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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 July 1.

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.

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 earnt 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 (learn more here).

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

Plastic Free July in Douglas – Key Dates

JULY– Plastic Free July global challenge

From July 1 – December 31, Douglas Shire joins forces with Plastic Free Places with a dedicated resource from Boomerang Alliance assisting local food & beverage venues with the transition from single -use plastics.

JULY 13 – Information Session for Community Groups and Not-For-Profits

An information session will be held Community Groups and Not-For-Profits on July 13 at 5:30pm at Mosman Shire Hall.   This session is aimed at groups who use disposable single-use packaging as part of community or fundraising activities.  It will cover what items are included in the ban, what alternative products can be used, and how groups can adapt to comply with the ban.

JULY 18-19 – Mighty Mossman Show

Plastic Free Cairns & Douglas will be at the Mighty Mossman Show on July 18 and 19 so come and chat to the team and get involved in the move towards a plastic-free Douglas.

1 Sept – QLD WIDE single use plastic ban comes into effect

The Queensland Government is banning from sale and supply in QLD, single-use plastic straws, stirrers, plates, bowls, cutlery, and expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers and cups.

The ban starts on 1 September 2021 and applies to all Queensland not-for-profit organisations and businesses. Except those businesses which are exempt so they can continue to support people with disability or healthcare needs.  Learn more at



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