrows!

  19. Horsegirl says:

    even the “disposibe” bamboo ones can be reused for a while.

  20. Rachel Brown says:

    We have bamboo growing next to our fence for privacy. We have to trim it about 4 times a year. Is there anyplace that will take it and recycle it. Some of the culms are long and about 1/2 to 1 inch in width.
    Ours is “Golden Goddess”.

  21. Sara says:

    make a fort

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