Since time immemorial, the only thing protecting the world's precious banana fruit from contamination has been the boring old peel. Well, Momma Nature, it's a new millennium, and it's time for a brand new bag! So 7-Eleven has come up with a new twist on an old classic: The company will now begin individually wrapping each banana sold in its stores in plastic. It's a start, but ultimately we'd like to see each banana also packaged in a bruise-resistant Styrofoam shell.

Starting this week, 7-Eleven is product-testing the wrapping at Dallas-area locations, and will then roll out the banana innovation to most of its 5,787 stores by early 2010. The plastic wrap was created by Fresh Del Monte, and besides keeping banana peels sanitary, it also keeps the fruit yellow and firm for five days by keeping most oxygen and moisture out. And when unwrapped, the 7-Eleven's Banana 2.0 will ripen more slowly.

CEO Joseph DePinto tells USA Today, "Our customers want yellow bananas — not brown." And they also want to do their part to make the Great Pacific Garbage Patch live up to its lofty name! Of course, tree huggers are wringing their hands, but Fresh Del Monte's spokesman points out that extending banana shelf life cuts the carbon footprint by reducing store deliveries. Check and mate. Plus, if this thing catches on, maybe the individual wrapping will spread to other fruit, and we'll never have to waste water rinsing off an apple again.