If your business caters for events on Council land, you need to prepare to ditch single-use plastic items such as bottled water, straws and take away containers. On 1 January 2020, Town of Victoria Park is joining dozens of government authorities around the country and banning single-use plastics on Council buildings and land.
Amy Matheson from WA Plastic Free came to our Centre today to deliver a workshop for local businesses leading the plastic free movement in Vic Park. It was quite a diverse group, with food trucks, consultants, charities and event managers present, with lots to learn from each other.
Some of the challenges those businesses encounter are the cost of compostable products, how to identify good alternatives for single-use plastic and avoid greenwashing, and educating the public about disposal.
These businesses are at the forefront of a movement that will spread rapidly. This year the European Parliament voted to ban the 10 single-use plastics most commonly found on European beaches – including plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws, polystyrene cups and balloon sticks – by 2021. Canada says it will also ban single-use plastic by 2021.
In Australia, most of the action takes place at the local level. Hobart is banning single-use plastics starting next year, and in Victoria, councils including Bayside, Banyule, Monash, Darebin, Melbourne, Geelong, Indigo Shire, Wyndham and the Surf Coast Shire are cracking down on plastic. Town of Bassendean and City of Fremantle, in WA, have had bans in place since 2018.
South Australia is set to become the first state to ban single-use plastic items, with a bill to be introduced next year.
The move in Vic Park is seen as signaling to businesses based in town that the future of packaging is reusable or compostable. Customers can help by asking their favourite suppliers to switch: the more businesses demand environment-friendly products, the cheaper and more accessible they become.