Source: Perfect Homes ChiangmaiSource: Perfect Homes ChiangmaiTo cut down on the use of plastic packaging, grocery stores in Thailand are packaging produce in banana leaves.

First documented last month in a Facebook post, the Rimping grocery store in Chiang Mai, Thailand, wrapped asparagus, peppers and cucumbers in the natural packaging to cut down on the amount of plastic commonly used to package produce at the grocery store. Since then, other grocery stores in Thailand and now Vietnam are following suit.

Making the material ideal for packaging applications, according to experts, is that banana trees are plentiful throughout Thailand, yielding banana leaves as long as 9 ft. The banana leaves are both durable and biodegradable.

Considering that Southeast Asia struggles with excessive levels of plastic pollution, this solution is joining a growing number of zero-waste measures being launched across the globe. To cut back on single-use plastics, which occupy landfills and enter waterways all over the world, causing untold damage to the ecosystem and entering the food chain by way of marine life, companies like electronics giant Samsung are no longer packaging their products in plastic. Likewise, household cleaning supply manufacturer S.C. Johnson & Son is preparing to re-launch a popular home cleaning product in packaging composed entirely of recycled ocean plastic.

Research efforts are also underway across the globe to discover efficient alternatives to single-use plastics. One London-based startup is turning lobster shells into a plastic alternative material while another startup in Mexico is transforming avocado seeds into biodegradable straws and cutlery.

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