Many supermarkets in the world continuing use of plastic boxes, plastic bags, carry bags, wraps to sell packed foods. In many produce stores fruits and vegetables are pre-weighed and sold in plastic bags. Strawberries in plastic boxes, corns placed on thermocol trays and wrapped using plastic wrapper, fruits sold in plastic mesh bags are few examples. And all those groceries lentils, condiments, frozen food items – all are sold in plastic bags. Street foods are served on thermocol plates and served with plastic spoon and forks. We know the consequences of using plastic bags and the number of plastic bags collected on earth and sea is outrageous.
To reduce and stop use of plastic bags several innovations have taken place and efforts are ongoing.
Banana leaves for food packaging !
Banana leaves are large and is a simple resource that does not involve too much effort to extract from banana tree. It is nearly free resource and with some little effort easy to gather. In India and other Asian countries food is often served on clean banana leaves. This not only saves money, it is easily decompose in earth.
To change the habit of using plastic bags, a supermarket chain in Chiangmai, Thailand has come up with an idea. Idea is traditional and useful. Grocer’s this solution is eco-friendly. Banana leaves are used in this supermarket store as plates and food wrappers. All vegetables that are weighed bundled in banana wraps and kept separate. Banana stem thread is used for wrapping the bundle. Banana threads are very strong and durable. Apart from this, cooked food like solid rice items also wrapped in banana leaves are available in the market. These wraps are presented beautifully. For liquid foods dried banana leaf bowls and plates are available. This is an encouraging step that should be tried in major, big supermarkets centers.
As we are aware plastic wraps, plates, boxes can contaminate food with hormone disrupting BPA and makes food poisonous. Advantage of eating in banana leaves is it adds a great flavor to food. It is believed that an enzyme present in banana leaves helps in digestion. Banana leaves are also large, expanded in shape, waterproof and easy material for packaging of foods as it wraps well on any food.
It is not difficult to grow banana tree in backyard. One banana tree produces many leaves that long lost. These leaves are long, thick and flexible. Many industries are making banana leaf plate, boxes etc.
In Indian traditions eating on banana leaves had health benefits and today science supports this. Many traditional dishes like varieties of idlis are still prepared using banana leaves. Even today several street vendors who sell fruits, and flowers use banana leaves for wrapping. Sri Lankan researchers has found a way to cure banana leaves so that they can remain fresh and usable for long time. One way to cure these leaves is, running banana leaf surfaces on the low flame. It gives away nice aroma from leaves and banana leaves can be stored after cooling.
Before invention of plastic it was banana and other leaf sources, glass materials, porcelain etc that helped us to stay healthy while serving and eating food. Use of banana leaves as an alternate to plastic is one of the solutions to move away from plastic!
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: February 19, 2021