Category Archives: Plastic Free July

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Cairns Plastic Free Business Directory

We’ve started a plastic-free business directory for Cairns and would love your input!

Do you own a single-use plastic free business? Can you think of a business that you frequent that should be on the list?

Fill out the form below and let us know – we will add it to the list!

We can to list businesses that either:
a) don’t have any single-use plastic,
b) have ditched some single-use plastic Eg. bags, or,
c) stock mostly package free products.

Let’s expand this directory together to make it easy for others in Cairns to go plastic free!

Community Foods Cairns
What they sell ‘We stock a range of organic, biodynamic, & health foods. We can provide any quantity, including unopened bags in bulk for cheaper prices. We support local suppliers.’
How they’re plastic free No waste shop – everything in bulk with paper bags available or BYO containers
Address 74 Shields St, Cairns. Queensland
Phone 07 4041 5335
Instagram @communityfoodscairns
Enviromart Australia
What they sell ‘Enviromart Australia offers a wide variety of eco friendly organic and ecologically sustainable alternatives to help you reduce your carbon footprint and step a little lighter on the earth.’
How they’re plastic free No plastic bags, environmentally conscious product line
Address Corner James and McLeod Streets, Cairns North, Queensland, 4870
Phone 07 4041 2233
The Healthy Hub
What they sell Bulk food, organic, biodynamic supermarket options
How they’re plastic free No plastic bags, some bulk food options
Address 45 Moffat St, Cairns North QLD 4870
Phone (07) 4051 5688
Real Food Network
What they sell Fresh, local produce (lots of organic and spray free options)
How they’re plastic free They do provide plastic bags, however it is easy to take your own bag and buy produce plastic free
Address Rusty’s Markets, Cairns, Queensland 4870
Phone 0414 608 234
Rusty’s Markets
What they sell Fresh produce markets
How they’re plastic free They’re not (most vendors provide plastic bags) however it is easy to take your own bag and buy produce plastic free
Address 57-89 Grafton Street, Cairns
Phone 07 4031 5698
Instagram @RustysMarkets
The Source Bulk Foods Cairns
What they sell ‘..bulk wholefoods, health foods and a huge range of paleo, gluten free, organic & vegan products’
How they’re plastic free No waste shop – everything in bulk with paper bags available or BYO containers
Address 10/85 Lake St Cairns, Queensland
Phone 07 4031 5698
Instagram @thesourcecairns
  Cairns Hillslopes Hunny
What they sell They sell products from their own hives : hunny, honeycomb and beeswax
How they’re plastic free The beekeeper Roy sells his honey in recycled glass bottles. He provides too only paper bags for packaging.
Address Local markets: Holloways Beach markets and Tanks market
Phone 419644852
Want your business on the list? Enter your info here
Think of a business we should add? Let us know:

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Response Guide: Qld Gov Survey on plastic bag ban

Jellyfish-bar_edRW small


The Queensland Government has committed to banning single-use plastic bags in 2018 – hoorah! They have released a discussion paper and are seeking public input via an online survey into what a ban may look like in practice. The CAFNEC Marine Response Team have put together some points which may help you guide your response. The survey closes on Monday 27th March so have your say now!

Click here to start the Qld Government survey on banning light weight plastic bags now.

Q1. Do you think that 1 July 2018 allows enough time for consumers and retailers to transition to plastic bag alternatives?

  • Yes, people will adapt quickly to bringing their own bags.
  • It has shown to be successful in many other states and countries.
  • An education program for both consumers and retailers should be introduced prior to the ban date to educate on the problem of single-use plastic and the benefits of, and best alternatives to use.
  • Important it is introduced at an appropriate time for retailers, i.e. not at Easter or Christmas.

Q2. Do you agree that biodegradable bags should be included?

  • Yes
  • Taking away all plastic bags will help people to transition.
  • Degradable bags are designed to break into smaller pieces and resemble food for wildlife even more that standard bags.
  • Biodegradable bags contain toxic agents to slow down decomposition taking up to two years to fully decompose. Throughout this time they are in the environment doing damage.
  • People are more likely to litter biodegradable bags thinking that they are ok for the environment.

