Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reducing Plastic: Banana Leaf Lunches

I've never been a fan of plastic bags and try to refuse them at the shop check-out as often as possible. This is a great challenge living in Thailand, as almost everything ever purchased will automatically be shoved into a plastic bag. So it's hard to imagine that not too long ago, there was no plastic in Thailand and this sort of packaging is relatively new to the community of Huay Pakoot.

In the old days, most things in the village would be packaged in banana leaves. This packaging material is readily available (it grows on trees!) and is totally biodegradable and fits into the local ecology. You still find some villagers using the traditional banana leaves.

With our project we're trying to keep this great tradition alive, and when our volunteer teams set off into the forest with the elephants, they carry packed lunches rapped in banana leaves. Once lunch is finished, we can simply throw the leaves into the forest, to eventually be eaten by some lucky wildlife - sometimes the elephants.