Vietnam: banana leaves replace plastic packaging in supermarkets!
At least three supermarket chains in Vietnam have recently adopted banana leaves as an alternative to plastic for packaging fruits and vegetables. Lotte Mart in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Coop and Big C in Hanoi have all started experimenting alternative packaging to reduce marine and land-based pollution. The cause is a frightening list of plastic waste that Vietnam has accumulated.
A natural and biodegradable packaging
Packed in elegant 100% biodegradable fruit clothing, the vegetables are now on display in supermarkets where their packaging will probably not end up wrapped around the neck of a marine mammal or polluting our waterways!
Even if it is still only an experimental phase, the brand intends to extend this new practice to the entire national territory, one of the managers told the VNExpress newspaper.
“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.” – Hoa, a local customer, for the VNExpress newspaper
An issue the size of a continent
In the ghastly ranking of countries whose plastic waste management is not the best and causes the most damage, Vietnam is in fourth place.
As the ultimate repository of much of the plastic waste from the West, Asia accounts for most of the world’s plastic pollution of the oceans. Not surprisingly, China is in first place, followed by Indonesia and the Philippines.
Canada and Vietnam, hand in hand
Consequently, since May 2018, Vietnam has been developing the National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Debris Management, to which Canada has also contributed its experience and assistance in organizing workshops that brought together politicians, environmental activists and business leaders.
“Plastic is damaging our oceans, lakes and rivers. We all have a role to play in combatting plastic pollution. ” – Deborah Paul, Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam at the launch of the National Action Plan
The need to build a real recycling industry – from waste collection to treatment – led participants to stress the need for reliable research and analysis on the quantities of plastic waste on land and at sea, which could serve as a solid basis for the development of new laws and policy measures.
At the same time, many retailers are trying to free themselves from the image of a massive polluter whose stigma has been felt by supermarkets in recent years. As proof, Big C already provides biodegradable bags made of corn powder. Lotter Mart only sells straw and Tupperware boxes made of sugarcane waste, while the eggs are packed in paper packages.
A very small step for all the oceans submerged in micro-plastics, but a very big step for this country’s waste.
Sources: Vice, VNExpress, Earth Day, Gouvernement Canadien, OurWorldInData
Cover picture: © Unsplash
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