WHAT IS PLASTIC FREE PLACES?
95% of all plastic packaging is used once and then discarded, often as litter. In its 2014 report on Marine Debris in Australia, the CSIRO found that three quarters of the marine debris found along our coastline is plastic, most from local sources.
RESEARCHERS ESTIMATE THAT IF THIS TREND CONTINUES THERE WILL BE MORE PLASTIC THAN FISH IN THE OCEAN (BY WEIGHT) BY 2050.
In Australia, most state governments have introduced container deposit schemes and plastic bag bans, which are good first steps to addressing the problem. The next step is to address the many other forms of problematic single-use plastics, like coffee cups, water bottles, straws, takeaway containers etc.
WHAT WE NEED ARE WHOLE COMMUNITIES TAKING A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC PACKAGING, WITH A FOCUS ON LONG LASTING SOLUTIONS.
The Plastic Free Places program fills this gap by working in communities to directly reduce these single-use plastic items, and to empower the community to make lasting changes towards a circular economy.
The program is a partnership between Boomerang Alliance and the Australian Packaging Covenant (APCO). We can implement our program in any community in Australia, in partnership with councils and local stakeholders.
How it works
In a nutshell, we work directly with food retailers, events, markets and other organisations and assist them to switch from single-use plastics to better alternatives, such as reusable (preferred) or compostable items.
But... that's just the beginning. We also work with councils, suppliers, manufacturers, waste transport operators and composters to deliver real solutions to businesses.
And if that's not enough, we aim to inspire our community members to make changes in their own life and support those businesses that do too.
Our main focus is on reducing six problematic single-use plastic items; water bottles, straws, coffee cups/lids, takeaway containers, foodware (cutlery, plates, cups etc) and bags. Once a business has eliminated these, they are awarded the status of Plastic Free Champion.
SOUNDS SIMPLE? THAT'S BECAUSE WE WORK HARD TO MAKE IT LOOK THAT WAY!
Most of our work occurs behind the scenes. Ensuring that the right partnerships are in place, addressing barriers to transition, facilitating solutions and providing the right advice and value to businesses is fundamental to our success.
We currently have six full community projects - Plastic Free SA (Adelaide and surrounds), Plastic Free Byron - Make the Switch, WA Plastic Free (Perth), Plastic Free Cairns, Plastic Free Townsville and Plastic Free CQ well as our trial programs (Elsternwick, Mount Martha, Moreland and Victoria Park). Our pilot project Plastic Free Noosa is still in operation, but no longer managed by us. View a profile of our communities and their achievements by clicking on their individual links above.
Below is their combined impact as at August 1, 2021.
And our impact isn't just environmental. In 2019 the Queensland Government commissioned a cost-benefit analysis on our Plastic Free Noosa project. The analysis found that the program delivered a healthy cost-benefit ratio, and applying the results throughout all of Queensland gave an estimated $943.7 M in net benefits (6% discount rate over 40 years) to the Queensland economy.