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 item||Option 1 (preferred)||Option 2 (back up)|
|Plastic plates||Use washable and reusable plates (e.g. melamine / picnic)||Paper plates or compostable options|
|Plastic cutlery||Use washable and reusable cutlery||Replace with products made from natural fibers such as bamboo|
|Polystyrene cups and takeaway packaging||Use washable and reusable cups, glassware and plates||Replace with products made from natural fiber products, paper bags, cardboard boxes or other compostable options|
|Takeaway coffee cups||Use washable and reusable mugs or encourage people to bring their own reusable mug||Encourage people to bring their own reusable mug|
|Stirring stick||Provide teaspoons which can be washed and reused||Wooden sticks|
|Coffee cup lids||Use only when requested , don’t offer coffee cup lids||Encourage people to bring their own reusable mug|
|Plastic straws||Do not offer straws||Replace with paper straws|
|Single serve condiments (sugar, tomato sauce etc.)||Replace with bulk dispensers|
|Plastic carrier bags||Encourage people to bring their own a bag||Paper bags|
|Balloons||Bubbles||Reusable decorations such as flags, garlands or banners|
|Plastic water bottles||Provide 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 box||Food 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.