Victoria’s major festivals reducing single-use plastics

Published: 9 August 2022

Victorians like to party and in 2019, 7.4 million people attended ticketed events. Unfortunately, the waste and litter produced at Victorian events is a major issue.

Experts from B-Alternative, Green My Plate and Green Music Australia spoke about the challenges and solutions for managing event waste at a Sustainability Victoria Masterclass on Reuse solutions for events.

“As soon as people see a bin, it doesn’t matter what colour the lid is, they sort of just cognitively go for it and put anything in”, said James McLennan, General Manager, B-Alternative. “It’s about changing the conversation around waste. As soon as someone uses the term ‘waste’ that’s how they behave,” added Jason Rahilly, Director.

James and Jason explained how B-Alternative offers a reusable solution for event organisers. They help achieve the best environmental results by incorporating reusable crockery and cups, a hygienic wash and sanitising station, extra site staff and volunteers. The team works closely with their clients to recreate their waste business model. There is no change for the customers and there’s a big impact on waste reduction.

“Reusable is our preferred [model] and we really try and push that with events."
James McLennan, General Manager, B-Alternative

Jess Fleet from Green My Plate described an equally appealing scenario:

“We drop off the plates and bowls to the food vendors. You then order your noodles or your burger, whatever food it is, and it is served up on a plate or in a bowl. When you're done, you return that plate or bowl into one of our Green My Plate bins, and then we wash and reuse. And that’s the closed loop system right there.”

Will Overman, Green My Plate Co-Founder, said he was proud to see this approach in action at Melbourne’s recent Rising festival. During this 3-week event, they washed and reused more than 53,284 plates, bowls, and cups. By implementing their reusables, the festival diverted 12.5 tonnes of what could have been single-use food packaging from landfill.

Berish Bilander, CEO at Green Music Australia, said he joined the organisation in 2015 when they were tackling the issue of single-use plastic water bottles. The team understood the impact that musicians can have on their audience to create inspiration for deep cultural change, so they recruited icons of the Australian music scene Paul Kelly and Vika and Linda Bull to their BYO Bottle movement.

“We promoted their commitment and then we started recruiting many more. Each Plastic Free July we’d announce a different act that had committed,” said Berish.

Green Music Australia has now secured more than 120 major artists committed to touring without single-use plastic water bottles. They’ve also worked with more than 40 festivals to make the BYO Bottle commitment. Essentially, they are providing water refill stations so that people can refill their bottles and hydrate easily.

To learn more about going single-use plastic free at your next event, watch the full panel presentation.

Learn more on how your business can prepare for the single use plastics ban that will come into effect on 1 February 2023.

If you would like to discuss the single-use plastics business engagement program further, contact us at