In a creative effort to reduce plastic waste, a popular supermarket chain in Chiang Mai, Thailand is now using banana leaves instead of plastic as packaging for their produce. Word of this plastic-free packaging has reached the internet, making the following photos go viral.
Rimping is a higher-end supermarket that has already shown commitment to healthier living, like offering a wide selection of organic and pesticide-free produce. Now, it has taken its focus on health a step further and is using banana leaves to wrap up fruits and vegetables while they sit on the shelves of the produce section.
These photos were shot by Simon with Perfect Homes Chiang Mai. He said he thought the banana leaf packaging was a great idea and “was amazing when they went viral.”
This innovative solution to the Plastic Problem on Earth is something that other supermarkets and markets should take note of. Besides curbing plastic pollution, this completely biodegradable packaging is often cheaper in places where banana trees grow abundantly. It may very well replace plastic packaging for produce across countries like Thailand and beyond.
Not Perfect, But a Great Start
While there is still some plastic used for the label showing the price and product details, as well as a “Pesticide Safe” sticker, there is far less plastic being used. What’s more, the fruits and veggies won’t suffocate and mold. Until there are biodegradable price stickers available, we can consider this a major win anyway. It’s a significant (and first) step towards reducing the amount of toxic plastic in the world.
Banana leaves are not the only plastic alternative available these days. Beeswax-coated cloth and mushroom packaging are some proven alternatives. In fact, IKEA is already using Ecovative’s mushroom packaging for some of its products.
With these solutions already in existence, with more being tested as we speak, we can stay hopeful that solutions are being worked on to curb plastic pollution. While this may be a small step, it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless.
It’s no secret that the world is addicted to plastic. As convenient as it is, it is made out of petroleum and doesn’t break down for hundreds of years. Supermarkets are one of the many places you will see an alarming amount of plastic. Even fruits and vegetables, which usually come in their own biodegradable packaging naturally, get saran wrapped until they cannot breath. Besides this posing a health risk of mold spreading on the produce, it also produces a huge plastic waste problem.
Thankfully, supermarkets like Rimping are leading by example and using plastic-free alternatives like banana leaves, to reduce plastic waste. Chiang Mai, Thailand has become a very popular place for expats and digital nomads, which may be one reason for the change in packaging.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s an optimistic sign of things to come, if this proves to be a resilient enough form of plastic-free packaging. Share the good news with your friends and who knows, maybe even talk to your local grocers about switching over to plastic alternatives, to help be a part of the solution.