BAN PLASTIC BAGS & SOFT PLASTIC WRAP
No plastic bags or soft plastic wrapping is to be supplied or sold to the public, except where unavoidable. Where unavoidable, signage or other materials should be provided to offer information about proper disposal.
We recommend including a ban on these (particularly plastic bags) in your event policy.
Below we will cover how to deal with these pesky plastics at your event.
1 plastic bags
Lightweight plastic bags with handles are banned in WA - this includes biodegradable, compostable and degradable bags. However, thicker bags and barrier bags (the type without handles) continue to be a problem. For your vendors, we have included eliminating these in the vendor guidelines in Action 1, ensure all vendors have been given a copy of these and are aware of your compliance expectations.
As the event organiser, there are several more things you can do to ensure success.
Provide alternatives for your patrons sold through vendors, or at the entrance
Firstly, recognise that simply using thicker biodegradable/ compostable or degradable bags are not a good option. Many people think these are good alternatives because they are cleverly marketed as a green option. The reality is that compostable bags will take around two years to break down, by which time they have already done damage in the environment, and degradable bags are plastic bags with additive which allows it to breaks apart more quickly than traditional plastic bags - but the plastic pieces never go away and are readily consumed by wildlife once entering the waterways. These bags are also littered much more often than traditional bags as people think they are good for the environment.
We recommend you sell reusable cloth bags at the entrance to your event (these can be branded), and encourage vendors to sell their own reusable bags or provide them event branded bags at cost so they can on-sell for profit.
Let people know your event is bag free so they are prepared
This will come down to the communications plan you will create and implement in Action 5.
2 soft plastics
This is any kind of plastic that you can scrunch, commonly used as a clear wrapping for goods and consumables.
It is problematic because much of this plastic ends up in landfill or is littered, but it can be difficult to remove because many vendors sell pre-packed goods and do not have control over the packaging. The other problem is that for clear plastic wrap, there are not many better alternative that perform the same function. Some compostable wrapping is available, but like plastic bags it is problematic in the environment and many options are simply cleverly marketed plastic.
For vendors, we have included a section on this in the vendors guidelines in Action 1, ensure all vendors have been given a copy of these and are aware of your compliance expectations. We have provided for two options for vendors - replace soft plastic with better options or (if the plastic is unavoidable) provide signage informing customers on how to recycle soft plastic.
As the event organiser, you will play two roles in this action:
Determine for vendors which plastic is unavoidable
In our guidelines, we ask vendors that if they feel their soft plastic is unavoidable and the event/market has a policy on soft plastic, to check with the event organiser. We have included this so that you have the opportunity to discuss their situation. You will likely find that many vendors will default to this option so they do not have to take action, be careful of this. However there are also situations where their options really are limited. To help you decide, here are some common ones whereby vendor adherence could be waved:
Their goods are vacuum packed
They require a clear option for display and all their goods are on display (note: if they have a display but sell off-display stock, they may be able to have clear plastic for the display but a non-plastic option (e.g. paper bag or box) that the customers purchase.
They sell an item that comes pre-packed in plastic and they are simply on-selling the goods.
Provide flyers for vendors to use to inform the public about how to recycle their soft plastic
Soft plastic CAN be recycled, but NOT through the recycling bins you may have at your event/market. In fact, any soft plastic entering your recycling or compost bins will contaminate it and may result in the entire load going to landfill. This is one of the many reasons why you should aim to minimise it at your event.
However, it is more likely that any soft plastic being offered to your patrons will go home with them rather than end up in your waste stream. But this is not and out-of-site, out-of-mind situation - you do not want your event to have flow on effects as litter, contamination of kerbside recycling or plastic to sit in landfill for thousands of years.
If any of your vendors are using soft plastic, we advise you to ask or require them to put up signage or provide flyers that help the public to recycle this plastic. We have included posters below that you can use for this purpose It is up to you to provide these and include vendor provision of these in event policy (which we recommend).
A5 pdf flyer: Print these double sided A4 and then cut in half to make two A5 flyers. These can be given to vendors to pass on to interested customers. Can also double as a small poster.
A4 pdf poster: Print these and place at stalls in obvious sight.
To download, right click and 'download linked file'.