Photo/ LOTTE Mart Vietnam Facebook Page
The plastic pollution problem in the sea is not only taking countless marine lives away, but humans are also suffering from it. According to the data of the United Nations, at the current growth rate, there will be 120 tons of plastic produced in the globe and only 9% of them can be recycled. Countries are using different methods to reduce plastic usage. The supermarket big three in Vietnam – LOTTE Mart, CO.op Mart in Saigon and Big C in Hanoi have started to use banana leaves to replace plastic packaging to wrap vegetable. Recently, Rimping Supermarket in Chiangmai also adopts this green method, promoting environmental protection with practical actions.
According to the report released by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives on 23 April, South-east Asian countries will become ‘toxic dump’ due to the plastic waste. The surge in plastic waste imported into countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam leads the emergence of industries like illegal disposal and open burning, which brings problems such as water supply contamination, crop deaths and respiratory diseases in humans. Plastic reductions are imperative, and all walks of life have been thinking of different methods to turn the tide. According to VN Express, LOTTE Mart which is located in Ho Chi Minh City District 7 tries to use banana leaves to pack the vegetables and plans to expand it to other chain stores in Vietnam. As banana leaves are common in Southeast Asia areas, it is cheap to use them to replace disposable plastic bags. There is actually a habit of wrapping food with banana leaves in places like Hawaii and Mexico, for example, tamales in Mexico and other countries. The representative from LOTTE Mart also added this is part of their plan to increase the usage of environmentally friendly products, not only applicable to vegetables but also fresh meat. Other than using banana leaves for packaging, customers can also purchase sugar cane paper straws, food boxes or egg boxes. In addition, the Big C supermarkets in Hanoi will offer bags made from corn starch for customers, which can be completely decomposed and is much more environmentally friendly.
The act of replacing plastic with banana leaves has received enthusiastic support from citizens. This also helps to raise their awareness of environmental protection. They even claimed that vegetable with beautiful banana leaves packaging can attract them to purchase more. Apart from Vietnam and Thailand, some Asian countries and regions have been actively implementing the plastic reduction policy. LOTTE Mart stated that they have started testing in southern Vietnamese cities, if they receive positive responses, they will gradually spread the green act to other parts of the country in the future, and also apply to meat products, having a wider range of applications. This hopes to reduce human dependence on plastic in packaging and contribute to environmental protection.