🍃Keep Paradise Plastic Free
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!
PLASTIC FREE DOUGLAS
A group consisting of Douglas Shire Council, the Douglas Shire Sustainability Group, Low Isles Preservation Society, Tangaroa 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.
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.
BUSINESS BENEFITS OF GOING 'BAG FREE'
- 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
HOW TO GO 'BAG FREE'
- 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
CHOOSE TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
- 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
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.