The aim of this action is for your vendors to eliminate problematic single-use plastic items used most often at events. This includes water bottles, coffee cups/lids, straws, plastic bags, food ware (cups, plates, cutlery), takeaway containers and soft plastics. We recommend you do the following to successfully achieve this action. 

1  source your vendors

If you have not sourced your vendors yet, check out our list of member mobile vendors who are already doing (or moving towards doing) the right thing. When taking applications from vendors, ensure you communicate your plastic free agenda.


If you have already sourced vendors and they are not plastic-free, we have some information and resources below to assist. Consider asking your vendors to join us  - this way we can work with them directly, increasing the likelihood of success. 

2  create supporting actions

While vendors can switch to compostable items, consider introducing some event-wide reusable systems. Reusables are difficult for vendors to do on their own, but easy for them to tap into if you have set them up. Doing this will reduce waste and send the right message that reusing is better than than single-use. It can also save money for vendors. 

Some reusable systems include:

  • Providing reusable cups and have a 'no cup, no service' policy - cups can be provided to patrons with a refundable deposit, or bought as a memento. A reusable cup system is not hard to do and there are organisations who can manage this for you.

  • Providing reusable cutlery and crockery free of charge for vendors to use, and enlisting a washing-up service.

  • A cigarette collection system (with staff or volunteers). 

  • Bulk dispensing stations rather than vendors using single-use sachets of sugar, salt, pepper and sauce. Sachets are plastic lined and easily contaminate compost.

If you're interested in learning more about setting these up, we have created this page to help you do it

3  manage product choices

For vendors using compostable items we recommend event organisers either specify a list of products vendors can use, or bulk purchase products and on-selling to vendors. This is important - if left to their own devices, many vendors will source the cheapest 'eco' product available, much of which is simply plastic that has been misleadingly labelled and is not compostable. One vendor doing this can contaminate your whole compost stream.

An easy way to do this is to head to our suppliers page where you will find our plastic-free product catalogues. - these are a great way to limit vendors product choices and many local suppliers stock these product lines. If you are considering bulk purchasing, please contact us as we can help arrange a bulk purchase discount for you. 

Downloadable guides (.pdf). To download, right click and 'download linked file'. 

3  communicate with vendors

To make it easier for your vendors to go plastic-free, we have created some handy guidelines you can distribute to them. There is one for food vendors, one for produce vendors and one for non-food vendors (goods and consumables). We have also included a cost comparison document to help them determine cost of plastic vs compostable products. You can download these below, or alternatively, provide vendors with the link where they can download their own copies. 

​Ensure when you distribute these, that your vendors understand what is happening and what is expected from them. You may want to accompany these documents with a letter of explanation, your event policy, product catalogues or the link to our suppliers page (if restricting choices) and perhaps even a vendor agreement. You can find more information on these in Action 5 - Communication, including templates you can use. 

5  have a back up plan

Despite your best intentions and planning, sometimes things happen beyond your control. A vendor will cancel and you will have to replace them at the last minute with another who has not had time to prepare, a vendor will run out of cutlery and run to the local shops only to find plastic options, a vendor has accidentally procured the wrong product.

Have back up options. We have before successfully arranged from some of our member suppliers to loan us products to have on hand which can be returned if unopened - contact us if you'd like us to facilitate this for you. Store these items back-of-house and monitor vendors so you are aware if the situation arises.