Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Supermarket in Thailand uses banana leaves as packaging instead of plastic

Supermarket in Thailand uses banana leaves as packaging instead of plastic

Picture: Perfect Homes Chiangmai

Take note, UK supermarkets: a store in Thailand has found a smart way to reduce plastic packaging. The Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai is now using banana leaves as packaging instead of plastic. The leaves are used to hold together bunches of chillies, spring onions, and peppers, with a flexible piece of bamboo tied to keep everything in place. 

There’s still some plastic used for the label, but the use of leaves instead of unnecessary plastic is a good step in the right direction. Banana leaves are a great alternative to plastic wraps as they’re so readily available in tropical locations, and are often discarded if people don’t see a use for them. The supermarket isn’t the first to find a clever purpose for banana leaves – they’re often used to wrap portions of rice across Asia.

But when photos of the alternative packaging were shared by a real estate company on Facebook, the move was flooded with positive responses. ‘Little steps make a big difference,’ wrote one commenter. ‘Change is coming!’ Others noted that once the banana leaves are done holding vegetables, they can be used as great compost. Plus, their vibrant green shade is far more aesthetically pleasing than clear plastic wrap. There are plenty of benefits to using banana leaves as packaging. They’re naturally waterproof and can withstand humidity, and they’re free of any nasty toxins or dyes you may worry about finding in plastic.

The big one, of course, is that they’re biodegradable – just pop ’em in your compost bin and know that you’re not contributing to the overwhelming issue of plastic pollution.


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