American Manufacturer Sticks it to China

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 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: . And whereas most rural Georgians are surviving quite well, thank you, without skyscrapers and subways, Chinese diners, who go through billions of disposable wooden 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.

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