Golden earrings swing from San San Thwin’s ears as she serves customers in her grocery store in Mingalun village, 90 miles from Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon. This is what she has done almost every day for 30 years, but there has been a striking change in recent times: Every item for sale, with the exception of the eggs at the entrance, now comes packaged in plastic.
“It didn’t used to be like this,” says the 56-year-old. “We used to sell homemade snacks and cakes. But as the country developed, all goods got imported and came wrapped ― plastic just boomed 10 years ago.”