Everywhere we go, plastic can be seen. Plastic shopping bags at the grocery store, plastic boxes in homes, plastic kitchen utensils and more. Plastic is also known to collect in the world’s vast oceans, which has been making headlines over the past few months. Some countries are taking steps to improve this, by eliminating the amount of plastics they use.
Major companies like Starbucks have announced that they will eliminate single-use plastics like straws in all stores by the end of the year. One major grocery chain is doing away with plastic containers for produce and replacing them with a more environmentally friendly and surprising choice: banana leaves.
The supermarket chain is located in Chiangmai, Thailand, and uses the banana leaves to wrap all fruits and vegetables in the stores into organized bundles. The banana leaves are completely biodegradable unlike plastic boxes, wraps, and bags most grocery stores use. In some areas of the world, banana leaves can be found growing in great abundance, and have been used to wrap foods for centuries. The material is very sturdy, flexible, and is actually completely waterproof.
Some people believe that an enzyme inside the banana leaf can help aid in better digestion and is even thought to add a nice flavor to the foods they can wrap up. The only downside to the use of banana leaves in place of using plastic is that someone has to take the time to gather them up.
In addition to Thailand, many vendors in Vietnam are already using banana leaves to wrap produce. Banana leaves can also stay fresh for up to one month if they are refrigerated properly. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Vietnam ranks fourth globally in the amount of plastic waste dumped into the ocean.