Highlights of 2021
- As at the end of November 2021, there were seven full-scale Plastic Free Places programs in operation - in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton/Livingstone, Adelaide, Perth, Mornington Peninsula and Randwick, as well as four smaller programs in Camberwell and Moreland (Vic), Douglas (Qld) and Port Lincoln (SA). Five of these programs were made possible under a grant from the Commonwealth Government, with the rest being state or local government funded. Our previous program in Byron Bay ended in July 2021.
- The end of November 2021 totals for the amount of single-use plastic eliminated under the program was just over 9.5 million.
- In each place, our staff worked directly with food retailers to assist them to eliminate single-use plastic items and replace them with reusable or compostable alternatives. Plastic items counted for elimination were water bottles, takeaway containers/lids, coffee cups/lids, carry bags, straws and foodware (cups, bowls, plates, cutlery etc.).
- We have been working closely with many state governments to advise on alternatives and to assist food retailers affected by the ban through the process of switching to better alternatives.
- Our team also developed a program to assist members who want to supercharge the use of reusable coffee cups and takeaway containers within their business. The program was successfully trialled in January in several communities (results here) and continues to be rolled out in our program.
- We developed (and continue to develop) blogs and guides to assist businesses and events outside our communities.
- We were commissioned by the Qld Govt to deliver a series of forums in 28 locations across Qld for community organisations to provide information the single-use plastics ban and give advice on alternative options. In all, we presented to over 500 community organisations. Engagement with the local community has always been at the core of the Plastic Free Places program, and we believe that face-to-face interactions are the key to connecting with people and creating and inspiring change!
What’s new in 2022
- There will be three more programs added in 2022 (in NT, Tasmania, and Jervis Bay) thanks to funding from the Commonwealth Government. This will see our program extended to all states and territories of Australia.
- We will be trialling in Cairns a 'reusable hotels' program, which helps hotels eliminate plastics by avoiding them or using reusable alternatives. Part of this includes providing each guest with a reusable water bottle, coffee cup and bag for them to use during their stay, and linking these items with our existing café and water networks. This helps visitors to our communities participate in efforts to reduce single-use.
- A database of certified compostable items has been collated by our team, which allows for a search by state to show certified compostable ban-compliant alternatives. A database on reuse/avoid alternatives is also being developed. Both of these will form part of a subscription package for councils to be released in early 2022.
- Working with local councils, we will be offering online options for businesses outside of our communities to access our team for private consultation sessions. The aim of these is to help motivated businesses to find alternatives suitable to them, and ensure they are compliant with relevant state bans.
For more information on all our programs, visit www.plasticfreeplaces.org