Q3. Do you support the Queensland Government working with other states and territories to encourage industry to reduce the number of heavier weight plastic department store bags?

  • Include heavier plastic bags in the policy now. Voluntary action to reduce will include education coupled with either a ban/alternative product or a levy on bags anyway.
  • Alternatives to thicker bags, such as consumers just using their own bags or recycled paper bags, must be encouraged.
  • Heavy duty plastic bags take even longer to break down in the environment than normal ones

Q4. What else can be done by the Queensland Government to address plastic pollution?

  • Stop mass release of helium balloons in Queensland. Once released they end up in the ocean and become a serious threat to wildlife.
  • Find alternative to single use bait bags for fishing
  • Plastic items such as polystyrene cups and plates, plastic straws, plastic food ware, and other plastic packaging and food trays should be added to a list of problematic plastics for future policy and education campaigns. Ideally, a future ban like in France should take place.
  • Microplastics (fibres, film, pellets and beads) also need to be managed – either through bans, take back schemes, filtration systems or simply using alternative, non-disposable, or organic items
  • Action needs to be taken towards disposal of cigarette butts which are plastic fibres and usually contaminated with chemicals.
  • Provide incentives for outlets to use compostable crockery such as the brand BioPak, as alternatives to plastic
  • Put in place more bottle refilling stations to encourage people to bring their own bottle and not buy bottled a water
  • Provide better education around recycling, especially in schools
  • Provide more bins in public places, with a recycling bin alongside each one
  • Include tip fees in house rates to reduce illegal dumping
  • More monitoring and strict prosecution of people who dump illegally
  • Advertise and encourage more clean-ups, more often
  • Re-introduce littering advertisements on television
  • Put filters on washing machines to prevent synthetic remnants from entering the drain system
  • Collect and monitor rubbish at tributaries, particularly after the first flood of the season, as is done in Port Douglas, FNQ
  • Introduce soft plastics recycling in all cities, not just major ones
  • Effective implementation of the Container Deposit Scheme scheduled for 2017
  • Provide funding for programs for non-profit groups working on the ground to reduce plastic in the environment Eg. Boomerang Bags, Tangaroa Blue and other community initiatives such as the Drain Stencil Project that spread the message about litter polluting the Great Barrier Reef

Click here to complete the Qld Government survey now

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Adopt a Drain: Great new initiative in Cairns!

Everyone needs to check out this AMAZING stop motion video put together by Riley Luckett, a Cairns primary school student who has been a part of the Holloways Beach Environmental Education Centre‘s enrichment program this year. Riley is asking the residents of Cairns to ‘Adopt a Drain in their street to reduce the urban waste entering our oceans via the storm water network. Go Riley!! How do you adopt a drain? Simply go outside and pick one, then it’s your responsibility to make sure the drain remains clean – pick up the rubbish in your street and make sure the drains aren’t clogged with palm fronds and other garden debris, you’ll be thanking Riley when the wet season comes!

Check out Riley’s website here

If you’re interested in reducing rubbish entering our stormwater network and oceans why not come and do some drain stencilling with the Cafnec Marine Team? To find out more and register click here

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The Plastic Puzzle: Great blog by primary student!

Check out this great blog, ‘The Plastic Puzzle’ by primary school student, Oliver. Oliver has participated in the Holloway’s Beach Environmental Education Centre’s enrichment program this year and has put together a fantastic blog on single use plastic and its prevalence in our society. We have a lot to learn from the next generation, well done Oliver!


Read Oliver’s blog now

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DIY: Almond Milk

You’ll need:

1 cup almonds
4 cups water
Muslin cloth or teatowel for straining

  1. Soak almonds overnight in water
  2. Strain soaked water and rinse almonds
  3. Place in blender and add 4 cups of water
  4. Blend until smooth and creamy
  5. Strain blended mixture through muslin cloth or tea towel
  6. Voila! Your almond milk is ready to drink

You’ve also made almond meal (left inside the muslin material) freeze it to use in for smoothies, cakes and more!

