Former Everton player and brother who are fixing 'massive problem'

Tom Davies at a new micro factory in Speke, Liverpool.
-Credit: (Image: Dave Phillips/PinPep)

Two brothers are aiming to fix a “massive problem” with an everyday object.

Tom Davies, 25, who made his debut for Everton’s first team in 2016 has in recent years become passionate about the environment and sustainability. The now Sheffield United player has cited environmental reasons for why he has cut down on eating meat as animal agriculture contributes to carbon emissions.

Now, he has teamed up with his brother Liam, 27, after the pair were told about a problem with an everyday object used across the world by Neil Sang, who worked for a business called ChopValue in Canada.

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Liam told the ECHO: “You would just never really assume a chopstick could be an issue because it's such a small utensil that's used for such a short amount of time.

“People see it as something that is just used for a half an hour meal on your lunch break. But chopsticks can travel tens of thousands of miles to get from A to B before they’re used by consumers. It’s such a small utensil but when we get the waste together, it turns into a massive problem.”

Over the past year, the brothers have worked closely to create ChopValue UK, along with director Neil Sang and others in the business. It aims to pick up chopsticks that would otherwise end up in the tip and use them to make furniture and homeware. The brothers have been sourcing chopsticks in nearby restaurants to reuse.

Tom said: “We've collected around five million chopsticks, just in Liverpool and Manchester alone. Weekly we're averaging about 100, 000. These five million chopsticks that we've collected previously would have been thrown into landfill and will continue to do so unless we can reach out and collect them.”

Tom Davies, left, reusing chopsticks at the new micro factory in Speke
Tom Davies, left, reusing chopsticks at the new micro factory in Speke -Credit:Dave Phillips/PinPep

ChopValue’s micro factory in Speke has now opened, with Liam arguing the chopsticks can be recycled here to make keychains, chopping boards, phone stands and office desks, amongst other things.

Liam credits other members of the firm based in Canada for finding a way to “make something new from the waste”. He added: “These amazing products take away from landfill and instead they become amazing, gorgeous new products.

“It's cool and really innovative. It's a real full range of products and there is something for everyone.”

The brothers were keen to ensure basing the factory in Liverpool would have real benefits for the city.

Tom said: “We've made the Liverpool micro factory a CIC, which is a community interest company. As we start to generate some income, we will put some of that back into the city because it's so important to us both. We both grew up here and we both understand it really well so we want to give back where we can.”

The midfielder is keen to show he has passions beyond the sport. He said: “My main job is football. I think everyone knows that, but I've worked with the homeless in Liverpool, I've done things for mental health, especially for men.

“I've done a bit in fashion and now sustainability is something I'm really passionate about. It's great to have different outlets in your life that you can show you're passionate about. I'm really happy that our passions now turn into action.”

Liam meanwhile has been delighted to work with his brother more closely. He said: “I think it's great to be able to work together. Obviously, with Tom's platform, you're always proud anyway. But then to see somebody further their own platform into something that can benefit other people, it's pretty special.”

Liam hopes the micro factory in Liverpool will just be the start of their ambitions. He said: “I think when people come in and they can feel the products and see how much work goes into the craft of actually making them, they’ll really like it.

“We’ll continue to learn in this micro factory and then, when possible it's going to be even more exciting and it'll be the same process to move across the UK. The further we branch out, the bigger the impact we have, so it's always something that we're thinking about.”

You can learn more about ChopValue UK here.

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