Banana leaves being used in place of plastic packaging for some supermarket goods

Posted at 10:11 AM, Apr 17, 2019

Some places around the globe have started packaging goods using banana leaves to wrap products an effort to cut down on plastics usage.

In a supermarket in Thailand, single-use plastic wrappers have been swapped out with banana leaf wrapping around vegetables: Rimping Supermarket in Chiang Mai has the leaves around cucumbers, peppers beans and more with stickers that read, "pesticide safe."

Since the creation of plastic, 9 billion tons has been produced. Only 9 percent has been recycled, Forbes reports. And plastic production is not slowing down — the United Nations Environment Program estimates by 2050, there will be 12 billion tons in the ocean and landfills.

What are the worst offenders?
• Plastic grocery bags
• Food wrappers and drinking bottles
• Cigarette butts

Rimping Supermarket has not eliminated the use of all plastic with its vegetable sales (there are stickers on the banana wraps in the photos circulating online), but the idea helps to cut down on plastic consumption. And banana leaves are generally free in countries that grow bananas.

In the U.S., and especially Hawaii, banana leaves have long been used during pig roasts. And in Mexico and other countries, banana leaves are used to wrap tamales.

Asia uses banana leaves to wrap sticky rice.

Some baked fish recipes call for use of banana leaves, instead of parchment paper.

People in the U.S. may purchase banana leaves at supermarkets that offer Asian and Latino products, and they are relatively inexpensive: about $3-$4 per package. Often they are for sale in freezer aisles.

Banana leaves may also be purchased through online retailers.