The three biggest supermarket chains in Vietnam – Lotte Mart, Saigon Co.op in Ho Chi Minh city and Big C in Hanoi – have started using banana leaves instead of plastic bags to wrap vegetables, the online newspaper Vnexpress reported.
Shoppers at a Lotte Mart in Ho Chi Minh City were recently surprised to see scallions, okra and other vegetables wrapped in banana leaves, the newspaper reported, adding that the company will expand the use of banana leaves to the entire chain in the country later this year following a trial period in the southern city.
The measure is part of an effort to switch to environmentally friendly products, not just for vegetables but also for fresh meat, the newspaper said.
The Ho Chi Minh City Lotte Mart was also selling paper straws and food boxes made with sugarcane waste, while eggs were contained in paper packages instead of plastic boxes.
Big C is offering shoppers completely biodegradable bags made with corn powder.
Vietnam generates about 2,500 tons of plastic waste a day, according to official figures. The country ranks fourth globally for the amount of plastic waste dumped into the ocean, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).