Douglas Shire Businesses To Lead The Way As Plastic Free Champions

plastic free douglas shire

Douglas Shire Council

LOCAL hospitality businesses will become Plastic Free Champions under a new program set to make Douglas Shire a leader in the state-wide ban on single-use plastics.

Douglas Shire will join forces with Plastic Free Cairns as one of five communities across Queensland taking the lead to phase out single-use plastics from tomorrow July 1, 2021.

Council has secured a fully funded support resource from Boomerang Alliance, the founders of Plastic Free Places, and the peak not-for-profit organisation working toward a zero waste society in Australia.

The funding is designed to help transition communities ahead of the single-use plastics ban to take affect across Queensland on September 1, 2021.

Mossman local Helen Reilly, who is co-ordinating the program, will exclusively meet with hospitality businesses across Douglas Shire over the next six months to help them switch to reusable and sustainable alternatives.

“My role is to provide advice, support, and assistance to demonstrate to businesses and community groups how they can make the switch,” said Helen.

‘Plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and bowls and expanded polystyrene (foam) cups and containers will all be banned from September this year. It’s a massive win for the environment, but it can be challenging for small businesses to transition.”

“I can present examples of plastic-free alternatives and help in a meaningful way to guide the process and help business make a start in their plastic-free journey.”

With a background in Town Planning and Urban design, and qualifications in Counselling, Helen is an advocate for positive change in the urban community and environment.

Hospitality providers will receive tailored advice for their businesses, unique promotional benefits, and guidance on working towards certification as a Plastic Free Champion – a celebrated accreditation.

Owner of The Junction Café in Mossman, Ange Nulty, is excited about the imminent ban on single-use plastics, “At The Junction Cafe we’re all about trying to rid single-use as much as we can, and we use good alternatives for all our takeaway orders.”

With the range of recyclable and compostable options available, Ange has earned The Junction Cafe Plastic Free Champion status.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the region was well-placed to set an example.

“There are so many plastic-free alternatives on the market, and so many wonderful initiatives driving the movement to choose to reuse,” says Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr.

“It’s not as hard or costly as you might think to switch to better alternatives.

“Helen comes with a wealth of knowledge and operates with a very collaborative approach – I encourage everyone involved in hospitality to embrace this initiative and be a leader in this historic change.”

The alliance is fittingly timed with Plastic Free July – a global movement where individuals, schools and businesses are challenged to refuse single-use plastics.

The Plastic Free Cairns program is funded by the Queensland Government, and extended to the Douglas Shire through grant assistance from the Commonwealth.

About the Boomerang Alliance

Plastic Free Places program works in communities to directly reduce 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 implement our program in any community in Australia, in partnership with Council and local stakeholders.

We have released a comprehensive guide (The Boomerang Alliance Plastic Free Council Event Guide) to provide Councils with advice on how to reduce plastic use as part of tackling plastic pollution. The guide is also available to any event organisers who wish to adopt plastic-free policies.

About Plastic Free Places


– Plastic Free Places –

The Plastic Free Places program works in communities to directly reduce single-use plastic packaging items and to empower communities to make lasting changes towards a circular economy. The program focuses on six plastic items commonly found in litter – straws, coffee cups/lids, takeaway containers, food ware (cups, plates, cutlery etc.), bags and water bottles. 

We have five current projects  – in Byron, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns and Townsville, plus two trial projects in Victoria (Mt Martha and Elsternwick). Our pilot project Plastic Free Noosa (which commenced in Feb 2018) has since been handed over to Tourism Noosa. 

As at the end of September 2020, data from our current and past projects demonstrated over 6 million single use plastics had been eliminated or replaced during the program. This includes over 1.5 million straws, 1 million coffee cups and lids and 1.5 million cold cups and containers.