(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.
(Picture: Perfect Homes Chiangmai)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.
(Picture: Perfect Homes Chiangmai)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.
There may be issues with using this approach in the UK, however, as banana leaves aren’t as readily available as in east Asian countries.
But perhaps this supermarket could inspire us to get creative with our own plant life.
Tesco is already trialling ditching plastic for certain vegetables, but for products that need to be bunched together, why not try something naturally occurring rather than reaching for the plastic?
MORE: These dresses, tops and cushions from George at Asda are made from recycled clothes and plastic bottles
MORE: We’ll ring in 2019 rowing on the Atlantic to highlight what plastic pollution is doing to our seas
MORE: Waves of rubbish floating in Caribbean Sea show how bad plastic pollution is getting