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Home >> China
UPDATED: 06:56, March 05, 2006
Chinese lawmaker promotes "edible" toothpick at parliament session
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When Nan Shunji brought a lot of toothpicks made in her hometown to the annual session of China's top legislature, she meant to promote a concept of environment- friendly consumption.

The toothpicks of the deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) are special not only in color, but also in raw material. They were made of corn flour instead of bamboo or wood.

The lawmaker from Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Northeast China's Jilin Province, said she will share the new product with her fellow deputies, hoping they can help bolster environmental protection.

Following her call for a ban on disposable wood chopsticks at NPC's annual session last year, she is focusing on wood toothpicks this time, Nan said.

"We have wasted a lot of natural resources at our dinner tables, " Nan, board chairwoman of a local paper mill, said.

The deputy said that 1.6 million cubic meters of wood and 1.4 million tons of bamboo are used each year to make toothpicks in China.

A ban on wood and bamboo toothpicks, she said, can not only save natural resources, but also help curb pollution, as the bleaching procedure in making wood or bamboo toothpicks inevitably produces pollutants.

Corn flour can avoid such pollution, she said.

A survey showed that in China, 66.5 percent of adults use toothpicks after meal, and the country consumes about 200 billion toothpicks a year.

Toothpicks made of corn flour are "edible", and used ones can either be saved for feedstuff or buried in soil, which are easily degradable, she said.

The producer of the organic toothpicks will also develop environment-friendly disposable cups, food boxes and chopsticks with corn flour, according to Nan.

Jilin is one of China's major corn producers.

Under the context of China's drive to build a resources-saving society, experts believe, the organic industry can enjoy a favorable growth environment.

The Fourth Session of the Tenth National People's Congress is to open Sunday in Beijing.

Source: Xinhua

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