Millions of disposable chopsticks used in China are made in America! Find out why the Chinese have to import chopsticks
How many products that you use on a daily basis carry a “Made in China” label? Cameras, computers, mobile phones and many toys, do. But here is a surprise – a product that is so quintessentially Chinese like the chopstick, and are used in China by the millions every day, now carry the label “Made in U.S.A”!
In the south-eastern state of Georgia, a small company is producing chopsticks for shipment to China and other countries. “Right now we are making about two million pairs of chopsticks per day but we are increasing," says Jae Lee, president of Georgia Chopsticks.
China is apparently running short of wood, but wood is something the U.S. Town of Americus (where Georgia Chopsticks is located) has no shortage of. Sweet gum and poplars grow like weeds in central Georgia, and, as luck would have it, these trees make for the perfect chopsticks because their wood is pliable, straight and has a pleasant color. Georgia chopsticks, unlike their Chinese counterparts, do not have to be lightened with bleach or other chemicals, and that makes them even more attractive for health-conscious consumers.
When Georgia Chopsticks opened, they employed 57 people. Lee hopes to ramp up production and to hire more employees, as the area had a 12% unemployment rate in 2011.