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Promotion of Plastic Wise Delivering Outstanding Results

Media Release
10 July 2019

Markets and food vans across Darwin have embraced the switch to compostable and reusable containers since City of Darwin started to phase out of single use plastics on 1 January this year.

Stallholders and the community are widely using alternative containers for food and drink that are reusable and compostable.

A waste audit conducted at Parap Markets in March, showed that coffee and smoothie cups had already decreased by 12%. In May the Mindil Beach Markets announced that their 2019 season would be completely plastic free.

“City of Darwin is committed to reducing waste and I’m delighted to report that market stallholders and the community have worked closely with Council to phase out single use plastics,” said Acting Lord Mayor Robin Knox.

“Early results are already demonstrating a real commitment to changing behavior, with an enormous reduction to the amount of single use plastics being thrown away and an increase in the number of customers bringing their own reusable containers to the markets.”

“Whilst City of Darwin initiated the change, the positive outcomes are very much the result of market associations driving positive outcomes.

“I commend the associations and stall holders on the enthusiasm with which they have found environmentally friendly alternatives and initiatives,” said the Acting Lord Mayor.

Fully compostable products made from sugarcane, bamboo or wood have been introduced at the markets.

City of Darwin’s commitment, to fully phase out single use plastics from all activities on Council land by 2020, is definitely on track.

For more information on the initiative please visit

Snapshot of Parap Market Waste Audit Results

CUPS - Coffee & Smoothie cups decreased by 12%
STRAWS - 77% of straws are now biodegradable.
CUTLERY - 36% of cutlery is now biodegradable and there is a 50% increase in wooden cutlery, with wooden cutlery making up only 8% of the total cutlery count.
BAGS - Bags have decreased by 79%, but still weigh in at 80kg. NOTE: A lot of the bags handed out at the markets don’t end up in market bins, because they are used to carry flowers, hot food and produce home.
FOOD CONTAINERS - A third of these containers are now made from biodegradable materials.
FOOD WASTE - This category decreased by 17%.

Plastics in Our Oceans

  • 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year
  • Plastic is made to be durable so it takes a long time to break down in the environment
  • Recent figures estimate up to 51 trillion particles or 236,000 tonnes of plastic in our oceans
  • Microscopic plastics, known as micro plastics are being found everywhere from inside animal stomachs to the deepest parts of the ocean
  • Coastal pollution in particular is a big problem for biodiversity because the number of species along our coasts margin is much higher than out at sea or inland
  • Its estimated that 90% of seabirds are eating plastic; plastics cause blockages of the gut, perforate intestines and cause toxic chemicals to leach into animals.

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