Our Plastic Free Places Program is now active in 5 communities across Australia (Adelaide, Byron, Perth, Cairns and Townsville), with our pilot community Noosa having been handed over to Tourism Noosa to manage at the end of 2019. We're also running two trial programs in Victoria (Elsternwick and Mt Martha).
Combined (excluding Cairns and Townsville which commenced last month), we have eliminated over 5 million pieces of single-use plastic! We’ve done this by working directly with food retailers, markets and events to help them eliminate, reduce, or switch to better alternatives, and working with suppliers and manufacturers to facilitate solutions for businesses.
While 2020 is under a cloud of uncertainty at the moment, we're continuing to offer our support to businesses to help them transition to sustainable takeaway based meals. While things are pretty unknown, one thing we do know is that the problems of plastic pollution will still be with us when this crisis ends. So our work continues!
We'd like to encourage everyone to support small businesses in our community – order takeaway meals where you can and If you can't make it to your regular cafe (or are justifiably reluctant to go out), call them to see if you can buy a gift voucher to use in the future, or see if they deliver.
Here's a quick rundown on what we've been doing.
Our combined impact (data taken from Adelaide, Perth, Byron and Noosa up to Feb 2020)
*Plastic Free Champions are our member food retailers, markets and events that have eliminated all of our key plastic items (straws, coffee cups & lids, takeaway containers & lids, food ware (cutlery, plates, cups etc), water bottles & bags).
Plastic Free Noosa
Our pilot program in Noosa commenced in February 2018, and achieved some key wins, notably assisting to get a composting service up and running in the region that could be accessed by events. By the end of 2019, we quantified that our 204 business members and 20 event and market members had eliminated over 4.3 million single use plastic items! We passed the program reigns over to Tourism Noosa at the end of 2019, and the program continues.
Make the Switch (Plastic Free Byron)
In operation since July 2018, Make the Switch is still very active in the community, albeit with a gap in funding that put the program on hold for 4 months in mid 2019. Nonetheless, the program is edging its way up to a million items eliminated, which should be achieved in the next few months!
WA Plastic Free
Due to funding delays, our program in Perth commenced in March 2019 and only ran until August 2019. Despite this, we continue to hold space for the program and assist current members while seeking new funding avenues. In it's time, WA Plastic Free worked with 30 members and saved 77,000 pieces of plastic. But watch this space!
Plastic Free SA
Commencing in September 2019, Plastic Free SA is our largest program to date. Operating in Adelaide and surrounds, the program was set up by Green Industries South Australia to support businesses leading up to the proposed single-use plastic ban, due to be legislated very shortly. In February 2020, we hired a second staff member in the community to meet growing demand for the program services, and our latest data shows the program (which is still new) now having nearly 50 members and having eliminated over 40,000 pieces of plastic and rising!
Plastic Free Cairns and Plastic Free Townsville
The Queensland based projects only commenced in March 2020 and have unfortunately been stalled by café shutdowns. However, we continue to set up these projects and create partnerships in the communities to be ready to operate as soon as is feasible.
Our 6-month trials were set up late last year in Elsternwick and Mount Martha (both Victoria) to gauge what results a wider program might achieve. While still running, both trials have shown success, with 18 participating businesses in Elsternwick eliminating over 25,000 pieces of plastic since October, and 15 in Mount Martha eliminating over 15,000. Plastic bag data was not included in the results due the introduction of the bag ban.
For more information on all our programs, visit www.plasticfreeplaces.org