Kerala is said to produce over 400 tonnes of plastic waste daily. That’s over 4% of the total waste generated in the state. And though other states in India like Maharastra and Tamil Nadu have banned the use of single-use plastic products, Kerala is yet to take the leap.
This is primarily because plastic manufacturing is a booming industry in the state, with an annual turnover of Rs 2,500 crore. But one of the other reason is the lack of an affordable alternative. Plastic was invented in 1907 and it took the world by storm. For the first time, human manufacturing was not limited by nature, we could create new materials. It was then advertised as the wonder material that would save the planet. Advertisements talked about how plastic would save the world from the destructive forces of human greed. How the tables have turned!
So what is the alternative, you might ask. There is no one solution, but there is one small change that we can make and supermarkets in other parts of Asia are leading the way.
Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand seems to have led the way. A local firm shared an image of banana leaf packaging on Facebook in March, and the internet took notice.
Soon, Vietnamese supermarket chains started following suit and now all the major chains like Lotte Mart, Saigon Co.op, and Big C use banana packaging.
Now, we Malayalis have been using banana leaves for centuries. Maybe it is time led the way for banana packaging in India.