The bane of over-packaging, especially with materials which are not biodegradable and renewable isn't just something which is confined to wealthy nations. Though banana leaves have been traditionally used to wrap food, or to eat off of, in South Asia for millennia, as has happened elsewhere non-biodegradable synthetic materials have gained in popularity in the region without much though to the environmental consequences.
Though there's not much on the actual technique involved, new research coming out of Sri Lanka hopes to reinvigorate the use of banana leaves and supplant the use of plastic for food wrapping:
Technique Extends Life of Leaves
According to an article in The Hindu, the Agriculture Research Station in Telijjawila, Sri Lanka has successfully carried out work which perfects a technique "to produce cured banana leaves that can be kept for more than one month under refrigerated conditions without any changes in color or quantity."
Hopefully, by extending the useful life of banana leaves for food storage, fewer leaves can be used (a decline in leaf availability is cited in the original article as part of the reason for the shift to plastics), and those that are used can last longer.
via: The Hindu
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