Plastic-free Vic Park

The Town of Victoria Park will be making some changes to the types of disposable items that can be used at its own events, in Town facilities and for market stalls held on Town land. 

As directed by Council, the Town will implement a ban on the use, sale or distribution of single-use plastic and polystyrene at:

  • all Council buildings (except those buildings which are, or may become, subject to a lease or licence permitting the use of the building for commercial tenancy or residential occupancy); 
  • all Council-run events; and
  • all market stalls held on Council land.  This includes stands or booths where goods are sold at a market or event.

The ban does NOT apply to:

  • events within the Town that are not Council-run;
  • traders that do not require a permit from the Town under a Local Law; and
  • activities operating under current lease agreement from the Town.

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are disposed of or recycled.  Generally, single use plastics and polystyrene are used for packaging or consuming food and drink and are intended for a very short ‘lifespan’. They include bottled water, straws, disposable cups (including coffee cups), plates and bowls, cutlery, condiment sachets and containers, food and lolly wrappers, lollipop sticks and cling wrap. 

The extent of plastic and polystyrene pollution occurring in terrestrial and marine environments has become a serious global problem and has been recognised at an international level. There is now a substantial amount of evidence on the negative impact that plastics are having on the environment. Recent information from Clean-up Australia through its annual clean up days showed that Western Australia was found to have one of the highest levels of plastic pollution in the country, particularly along the Perth coastline.

The phasing out single use plastics and polystyrene products will:

  • reduce the amount of plastics being disposed to landfill or ending up as litter in our community;
  • help to reduce the degradation of the Australian marine environment including the Swan River;
  • reduce the impacts on the Town’s environment and human health;
  • educate the Town’s community to shift away from single use plastic and polystyrene products;
  • support businesses to embrace alternative options to single use plastic and polystyrene products and those already utilising alternatives; and
  • reduce the carbon emissions associated with creating plastic from non-renewable oil resources.

What are the changes?

Council has endorsed a new Single-Use Plastic and Polystyrene Policy (the Policy). 

The Policy requires food and beverage serving materials to be either reusable or compostable. Serving materials include plates, bowls, cups, lids, cutlery, straws and food containers, as well as any plastic carry bags.

The Town acknowledges that there may be an impact to event and market stall vendors, lessees and other facility occupants.  To assist our affected community in the transition away from single-use plastic and polystyrene, the Town is developing an overarching guidance document. 

WA Plastic Free will also be engaged, assisting event and market stall vendors, lessees, community groups make the transition to plastic-free and polystyrene-free alternatives.

From ban will come into effect from 31 December 2019.

What alternative options are available?

The below presents an overview to some alternative options to single-use plastic and polystyrene:

  Best option Next best option 
Bottled water and drinks  Drinking water facilities available Drinks in glass, aluminium cans and cardboard containers (all recyclable)
  Patrons BYO bottles and refill on site   
  Have reusable bottles available for purchase at the event   
Cups for hot/cold drinks 
Encourage customers to BYO reusable cup  Certified compostable cups (only provide with lid when requested)
  Stall holders or event organisers could provide reusable mugs with an appropriate washup station   
Plates and bowls 
Stall holders could provide reusable options with an appropriate wash up station Consider the best fit compostable alternative, i.e. serviette, paper bowl/plates, cabbage leaf, banana leaf, bamboo materials or other certified compostable packaging 
Cutlery Provide silverware with an appropriate wash up station  Compostable cutlery i.e. bamboo or wooden material 
  Encourage customers to BYO cutlery (many portable, travel friendly options available)   
Straws
No straws Compostable straw, i.e. paper or bamboo. Only provide straw when requested by customer 
  Sell reusable options, i.e. stainless steel, bamboo  
Condiments Vendors to provide condiments in large containers, i.e. large sauce bottles  Serve in compostable ramekin
Cling wrap  Beeswax wraps Aluminium foil (recyclable)
  Silicone wraps Baking paper
Fabric pouch or coverings  
  Tupperware containers (all reusable)   

How do I avoid single-use plastic and polystyrene?

  • Bring your own (BYO) where ever you go - coffee cup, water bottle, shopping bag, cutlery set, food container, straws. Choose three (or more) as your essential ‘don’t leave the house without’ items and keep a clean reusable set in your car or backpack. There’s a great range of travel friendly options available or get creative with resources you already own. 

  • Encourage others to do the same. Share tips and tricks with your friends. Hint: reusable coffee cups are a great gift idea! 

  • Snap a photo and share on your social media to reach a wider audience. 

  • Don’t stress if you forget to BYO.

    Choose dine-in options where possible and do your best to remember next time.

  • Make sure you are up to date with new WA recycling rules and ensure you are putting things in the right bin

  • If you see plastic and polystyrene litter in the environment, pick it up.

    Once you realise how much there is it will be a great incentive to reduce your own impact where you can. 

  • Ask your local café or food outlet if they offer a discount when you BYO cup or container and encourage them to consider it if they don’t already.
     
  • If you’re organising an event, anything from a birthday party to a festival, make it plastic free.

Can food and drink be served in containers provided by customers?

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code does not strictly prohibit the use of a reusable food or beverage container. It is a decision of an individual business as to whether they accept these items or not.

By what date must traders have made the switch?

Traders can start transitioning to plastic free alternatives right away, however, in order to give traders sufficient time to switch, the Policy will not be actively enforced until 1 January 2020. This will allow traders to use existing stocks and source suitable alternatives.

What about dog poo bags and bin liners?

The term ‘single use plastic bag’ has the meaning given to it in the Policy. Dog waste bags and bin liners, while usually lightweight plastic, are not included in the Policy restrictions at this time. It is, however, intended that compostable dog waste bags will be made available at all public facilities. 

While not a requirement, some alternatives to consider instead of using bin liners are listed below:

  • Compostable bin liners (i.e. corn starch based plastic)
  • Line bin with newspaper instead
  • Go without a bin liner and wrap food waste and wet material in newspaper. Wash out bin after emptying.
  • Separating organic materials for composting is ideal, as it will also keep your bin cleaner and reduce odour.
     

For any questions in relation to this guideline, please contact the Town’s Environmental Officer via admin@vicpark.wa.gov.au or 9311 8111.