Reusable Containers

Our aim is to rapidly accelerate adoption of reusable and refillable foodware and containers by product providers, business and consumers. Apart from avoiding single use plastics in the first place, the next best solution is to reuse containers. This eliminates waste and ensures containers stay in use for as long as possible.

We have identified five scenarios on which to focus. Whilst food safety standards do prevent unmanaged reusable container use, properly designed services are available and active in Australia and around the world that show it can be done.

The International Standard (ISO 1860:2013) outlines the requirements of reusable packaging to reduce its environmental footprint (compared to single use) and be designed to achieve a minimum number of trips or rotations.


Our Goals

  1. Events

    • All public events to adopt reusable/refillable foodware policies that support reusables and, where possible, incorporate reusable/returnable container services into operations.

    • Every national, state, local jurisdiction should include reusable/refillable foodware policies for any events they manage or for any events that require permits or funding support (by 2021).

    • Reusable Foodware policies for events should be based upon a continuous improvement approach and initially focus on the use of reusable/returnable/refillable foodware provision by event organisers and vendors and the introduction of reusable/returnable containers for product transport by suppliers.

  2. Takeaway outlets

    • Food outlets allow/ initiate customer returnable/refillable services for takeaway food and drink

  3. Supermarkets/retail

    • Major supermarkets to introduce returnable/refillable container service for their customers to access delicatessen and identified other food services by 2021.

  4. Specific controlled environments

    • All government office precincts (that include food outlets) to introduce (or include in new or renewed vendor contracts) a requirement to allow/promote returnable/refillable foodware services or earlier with agreement of vendors. (Other office precincts are encouraged to implement similar requirements)
    • Other locations (e.g. universities, public institutions) to initiate returnable/refillable service and networks where under management control.

  5. Transport (ISO 22984)

    • Manufacturers, retailers and transport logistics companies can introduce reusable/returnable containers for bulk deliveries now. These should be introduced coupled with investment and research to investigate further reusable/returnable container use in the future.