🍃Keep Paradise Plastic Free

Of the top 10 items found in ocean debris, five are associated with beverages (Ocean Conservancy). Images of plastics in the marine environment are haunting, and we can all become involved in the solution.
By using your own drink bottle, takeaway cup and reusable straw (or refusing one) we can together reduce plastic consumption.

Our CSIRO national coastal debris survey estimates that there are about 115,513, 626 bits of rubbish on Australia’s coastline. This averages about 5.2 pieces for every person in the country!
74% of all waste we find is plastic.
— www.plasticfreejuly.org

Though plastic packaging is often  considered a 'cheap' option, the hidden costs of dealing with plastic waste are the disposal, recycling, litter cleanups and environmental impacts (plastic packaging is the most commonly found item in beach cleanups worldwide).

Douglas Chamber supports raising awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges business owners, employees and customers to  act to reduce their eco-footprint on our very special corner of the globe, particularly our ocean.


Raise awareness about why you are trying to reduce single-use plastic. A number of food retailers throughout the Douglas Shire have taken the initiative to replace single-use plastics with compostable or biodegradable cutlery and packaging, as well as providing incentives for customers to BYO reusable coffee cups.



Look for opportunities to reduce your plastic packaging. Put an end to dispensing drinks with plastic straws and packing shopping in plastic bags.  Consider reducing your printing and paper consumption by keeping things digital.



Replace disposables with reusables. Businesses can provide reusables for in-store dining, as well as encouraging customers to bring their own reusable shopping bags, coffee cups and containers for takeaway purchases. Offer the cardboard boxes that goods come in for customers to carry out their purchases. 

Boomerang Bags is a fabulous community initiative making reusable shopping bags from recycled  materials as a means to reduce the use of plastic bags.



Whilst reducing and reusing are the most important solutions, sometimes disposables may be unavoidable. Finding the 'best' alternatives to single-use plastic isn't always straightforward. Start by substituting harmful plastic packaging (such as polystyrene foam) with disposable products that can be recycled by waste facilities in your area. 

Share your efforts by telling your story to local media and social media . As well as positive publicity for your business, your efforts will inspire others!


 A group consisting of Douglas Shire Council, the Douglas Shire Sustainability GroupLow Isles Preservation SocietyTangaroa Blue, the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre and Bendigo Bank , wanting to reduce the number of disposable plastic bags which end up as litter and landfill.  

Plastic Free Douglas is asking Retailers to lead by example by promoting alternatives to plastic shopping bags.  If your business can commit to being disposable plastic bag free, Plastic Free Douglas want you to become an ambassador by registering, and displaying your eco-credentials with the Proudly Plastic Bag Free shop sticker.

To register your interest in the Plastic Free Douglas campaign, email ceounit@douglas.qld.gov.au or visit the Plastic Free Douglas Facebook page.


Douglas Shire Council  suggests some valuable tips for local shop owners to lead by example in the reduction and removal of single-use plastic bags from your business.


  • Make your business stand out and use your decision as an excellent marketing opportunity – “proudly plastic bag free”
  • Reduce your operating costs by reducing the use of disposable bags
  • You will be surprised how many customers approve of your decision


  • Install signage and information leaflets for your customers
  • Ask customers to bring reusable bags
  • Only offer a bag if the customer asks for one
  • Switch to paper or corn starch bags or introduce a fee
  • Offer old cardboard boxes
  • Team up with other retailers and buy reusable bags in bulk
  • Train your staff to become bag-wise


  • avoiding products in plastic packaging
  • reducing where possible, ie  refills, reusable shopping bags, bulk dispensing
  • refusing single-use plastics such as straws, takeaway cups, cutlery, balloons
  • recycling what cannot be avoided
  • avoiding landfill waste
  • support your local farmers and farrmers' markets
  • shop locally to reduce your food miles
  • collect plastic rubbish from the beach
Plastic Free Paradise.png
Most of the commonly used disposable plastic items are a convenience and the numbers are staggering. In one week we go through 10 billion plastic bags worldwide, in the USA an average of 2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour whilst over 500 million straws are used daily!
— www.plasticfreejuly.org

Members of the Douglas Chamber will also find a handy guide to transitioning to the ban on single use plastic bans in our Resource Centre.  Let us know how you are managing this transition, and of any  ideas and suggestions you  can share with fellow businesses.

Renegade Moss