PLANNING a wedding at the Sugar Wharf or celebrating a significant birthday with 60 of your closest family and friends at the Mossman Shire Hall? If you are, from now on, you will now need to consider what cups, plates and cutlery you will be using and be encouraged to use a reusable or compostable option.
Council has adopted a Single-Use Plastic Free Policy and this means when holding an event on Council land or in a council facility, or if you have a stall at the Sunday markets in Port Douglas, you will need to minimise single-use plastics where possible.
Single-use plastic items are defined as those which contain petroleum-based disposable plastic and polystyrene items designed to be used once and then discarded. These products include single-use plastic straws, stirrers, coffee cups and lids, sauce sachets, takeaway containers, cutlery, bowls and plates.
Mayor Michael Kerr said Council’s existing Plastic Free Douglas program had successfully reduced the amount of plastics in the environment through education and plastic reduction initiatives and introducing this Single-Use Plastic Free Policy was the next step to further reducing the amount of plastic generated in the Shire.
“Apart from the obvious environmental benefits of reducing the amount of plastics which end up in our oceans, there’s a significant cost associated with cleaning up littered single-use items and ratepayers have to foot the bill,” he said.
The Mayor praised both Council staff and business operators for efforts already made.
“Our Open Spaces Team has made a concerted effort to use recycled plastic products for parks and other recreation areas and this contributes to the circular economy relating to plastic.
“We did a survey in October 2019 at the Port Douglas markets and found several stall holders had already made a switch to compostable options, including paper straws and plates and wooden cutlery. Plastic bags were only rarely used,” he said.
Mayor Kerr said Council will work with the stall holders to assist with the transitioning to reusable and compostable options instead of using single-use plastic products.
“There will be a phasing out period of six months where people can reduce the single-use plastic products and get assistance from Council staff.
After this transition period, the Mayor explained that the single-use plastic reduction requirements would be embedded into the requirements for Port Douglas Markets stallholder applications.
“We are also aware that some single use items like tomato sauce sachets for example, cannot be replaced with bottled sauce under the current COVID safe plans,” he said.
To find out more information, you can visit Council’s Keep Paradise Plastic Free Campaign Webpage or follow progress on Council’s Plastic Free Douglas Facebook page. The full Council report may be found