Eco-friendly alternatives to polystyrene food containers and cups

Last updated: 2 March 2021

Single-use plastics ban

Victoria will be phasing out problematic single-use plastics. The ban includes single-use plastic containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene.

These items cannot be recycled and end up piling up in landfills. They often break into smaller pieces and make their way into our environment and oceans, and eaten by marine animals.

The ban will come into effect by February 2023. Government departments will lead the way by phasing out items by February 2022.

Read about the single-use plastics ban

The facts about polystyrene food containers and cups

Disposable food containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene can’t be readily recycled and, after only a few minutes’ use, will end up piling up in landfills.

A polystyrene container or cup easily breaks up into smaller pieces, which can then make their way into the environment and our oceans as litter. They can take over 50 years to decompose and, in the meantime, the small pieces of plastic can be eaten by marine animals.

Switch up polystyrene items for reusable options

If you’re going somewhere where you think they might serve food and drinks in disposable polystyrene containers, like a community event or function, take a reusable food container and cup to use instead.

You can bring your own from home or, with more people trying their best to reduce their waste, there are more travel-friendly options available such as collapsible containers and reusable cups.

To be prepared for anything, chuck one in your car and keep one at work or in your bag for whenever you’re on the go.

Parties that aren’t rubbish

If you’re hosting a party or event, switch the disposable plates and cups for reusable options to make sure your party doesn’t live on in landfill for years.

If you don’t have enough plates and cups on hand, op-shops usually have a large range of affordable second-hand plates and cups in great condition that you can use and re-donate after the event. Or if you host frequent events, hold onto them so your reusable party pack is ready to go for your next big do.