Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

July 30, 2003


Broken Baseball Bats Turned into Chopsticks

Keywords: Eco-business / Social Venture Ecosystems / Biodiversity Manufacturing industry NGO / Citizen Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

Chopsticks recycled from broken wooden baseball bats are being sold at department stores in Tokyo starting in April 2003. The chopsticks are named "Kattobashi!!", a pun which can mean either "chopsticks cut from bats" or "smashing a home-run".

A Japanese non-profit organization, the Aodamo Resource Nurturing Organization, collects broken baseball bats as a raw material for recycling from professional and amateur baseball-related organizations across the country. Collected bats are packed and delivered to a leading chopstick maker, Hyozaemon Corporation, where the broken bats are recycled into chopsticks. Since only four pairs of chopsticks can be made on average from one bat, these special chopsticks are on sale for a limited time and in limited quantities.

In Japan over 200,000 wooden bats, including those made of imported wood, are sold each year. In official games of professional and college baseball, more than 100,000 bats are used annually and tens of thousands are broken. All these broken bats are normally incinerated.

Most bats used in professional baseball are made of the wood of the aodamo (Fraxinus lanuginosa) tree, an oleaceous, temperate, deciduous broadleaf tree similar to ash and distributed widely from Kyushu to Hokkaido. Aodamo grown in Hokkaido is said to be the best for making bats, but the trees in Hokkaido take 60 to 70 years to grow. Furthermore, hardly any planting of aodamo trees has been done so far.

Thus, the Aodamo Resource Nurturing Organization is planting aodamo trees in woodlands in Hokkaido to preserve the resource. The number of aodamo trees has dropped sharply, and so part of the money from chopstick sales is donated to the Hyozaemon Aodamo Foresting Fund for planting aodamo trees, and also for creating forest and fostering youth.

Posted: 2003/07/30 09:37:39 AM
Japanese version