Change Your Waribashi, Change the World


Cropsticks in action at Inko Nito, the latest restaurant to start using Yamamoto’s creation, 8338 W. Third St., Los Angeles.


By MIEKO BEYER

Improving upon the design of the widely used waribashi (disposable chopsticks) wasn’t enough for Cropsticks founder Mylen Yamamoto, whose innovative addition of an easily detachable hashioki (chopstick rest) earned her a spot on Season 8 of the popular business reality show “Shark Tank” — Yamamoto also wanted to make a product that was as eco-friendly as possible.

“I think I’m your average sustainability-minded millennial that knows we have to take care of the environment,” she said. “But I know I could do more.”

Yamamoto’s perspective of “more” would certainly have most millennials scrambling to play a bit of catch-up. Simply capitalizing on a creative and potentially lucrative design was never her vision. Instead, Yamamoto planned tirelessly from the start to manufacture her design with the sustainable, fast-growing crop of bamboo instead of wood. Roughly 45 percent of the 80 billion disposable chopsticks manufacture