Plastic bans have been rolling out across Australia in the last few years, something that seemed far away when we started our program in early 2018.
Since that time, we have expanded across all states and territories, and PFP has now helped food retail businesses eliminate over 20 MILLION pieces of single-use plastic!
We've been asked the question - is our program needed as bans come in? Won’t bans solve the problem of plastic packaging?
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
We'd actually love to see the day when we're not needed to help businesses navigate the challenging space of alterative packaging. But with the introduction of plastic bans in most states (and expanding), we've been dealing with a rise in false packaging claims and greenwashing as manufacturers attempt to market their products in a changing market.
This has led to even more confusion for businesses.
It's so common to hear that they tried to do their own research and choose the best options - but despite this - the vast majority of businesses who join our program are still using products that contain plastic, and often they do not realise this until we point it out.
Greenwashing is now so prevalent that we've had to employ our very own Research Officer whose sole job it is to keep our team up to date on new products and their certifications.
That's why our program is so valuable to our members, and to the local, state and federal governments who fund PFP. While we’re putting a spotlight on the problems with the packaging industry, we're also pushing forward with the fundamental change that has always been important to us...REUSABLES!
We believe Reuse and Avoid is the only way forward with packaging, and that’s why we’ve been developing some great new programs that utilise behaviour change principles to focus on building better reusable habits and foster long-term change and cultural shifts.
This includes expanding our flagship Reusable Cafes program. With over 30 cafes now having participated in the month long behaviour change program - all of them saw a marked increase in the use of reusables, ranging from a 10% increase to a huge 186% increase!
What we're demonstrating is that when reusable behaviour is normalised, many people are open to changing their behaviour. In the case of Reusable Cafes, the increase in reusables is directly linked to customers responding to the cafe encouraging it and normalising the behaviour in that environment.
We're now taking this work and applying it to new programs we're developing with hotels and offices (workplaces). This is currently being trialled in some of our communities.
It's an exciting time for our program, and we'll keep you updated on the progress as we move through 2023.