EVENTS - soft plastics

Action 3 - Ban plastic bags and soft plastic wrap

We recommend including a ban on plastic bags in your event policy.

No plastic bags or soft plastic wrapping should be supplied or sold to the public. Where unavoidable, signage or other materials should be provided to offer information about proper disposal. To ensure success at your event, we have included eliminating plastic bags in the vendor guidelines in Action 2. Ensure all vendors have been given a copy of these guidelines and are aware of your compliance expectations.

As the event organiser

Provide alternatives for your patrons sold through vendors, or at the entrance.
We recommend you sell reusable cloth bags at the entrance to your event (these can be branded), and encourage vendors to sell their own reusable bags or provide them event branded bags at cost so they can on-sell for profit.

Let people know your event is bag free so they are prepared.
This will come down to the communications plan you will create and implement in Action 6. People are by now used to the Queensland bag ban so bringing their own bags is becoming normal practice for many people anyway.

Plastic Bags

Lightweight plastic bags with handles are banned in Queensland
This includes biodegradable, compostable and degradable bags. However, thicker bags and barrier bags (the type without handles) continue to be a problem. Biodegradable/compostable or degradable bags are cleverly marketed as a green option, but are NOT a good alternative. The reality is that because people think they are good for the environment, these bags are littered even more than traditional bags .

Compostable bags take around two years to break down, by which time they have already done damage in the environment.

Degradable bags are plastic bags with additive, which allows it to breaks apart faster than traditional plastic bags - but, the plastic pieces never go away and are readily consumed by wildlife once entering the waterways.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastics are any kind of plastic that you can scrunch. Commonly used as a clear wrapping for goods and consumables, it is problematic because much of this wrapping ends up in landfill or is littered and can be very difficult to remove because many vendors sell pre-packed goods and do not have control over the packaging. The other problem is that for clear plastic wrap, there are not a lot of better alternatives that perform the same function. Some compostable wrapping is available, but like plastic bags it is problematic in the environment and many options are simply cleverly marketed plastic.

In the vendors guidelines (part of Action 1), we ensure all vendors have been given a copy of these and are aware of your compliance expectations. We have provided for two options for vendors

1. replace soft plastic with better options

2. If soft plastic is unavoidable, provide signage informing customers on how to recycle soft plastic.

Two roles you will play as the event organiser

Determine which plastic is unavoidable for vendors
In our guidelines, we encourage vendors to communicate directly with the event organiser if they feel that soft plastic is unavoidable.

We have included this so that you have the opportunity to discuss their individual situation. Many vendors will default to this option to simply avoid taking action, but in some situations, vendors options really are limited.

We have listed some common items below whereby vendor adherence could be waved:​

  • Goods are vacuum sealed
  • A clear option is required for display. (Note: if they have a display but sell off-display stock, they may be able to have plastic option on display but a non-plastic option (e.g. paper bag or box) that the consumer purchases.
  • They sell an item that comes pre-packed in plastic and they are simply on-selling the goods.

Provide flyers for vendors to use to inform the public about how to recycle their soft plastic

Soft plastic CAN be recycled, but NOT through the recycling bins you may have at your event/market. In fact, any soft plastic entering your recycling or compost bins will contaminate it and may result in the entire load going to landfill. This is one of the many reasons why you should aim to minimise it at your event.

​However, it is more likely that any soft plastic being offered to your patrons will go home with them rather than end up in your waste stream. But this is not an out-of-site, out-of-mind situation - You do not want your event to have flow on effects as litter, contamination of kerbside recycling or plastic to sit in landfill for thousands of years.

​If any of your vendors are using soft plastic, we advise you to ask or require them to put up signage or provide flyers that help the public to recycle this plastic.

BOH Soft Plastics

This action is about controlling the supply chain of back-of-house plastic packaging used or supplied on site, with the aim to

a) Minimise its use
b) Manage it so it does not contaminate the composting/recycling stream
c) Have it collected and recycled through a soft plastics recycling service.

If you have not yet sourced suppliers for your back-of-house needs, we encourage you to investigate suppliers who provide better options to plastic, such as returnable/reusable packaging or compostable items that can be placed in your composting stream (make sure these options are compostable, not just biodegradable).

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Ready to go plastic free? Plastic Free Noosa helps to protect the environment by empowering the Noosa community in eliminating single-use plastics through direct engagement, recognition and facilitating circular economies.

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