This month, millions of people around the world will say goodbye to plastic waste as part of the global Plastic Free July movement.
We’re encouraging you to get involved too. Every step, no matter how big or small, makes a difference towards having cleaner streets, communities and oceans.
Victorian Government statistics show single-use plastic items make up about one-third of the volume of the state’s litter, causing harm to our health, wildlife, and the environment. These items can be easily avoided or replaced with reusable products.
Tips to avoid single-use plastics
There are many ways we can avoid single-use plastics in our everyday lives, including:
- bringing your own reusable cup and containers when visiting your local cafe
- taking reusable shopping bags, produce and bread bags with you when you go grocery shopping
- avoiding unnecessary packaging by buying unpackaged or loose products, or filling your own containers
- carrying a reusable bottle, cutlery and straw.
Put your soft plastics to good use
In some cases, disposable plastics just can’t be avoided. In those instances, it’s important to remember to recycle your plastics correctly.
While hard plastic bottles and containers such as milk bottles, margarine tubs and yoghurt pots are accepted in your kerbside recycling bin, soft/flexible plastics such as plastic shopping bags, bread bags, wrappers and chip packets are not accepted.
Instead, you can recycle soft/flexible plastics by dropping them off at a REDcycle collection point at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. The material is recycled and turned into products such as playground equipment, park furniture, bollards, and is even added to asphalt to seal roads.
If you’re uncertain whether an item is a soft/flexible plastic, a good rule of thumb is this: if you can scrunch the plastic into a ball in your hand, then it is a soft/flexible plastic and should be REDcycled.
Every step, no matter how big or small, makes a difference.
It is helpful to make sure your plastic items are as dry and empty as possible before you drop them off at the collection point.
For more information and to locate your closest drop-off point, visit www.redcycle.net.au.
Not sure how to dispose of an item correctly? Just ask our new chatbot!
Our new Wastebot can help, with quick, convenient answers to all your waste questions.
Our chatbot is part of our efforts to transform Boroondara, providing you with more opportunities to interact with Council and access information easily.
Reducing single-use plastics in your business
If you’re a local business owner wanting to reduce your single-use plastics, we’re here to help. To reduce the amount of plastic waste sent to landfill each year, the Victorian Government will ban single-use plastics at bars, cafes and restaurants by 2023. This includes plastic straws, plates, cutlery, drink stirrers, and polystyrene containers.
However, you can make the switch sooner to benefit your business, customers and the environment.
There are many different ways you can reduce single-use plastics in your operations, including:
- considering what you are giving out and which plastic items you can avoid or replace
- reducing or replacing single-use packaging materials
- encouraging your staff to get involved – brainstorm the ways you can reduce single-use plastics in your business
- sharing the message and getting your customers on board – the more people who are aware of the issue and the solutions, the bigger the impact.
Plastic-free business pilot program
As part of Plastic Free July, we’re running a pilot program with hospitality and food traders in Camberwell to help them reduce or avoid single-use plastics in their operations.
We’re working with the Boomerang Alliance and partnering with the Camberwell Centre Traders Association and Camberwell Fresh Food Market to deliver the program, which will be launched in July.
Over eight months, participating businesses will work with a dedicated consultant who will help identify single-use plastic items to eliminate, reduce and/or replace with a more sustainable alternative. Traders will be able to trial and test environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternatives that best suit their business and will help make a positive impact on the environment. If successful, we will look at rolling out a program to support all businesses in Boroondara to reduce single-use plastics.
By shopping locally, you can help support our businesses on their journey to reducing single-use plastics.