The Deansgrange Village winning idea. The judges described it as a really well thought-out and thorough entry that addresses a wide audience of businesses, customers, shops, schools and legislators. It also addresses an issue around recycling.
I think all businesses should adopt a reuse principle and advertise clearly that they will facilitate anyone who wants to use their own container for any product. There should be a prompt where there is an option e.g. You should be asked if you need a lid rather than automatically be given one. Double wrapping should be stopped completely e.g. you don’t need a plastic bag in addition to a paper one with your takeaway.
Multi packs should be avoided in shops. We don’t need a packet containing more packets, like the kind you get with multi packs of chocolate bars.
A counter for packing should be available in all supermarkets so that it is more convenient to put things into your own containers near the till.
The dry cleaners should ask the customer if they need their clothes wrapped in plastic and people should be encouraged to bring their own hangers.
Schools should ban the use of sup for lunches or snacks.
It should all start at the top of the chain however. Ultimately, I think single use plastic should be taxed heavily to pay for the space it takes up in landfill and the damage it does to the earth. I hate buying things wrapped in plastic but it is difficult not to.
I think there is a disproportionate emphasis on recycling. It gives the impression that we can just keep using as much as we like when in reality most is not recycled. The emphasis needs to shift to reduce and reuse.
The IADT winning idea. The judges described it as a really well-expressed comprehensive basket
of ideas. Time and thought went into this.
First of all, we have to buy less of what we don't need. The scale of the problem is such that the solution has to be corporate rather than individual. You not buying single use plastics won't have the same effect as a company not using them. If a corporation stops using straws and plastic utensils that's going to have a way larger impact than me bringing metal utensils to work every day.
One of the best solutions would be a zero waste grocery stores. i.e you purchase some kind of metal containers that are either barcoded or tagged in some fashion then fill them up with bulk items. They would last a very long time – but this comes with its own challenges. Likely you aren't going to get different brands of a lot of stuff in such a store so it would lead to brand monopolization. Like is such a store really going to have 5 brands of milk that would be stored in a metal refrigerated tank? Probably not. What kinds of toothpaste will they carry? etc.
Also plastic shopping bags can be replaced by reusable cotton or hemp bags are often available for purchase or for free as promotional items. Alternatively, many take old cloth items (e.g. T shirts) and convert them into drawstring
bags. These bags can be washed and reused for years and years.
1. The judges thought this was an excellent awareness-raising idea. It would make shops think through how much unnecessary plastic they provide. It could also be widened to online clothes shopping.
When delivering groceries from shopping online allow a "Please no plastic" option
2. This idea was very popular and really ticked the innovative box. It puts an onus on businesses to start addressing the issue of labelling.
Labelling of all plastic packaging Green, Amber and Red to mark % weight of SUP in packaging. Supported by law. Like BER ratings for buildings.
3. The Judges like this authentic and novel idea; shops providing rentable wicker-style baskets.
All food shops selling vegetable and fruit should have suitable containers (e.g. Old-fashioned baskets) for sale or for loan with a decent refundable deposit charged. These could have divisions for fruit and veg to eliminated need for plastic wrapping and bags
4. The judges liked the simplicity of this idea which could have a really big impact, saving money and really improving our streetscapes for us and for tourists.
I would love to see a complete ban on chewing gum. It’s one of the worst offenders in terms of single use plastic. It costs hundreds of thousands to remove from our streets and cannot be recycled or reused. It cannot be digested and it cannot be composted. The packaging can’t be recycled either. From the plastic-coated sleeves to the foil that’s not quite foil. There is nothing chewing gum can do that can’t be achieved with a packet of mints. For those who simply must chew gum there are many eco alternatives in health stores.
5. The judges believe this was a very doable idea. It is beginning to happen already and it would be great to have it more widespread.
Virtual or digital library cards.
I heard of this in the library, library cards should be available for use on your phone, you could be sent your library card number and bar code via email for use at scanners. You could receive a copy of barcode by email at any time by submitting your email address. Of course, there needs to be a physical version for older people who do not have the technology for an email version and also for younger children. But I bet the vast majority of users have phones and email addresses! At least give us the option!
These two runners-up were joint winners as they had the same idea which the judges deemed an excellent way to incentivise reducing our plastic packaging.
6. Sell in your container at a price lower than in a disposable plastic container.
7. Different prices for items if people use their own containers, i.e. slightly lower (to encourage reusable items).
8. The judges liked the simplicity and specificity of this idea to ban balloons that are being used in a commercial, promotional way. Taking such an action makes it easier to begin the journey to reduce our single use.
Stop using balloons for advertising/fundraisers/charity events as they contribute to pollution and are a waste of helium.
9. The judges liked the reference to making cleaning facilities for reusable cups more widely available. They also liked that the ideas were for businesses.
Businesses such as coffee shops should offer a better discount for people using reusable cups, have water refill stations and cleaning facilities more readily available. Single use plastic cutlery could easily be replaced for wood or biodegradable materials. Individually wrapped sweets, cheeses, especially kids’ snacks could again easily be replaced with paper alternatives. Cigarette butts need to be replaced with something more biodegradable or gotten rid of completely.