The Economist reports on a factory in Americus, Georgia which produces, incongruously, a million pairs of chopsticks a day for export to China:
Ask someone to write down all the differences between China and rural Georgia and his hand will fall off before he’s halfway done. So let us restrict ourselves to the vista: cranes, skyscrapers, spanking new rail networks and smog: China. Barbecue restaurants, red clay and trees: Georgia. And whereas most rural Georgians are surviving quite well, thank you, without skyscrapers and subways, Chinese diners, who go through billions of disposable wooden chopsticks each year, could use a few more trees.
Enter Georgia Chopsticks. Jae Lee, a former scrap-metal exporter, saw an opportunity and began turning out chopsticks for the Chinese market late last year. He and his co-owner, David Hughes, make their chopsticks from poplar and sweet-gum trees, which have the requisite flexibility and toughness, and are abundant throughout Georgia.