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[As Seen on Forbes] The Sheffield United Star Saving The World One Chopstick At A Time

[As Seen on Forbes] The Sheffield United Star Saving The World One Chopstick At A Time

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With just nine appearances in an injury hit season, it’s fair to say Tom Davies didn’t have the impact he wanted on the pitch after joining Sheffield United last summer.

But off the pitch, he’s been working hard to make a difference in the world.

The former Everton midfielder is running a business that turns used chopsticks into furniture.

He is managing director of ChopValue UK, which opened in Liverpool last month. Davies says that in the year before that, they collected around 100,000 chopsticks a week from the Manchester and Liverpool area, saving them from going into landfill. The chopsticks are collected from restaurants and recycled into statement furniture such as desks, restaurant tables and wall paneling.

The former England under-21 player says that while soccer is his biggest passion, “sustainability, and the planet, the environment, I’ve always had an interest in it.”

He says he loved playing soccer in the park as a kid, but “as you get older, you start to see other things, going to these places seeing litter” or seeing homeless people suffering on the streets in Liverpool, and that “it’s something I can affect right now, hopefully make a difference.”

Tom Davies’ interests outside of soccer have made headlines in the past. He was once spotted at New York fashion week with Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Street Style, Fall Winter 2020, New York Fashion Week, USA - 12 Feb 2020 Everton
Street Style Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Photo by Andrew Morales/WWD/Penske Media via ... [+]PENSKE MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGES

 

Davies says he used to be really into fashion, but now feels “there’s more important things to think about, like sustainability and community development, working with the community.”

Some critics will invariably try to use these interests outside soccer as a stick to beat players with when things aren’t going right on the pitch.

When asked whether soccer players like him and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford should “stick to soccer,” Davies calls Rashford an inspiration, saying that he has done incredible things for a lot of children in the UK, and that “I don’t really see how it affects his football.” He says Rashford could have chosen not to try and reduce child poverty and “the media still would’ve slaughtered him” for a dip in form.

As soccer players finish at two or three in the afternoon, Davies says he often found himself getting a bit restless, and that while the main focus is on rest and recovery for the next training session or match, there are always things that he wants to research or learn about, and that doing this doesn’t exert any energy. He says there’s “plenty of time in the day, it’s just using it right.”

By recycling chopsticks, ChopValue UK is storing carbon that might otherwise end up in the atmosphere. Next year, it aims to turn 25 million chopsticks into recycled products, saving up to 1,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions. But soccer itself has also faced heavy scrutiny for its carbon footprint.

Davies says he thinks soccer is slowly catching up when it comes to reducing its carbon footprint through things like carbon neutral games or Everton trying to make their new stadium as sustainable as possible. He says soccer players can help make fans aware of these issues and then it’s up to the fans to make their own decisions. He personally tries to shop locally and use recyclable materials among other things.

He has big plans for ChopValue UK, but on the pitch, he is focusing on getting healthy and finding enjoyment again after his injuries. Despite his outside interests, Davies still says soccer is the best job in the world.

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