Choosing to Reuse in Australia

The Boomerang Alliance has released its Reuse report calling for greater focus on reusable cups and containers for takeaway. In May 2023 the UN (Turning off the Tap) calculated that with reuse, plastic pollution can be slashed by 30% by 2040. The report supported refillable bottles, bulk dispensers, deposit return schemes and packaging take back.

Our report puts focus on hot beverage cups and lids and food containers used in cafes and for takeaway and examines proven systems. This is a good place to start by changing habits away from home where waste and litter is more likely.

We outlined the opportunities for reuse and the places that could make some immediate changes. These include offices, at stadiums and events, in cafes, restaurants and food courts, at supermarkets and in other 'controlled environments' such as transport services (planes, trains and ferries). The container refund schemes now active around the country should also be able to collect reusable containers as they do in Germany.

The report calls on more action by governments. Our view is that all disposable cups and food containers should be phased out. To help that transition, governments should be banning the use of disposable cups and containers for dine-in; all takeaway outlets also offering their customers reusable alternatives; and the introduction of a surcharge on all disposable items sold. The proceeds to be used to set up reuse systems.

The business sector must also play its part by changing their practices. Corporations such as Mirvac have invested in a reusable cup system for their staff. Bonza Airways offer reusable cups in-flight. We need more businesses to act.

A big question we ask is - why don't our supermarkets offer a returnable container service for delicatessen items and for delivery services? This is becoming increasingly common across Europe and the UK.


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