Single-use plastic alternatives
Since the ban on plastic bags in 2019, Australia has since introduced further single-use plastic bans across the country. This is important to minimise the amount of plastic waste going to landfill, microplastics polluting our waterways and reducing our reliance on processing virgin plastic. Read more about state specific single-use plastic bans here.
Many common plastic items have been banned, it’s important to find appropriate alternatives to single-use plastics for your business. There are some single-use plastic ban exemptions, see your State Government website for exemptions.
Alternatives to single-use plastic products
Plastic straws can be replaced with paper, sugarcane or bamboo straws that can be composted at home, or with certain commercial composters.
Consumers can also use reusable metal straws (that often come with a brush for cleaning). Businesses are encouraged to let consumers BYO reusable items to reduce single-use plastic items.
Plastic drink stirrers
Drink stirrers can be replaced with reusable glass or bamboo or wooden alternatives. Even better, you could use a stick of celery or carrot for beverages (if appropriate).
There are plant-based alternatives to plastic cutlery. This includes wooden and bagasse cutlery. Wooden cutlery is a fantastic single-use plastic alternative as it can still offer the rigidity of plastic cutlery. Wooden cutlery is a great option for any location or operation that have access to a commercial composting facility that will accept wooden cutlery for composting. They’re also typically available in packs with eco-friendly napkins/condiments.
Plastic plates and bowls
Plastic plates and bowls can all be substituted with bagasse (sugarcane), or kraft options.
Kraft trays are a common alternative to plastic plates and bowls as they are sturdy, food-safe and convenient options for food on the go. Kraft trays are generally cost effective and can be recycled at end-of-life. Kraft trays are also home compostable and commercially compostable.
Bagasse or other plant-based plates and bowls can also be found online. Bagasse bowls and trays cannot be recycled in kerbside recycling and will need to be commercially composted for correct disposal.
Plastic food containers
EPS food service items have been banned in many States. There are a range of kraft containers available as a suitable alternative, however other plant-based bowls with bioplastic lids are more popular. The issue with plant-based bowls and bioplastic lids is that they need to be commercially composted to break down effectively.
The most sustainable alternative to EPS food service items is a kraft tray with or without a lid.
Coffee cups can be recycled through the Simply Cups program. The Simply Cups program accepts all kinds of coffee cups including regular plastic lined paper cups to compostable plant-based cups.
If you are looking for a home compostable paper cup, see our certified home compostable paper cup which will break down in a home compost in less than 12 weeks.
Can I use bioplastics instead?
Bioplastics are made from biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, straw, woodchips, sawdust, recycled food waste, etc.
Unfortunately, they still act similar to single-use plastic items by:
- Contributing to greenhouse gas emissions during production
- Have limited recycling or safe disposal options
- Can contaminate waste streams
- Release microplastics when they ‘break down’
Sustainable food packaging
Fortunately there are numerous options available as alternatives to single use plastics for every facet of the food service industry. Whether it be an alternative to plastic straws or takeaway containers, there’s a plastic-free option available. Feel free to check out our range of sustainable food packaging.