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Waste and resource recovery

Single use plastics

Plastic isn't biodegradable and doesn't break down like paper or food. It can take hundreds or even thousands of years to break down.

Every year, 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced. 40% of which is single-use plastic. It takes a lot of energy and fossil fuels to make these plastics, only to be discarded after 30 seconds to 10 minutes of use.

In 2014 the CSIRO reported that '2/3 of the marine debris found along our coastline is plastic'. The problem is getting worse each year with more plastic added to the environment without breaking down.

Alternatives to single use plastic

This table outlines some options for reusable items that minimise the need for any single-use items as well as an option of some single-use items made from materials that are biodegradable.

Single-use plastic itemOption 1 (preferred)Option 2 (back up)
Plastic platesUse washable and reusable plates  (e.g. melamine / picnic)Paper plates or compostable options
Plastic cutleryUse washable and reusable cutleryReplace with products made from natural fibers such as bamboo
Polystyrene cups and takeaway packagingUse washable and reusable cups, glassware and platesReplace with products made from natural fiber products, paper bags, cardboard boxes or other compostable options
Takeaway coffee cupsUse washable and reusable mugs  or encourage people to bring their own reusable mugEncourage people to bring their own reusable mug
Stirring stickProvide teaspoons which can be washed and reusedWooden sticks
Coffee cup lidsUse only when requested , don’t offer coffee cup lidsEncourage people to bring their own reusable mug
Plastic strawsDo not offer strawsReplace with paper straws
Single serve condiments (sugar, tomato sauce etc.)Replace with bulk dispensers
Plastic carrier bagsEncourage people to bring their own a bagPaper bags
BalloonsBubblesReusable decorations such as flags, garlands or banners
Plastic water bottlesProvide reusable cups and jugs of water or access to tap water.For large outdoor events, portable ‘Hydration Stations’ are available for loan from Yarra Valley Water and GV Water; Encourage people to bring their own reusable bottles
Plastic wrap on sandwiches etc (glad wrap)Food served fresh on a reusable plate or bowl or food kept in a reusable container or lunch boxFood can be individually wrapped with foil (which is recyclable) if required to separate dietary requirements, such as separating gluten-free or vegan options from a platter.

This page was last updated on 17 December 2021.