Meet Felix Böck, the CEO of ChopValue, a Vancouver based company that is turning discarded chopsticks from sushi restaurants into beautiful, handmade wood products.
What was the driving force and inspiration behind creating ChopValue?
A couple of things came together that made me feel the responsibility and need to start ChopValue: 1. living in Vancouver and eating out a lot, especially at sushi restaurants… and 2. a side project that I was working on through a collaboration with Metro Vancouver who approached us (us = FPInnovations, a forestry research institute and CAWP, the centre for advanced wood processing at UBC) to find a solution for these large amounts of under-utlized wood resources in our city mainly caused by hundreds of housing demolitions. I knew it wasn't easy to connect a broader audience to this problem and got frustrated that no one saw the high potential of using wood chips for new, value added products. However, one evening during dinner we just looked at those chopsticks a little longer and thought it might be an inspiring project or case study that could get Vancouver excited. Quite frankly, I did not immediately see this as viable business when I started ChopValue…
What’s one thing you want people to know about your company?
The one thing I’d like people to understand is if ChopValue can pull it off and establish a viable business based on chopsticks, imagine the chances out there investing into other resources that we can harvest from our urban environment.
Tell us about your team!
We are a team of young professionals who are not afraid to make people smile (sometimes laugh…) when telling them about our chopstick business. It’s quite exciting to see people’s reaction actually when explaining a bit more about the potential and some more technical details how we do it. We are carpenters, engineers, designers, and most definitely all of us are visionaries.
What makes your work day better?
Honestly, I personally need 3 things in my day every day:
1. A purpose: and lately, especially after starting ChopValue, I feel I do have this purpose that fulfills my desire to make impact in the environment I live in.
2. I have to admit that I am addicted to sugar in combination with my daily latte: my vanilla latte in the morning is a confession…
3. My day would not be complete if I couldn’t share it with my better half at home - she’s truly the best and I couldn’t put as many things in a day without knowing that I can share it at night with someone…
Tell us about your current work environment
I have currently a quite hard to follow day: I am spending it between my office/lab environment at UBC & FP Innovations where I am part-time working as Wood Engineer working towards a BC Full Fibre Utilization Strategy. After 11:00am I usually have a couple of meetings for lunch or coffee on my commute to South Vancouver where the ChopValue team has a manufacturing space laid out in pilot scale to continuously innovate and design new production equipment and product designs while the engineering and design offices are upstairs of this unit.
Any new projects or future plans for ChopValue?
While we are working on new product lines and soon come out with different product themes to widely promote in different sectors, ChopValue as a business is currently working on its expansion plans into other cities. We’d like to avoid shipping, continuously improve our environmental footprint and understand our own impact - even if feel like we are a truly good and transparent business, we’d like to ensure that we are backing it up scientifically by monitoring our process and operations.
Follow ChopValue on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook: @chopvalue and visit their website: www.chopvalue.ca