Having spent over ten years within the bamboo composite manufacturing trade, Felix Böck noticed first-hand the quantity of chopstick waste generated.
He sensed a enterprise alternative there.
That was his motivation to begin ChopValue in 2016.
“I began ChopValue once I tried to use wooden engineering to deal with the wooden and building waste in Vancouver, Canada,” he says.
ChopValue designs and manufactures merchandise utilizing an revolutionary, high-performance materials engineered from recycled chopsticks. It follows a decentralised micro-factory method, whereby it makes use of native assets for native manufacturing to fulfill native demand and allows small enterprise house owners to personal native ChopValue franchises.
The recycling course of
The corporate collects chopsticks from native eating places and companions.
The recycling course of begins on the micro-factory with sorting and alignment. After being sorted in keeping with sizes, the chopsticks are dipped right into a toxin-free, water-based resin. No water is wasted all through the method because the chopsticks aren’t washed.
To sanitise them and take away any contaminants, the chopsticks are baked below excessive warmth and strain. Throughout this course of, the resin undergoes a chemical response that prompts the robust binding properties that strengthen the tiles.
This course of transforms the chopsticks into an engineered uncooked materials that may then be standardised to design and construct a spread of furnishings merchandise appropriate for various kinds of prospects, from people to companies.
“We’ve recycled and upcycled 100 million chopsticks and turned them into items of furnishings and residential parts, together with tables, aspect tables, cabinets, and height-adjustable desks,” he claims.
The corporate opened its Singapore workplace in the course of the COVID-19 outbreak the place it has upcycled virtually 10 million chopsticks so far.
Additionally Learn: ChopValue scores US$7.7M funding to recycle chopsticks into furnishings, dwelling parts
“For the reason that launch of our franchise growth philosophy in 2020, the model grew from our preliminary location in Vancouver to over 60 places globally,” provides Böck.
ChopValue’s enterprise mannequin is constructed with the round economic system in thoughts — the place waste assets are reintroduced into the economic system. “Our manufacturing course of ‘locks up carbon’ for years to return. It has additionally been rigorously tweaked to make sure that the method emits as little carbon as attainable, makes use of as little water as attainable, and with zero toxin utilization,” says Böck.
Moreover, the cut-offs generated via the manufacturing course of are saved and later reused to provide different smaller merchandise. As well as, the sawdust generated from sanding the merchandise is collected and reused as wooden filler. The oils used to complete the ultimate merchandise are vegetable-based and environmentally pleasant.
The corporate claims to have saved over 136,000+kg of carbon into new merchandise from materials collected by 1,700+ group restaurant companions.
Empowering small enterprise house owners
The corporate’s franchise mannequin is designed to be a turnkey resolution for entrepreneurs trying to begin their companies whereas additionally contributing to the discount of waste of their communities.
“Whenever you need to turn out to be a ChopValue franchisee, you obtain a complete coaching programme, ongoing help, and entry to a confirmed enterprise mannequin that helps you construct a profitable and sustainable enterprise. This mannequin aligns with our aim of making a worldwide community of sustainable companies that may positively impression the surroundings whereas offering financial alternatives to native communities,” he elaborates.
ChopValue has lately signed strategic development agreements for market entries into Japan, Singapore, Central Europe, and the US.
In Singapore, ChopValue works with some widespread restaurant chains for its recycling programmes.
The agency’s B2B shoppers embody JLL, MBS, and Google Places of work.
Tiding over the pandemic
The pandemic was laborious for ChopValue; the dine-in restrictions in the course of the outbreak affected the availability of chopsticks as most of its assortment companions have been eating places. Nonetheless, its group leads continued to enroll extra companions to take care of the quantity of collected chopsticks required for manufacturing. The efforts paid off; when the restrictions have been lifted, the corporate noticed a big enhance in quantity primarily based on an expanded community.
Throughout this time, ChopValue additionally established partnerships with main hospitality chains and retailers, together with Nordstrom, Hudson Bay, and London Medication in North America, with rising pursuits in value-aligned, native, and sustainable merchandise.
“General, we grew our enterprise in the course of the pandemic by capitalising on modifications in client behaviour in direction of making extra environmentally pleasant and sustainable purchases,” he provides.
ChopValue lately introduced closing a US$7.7 million funding spherical. In line with Böck, the capital will assist it broaden its operations, notably to serve its B2B partnerships. The main focus might be on rising manufacturing capability and creating new product strains.
The startup additionally plans to put money into R&D to optimise its micro-manufacturing rules and proceed to cut back its environmental footprint.
Apart from, ChopValue is trying to broaden to 100-plus new places within the close to time period. It lately employed a company crew which is able to work domestically to spice up the demand within the APAC area.
“We need to create impression location by location, one chopstick at a time,” Böck concludes.
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