As seen on WFMZ: ChopValue turns chopsticks into furniture
A Massachusetts woman is turning waste into some practical art, and doing it in a beautiful way.
Elaine Chow is on an environmentally-minded mission, turning millions of used chopsticks into stylish furniture.
She runs a franchise business called ChopValue, and it's saving trees while keeping tons of waste out of the local landfill.
Chopsticks may not seem sturdy enough for furniture, but Elaine says you'd be surprised.
"It's very, very strong, bamboo is a strong material in itself and when you bundle it all up like this, this has been rated stronger than oak and maple," she said.
Through a process of sorting, dipping, baking, hammering and pressing, chopsticks that normally get thrown away are transformed into home decor.
All of ChopValue's designs have the same elegant look, and Elaine says she's confident there is a market for eco-friendly furniture.
"A lot of times when people see and touch our product, they say, wow, I cannot believe this is made out of chop sticks, I can't believe it's made out of recycled materials," she said.
All of the chopsticks Elaine uses for the furniture are local to her. They are from restaurants in Boston.
She partnered with more than 100 restaurants back in March, and since then, has collected nearly 8 tons of chopsticks.
Elaine's business is part of a much larger sustainability movement.
ChopValue started in 2017 and has grown exponentially since, with offices all over the world.
This Boston location is only the second in the U.S., but ChopValue hopes to open in more cities soon.