Minimise single-use items

Last updated: 15 March 2023

Single-use items or disposable items are products and packaging that we throw out after only one use. These items are used for only minutes but their impact on our environment can last thousands of years.

Even when these items are recyclable, we use up energy and our environment’s natural resources to produce these easily-avoidable items.

What’s better than reusing or recycling an item? Avoiding it in the first place.

Ask yourself, do you really need it? And if the answer is no, then avoid it.

Coffee cups

Australians consume more than 50,000 cups of coffee every 30 minutes. Disposable coffee cups often end up in landfill.
Learn more

Plastic cutlery and plates

After being used for only a few minutes, disposable dinnerware ends up in landfill or worse, as litter on our streets or in our parks.
Learn more

Plastic bags

Australians use around 10 million plastic bags every day and only 3% of those bags are being recycled. Switch to reusable bags to reduce the number of plastics sent to landfill.
Learn more

Face masks

Disposable face masks and surgical masks are not recyclable. Once used, put them in the rubbish bin.
Learn more

Cotton buds

Plastic cotton buds are one of the most problematic litter items found on beaches across the world.
Learn more


Plastic straws are one of the most common items found on beaches all over the world. If you really need a straw, there are great sustainable alternatives available.
Learn more

Plastic water bottles

Australians buy almost 15 billion plastic bottles every year and most of these end up in landfill or in our waterways.
Learn more

Polystyrene items

Disposable food containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene can’t be readily recycled and end up in landfill.
Learn more


Millions of disposable nappies end up in landfill every day, and their manufacture uses finite resources and contributes to global warming.
Learn more

Wet wipes

Wet wipes typically contain plastic so, once they reach the sea, they last for a long time, causing havoc with marine life.
Learn more


Balloons often end up in our waterways and have become one of the most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife.
Learn more

Junk mail

Junk mail accounts for 6% of Australia’s total paper usage. That adds up to 240,000 tonnes of paper every single year.
Learn more

Toilet paper

Using recycled paper means fewer trees are cut down, leaving them in the ground to keep our air clean, provide homes for animals and protect soil from erosion.
Learn more

Related pages