Original Criteria in 2018

When Plastic Free Noosa started in 2018, the program focused on six priority single-use plastic items

If you were a food retailer, we helped you significantly reduce single-use plastic items in your business. We focused on six single-use plastic items which represented the most problematic and prolific sources of the litter stream. These were water bottles, coffee cups/lids, straws, plastic bags, food ware (cups, plates, cutlery) and takeaway containers.

The use of these items was addressed through changed practices and the use of readily available alternatives. ​Most of these alternatives were price comparable with your existing products.

These items and alternative practices are shown below. As a general rule, the best option was and still is to always use reusable items. If single-use items were used, the preference was for plant-based certified home compostable products.

1. Water Bottles

We were and still are on a mission to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles

Plastic bottles form a large component of the litter stream. In the marine environment, they have the potential to survive forever. Once there, they begin to fragment into bite size micro-plastics, killing marine life that mistake them for food.

In a developed nation such as Australia, the need for plastic bottled water is extremely low. In this context, the sale and use of single-use bottled water, which inevitably leads to littering, mismanagement and escape into the environment needs to be reduced.

We recommend that all individuals and businesses rethink their consumption of single-use water bottles in favour of reusable alternatives.

Learn about the QLD Container Refund Scheme

Learn more about our Water Bottle Strategy

2. Coffee Cups & Lids

Over 1 billion disposable coffee cups are used in Australia every year. The plastic lining in the cup means the majority of cups are not recycled, instead ending up in landfill. If mismanaged they have the potential to end up in our oceans. Coffee cup lids are usually made of polystyrene, a particularly toxic and problematic source of marine plastic pollution. Lids often escape bins and landfill, ending up in the ocean.

Learn more about takeaway coffee cups

3. Straws

Straws are an often frivolous plastic item that causes significant ingestion hazards for our wildlife. Plastic straws are used for an average of 20 minutes, however, they can last in the environment for years and they are one of the top 10 items picked up in beach clean ups. Plastic straws cannot be recycled and eventually fragment in our oceans, making it far more easy for wildlife to ingest plastic.

Learn more about straws

4. Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are quite often the cause of wildlife entanglement and ingestion, and are targeted by species that mistake them for their food sources (e.g. jellyfish). They can cause intestinal blockages, starvation and asphyxiation.

Degradable and biodegradable bags are NOT a good alternative. Degradable bags break into small pieces quickly and are readily ingested by wildlife. Biodegradable bags take up to 2 years to break down in the environment, and by that time they have often done the damage.

Queensland introduced a ban on single-use lightweight plastic bags in July 2018, including degradable and biodegradable plastic bags.

Learn more about the QLD plastic bag ban

5. Foodware (cultery, cups etc.)

Most single-use plastic foodware ends up in landfill. If they are littered or escape from landfill, they can enter our waterways where they can fragment and cause serious harm to marine wildlife.

Because these items are usually used away from home and in public areas, they tend to be littered frequently. Plastic utensils are one of the most damaging items to marine life (along with plastic bags).

Learn more about foodware

6. Takeaway containers

Takeaway containers are often made of polystyrene, which is extremely toxic and pose many health concerns for not only our wildlife, but us as well. We recommend that polystyrene is NEVER used for food packaging.

Learn more about polystyrene

Get involved

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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