Supermarkets in Asia now use banana leaves instead of plastic packaging

This innovative supermarket in Thailand has been praised for using banana leaves instead of plastic packaging. 

The Rimping supermarket in northern Chiang Mai has been praised for the environmentally friendly idea that sees groceries wrapped in the natural by-product.

Seven branches of the chain have adopted the eco-friendly packaging. And now dozens of stores in neighbouring Vietnam have copied the idea. They include Lotte Mart, Saigon Co.op and Big C stores.

Footage taken at the supermarket on Tuesday (June 25) shows how fruit and vegetables are wrapped in the banana leaves, which are sourced from farms and would otherwise be composted. 

The wrapping is then secured with a small string-like piece of bamboo. 

A spokesman for the supermarket told Newsflare that customers had been ‘’very supportive’’ of the idea.

He added: ‘’All of our stores use banana leaves on our fruit and vegetables. It is the most environmentally friendly form of packaging.

‘’We have many concepts of how to make sustainable packaging. We will use recycled paper boxes and not plastic bags. 

‘’It’s very pleasing to see our ideas being followed by other stores. We will continue using banana leaves as a form of packaging in all of our stores.’’

In Vietnam, the Lotte Mart chain said that they are still in the testing phase of using banana leaves as packaging but are planning to replace plastic with leaves nationwide very soon. Lotte Mart is headquartered in South Korea.

One customer, Hoa, told local Vietnamese media: ‘’When I see vegetables wrapped in these beautiful banana leaves I’m more willing to buy in larger quantities. I think this initiative will help locals be more aware of protecting the environment.’’

Environmentalists have praised the initiative. In tropical countries, banana leaves are readily available locally and can often be acquired for free.

More than nine billion tonnes of plastic is believed to have been produced in the world so far but only nine percent has been recycled, according to reports.

The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that by 2050 there will be 12 billion tonnes of plastic in landfills, oceans and the wider environment. Cigarette butts, plastic drinking bottles, food wrappers, and plastic grocery bags are the biggest contributors.

The most noticeable effect of plastic pollution is on marine life in the world’s oceans, where creatures like whales and dolphins can die after swallowing plastics.