More and more places are instituting bans on single-use plastic bags. Places like California and Hawaii already have bans in place and New Jersey is considering such a ban. New York’s law will go into effect next March. Supermarkets will no longer provide plastic bags at the checkout line. But the laws have some exceptions, including the plastic bags used to hold produce and to pack up meats.
Banning or reducing single-use plastic bags is a growing trend in Asia as well including places like South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand.
One supermarket in Thailand came up with a novel approach to eco-friendly packaging: wrapping produce in banana leaves. The idea quickly became a viral hit on social media and drew the attention of supermarkets in Vietnam. Several big supermarket chains in that country also began experimenting with banana leaves as a packaging alternative.
Representatives of Vietnam’s Lotte Mart chain said that the banana leaf packaging was still in the testing phase, but they plan to replace plastic with leaves nationwide very soon. Aside from wrapping vegetables and fruits, the grocery chain intends to also use the leaves for fresh meat products.
Customers seem to be quite positive about the new packaging noting that it is actually quite attractive visually. The banana leaf packaging also makes people more aware of the need for protecting the environment.
While Vietnam is a relatively small country, it turns out that it ranks number four in the world for the largest amount of plastic waste dumped into the ocean. The country disposes of about 2,500 tons of plastic waste per day. So, efforts like the banana leaf packaging are not just symbolically important, they are genuinely a major environmental imperative.
Photo courtesy of Perfect Homes Chiangmai via Facebook.