You may want to change the ratio of water to almonds to suit your taste – more water = less creamy but more quantity, less water = more creamy but lower quantity milk (and more expensive)


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Plastic Free Bathroom & Sanitary Products

Here’s a few links to some plastic free companies that you can order from online

Toilet paper:

Who Gives a Crap sell plastic free toilet paper that is delivered to you door. The paper is 100% recyclable and half of their profits are donated to water aid.

Beauty Products:

Ethique are a New Zealand based company that make plastic free solid beauty products available for purchase online.

Lush sell shampoos, deodorants, bath bombs and soap all plastic free. While they do have some products that come in recycled plastic 46% of their product line is plastic free.

Sanitary products:

Moon cup sell silicone menstrual cups meaning you will never have to buy tampons again

Luna also sell silicone menstrual cups, and also material, washable and reusable sanitary pads

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How to make your own insect repellent


Coconut oil
Eucalyptus oil
Tea tree oil
Citronella oil


For a 25ml bottle of repellent: fill 90% with coconut oil. Add 5 drops of citronella, 2 drops of eucalypt and 2 drops of tea tree – voila!

The coconut oil moisterises the skin, which prevents the other oils drying your skin out. It also dilutes the strong essential oils, so that it can be spread across the skin. It has a pleasent and strong smell that repels mossies and midgies.

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My Plastic-Free July: Amalia’s Story

Check out this Plastic Free July story from our intern at CAFNEC, Amalia. Amalia is studying at Monash University in Melbourne and originally hails from Java, Indonesia.

Hey there!

It’s been two weeks since I pledged to refuse the top 4 single-use plastic i.e. plastic bags, straws, coffee cups, and plastic bottles. It’s been pretty good so far. I made it a habit of carrying a keep cup, a bottle, and an extra food container whenever I go out. So here’s my plastic-free July journey so far:

In my first plastic free July week I went to a drive-in cinema in Mareeba and requested my milkshake to be put in my own bottle. My friend stepped back when I ordered, but I got my plastic free chocolate milkshake! Feeling more confident, I tried to order more plastic-free food and beverage that night, I rinsed my bottle with water and ordered a large hot chocolate with marshmallow + a box fries, walked back to the car only to find the ketchup was packaged in plastic! Nooo!

I sent this article to my dad back home. He was pretty excited. Hopefully I can get my family on board to go plastic-free.

Last night I was craving for some food from home and brought my own food container to a Malaysian Restaurant. I ended up buying too much food and had to take one of their food containers home.

In my second week, I tried to cook or dine-in as much as possible, to avoid plastic containers, I have been doing pretty well. I even used my keep cup to get a huge scoop of ice cream on the way back from Fitzroy Island. But yesterday, I went to a sushi restaurant and ordered some food. After a while, a friendly waiter came and handed my sushi rolls in a food container, inside a plastic bag! I asked them whether I can have the sushi on a plate. I felt upset because I know that they will probably throw away the plastic container and the bag.

No cones? You can use your keep cup as an alternative to single-use plastic

No cones? You can use your keep cup as an alternative to single-use plastic

Plastic has a huge presence in our daily life. It took me a while to change my mindset and consumption behavior, and the experience has been quite challenging. It’s even tougher to change other people’s behavior and view towards plastic. However through this experience, I learned that communication is an important key. You can make a difference by talking to your friends, family, the cashier, your local grocer, and to other awesome people who’s going plastic free to share your challenges and get useful plastic-free tips.

If you are interested in joining us and learn more about the cause, come to our weekly workshop. It’s never too late to live a plastic-free life.


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How to Make Beeswax Reusable Food Wraps




  • Beeswax, grated
  • 100% cotton fabric
  • Baking paper
  • Grater (used only for beeswax)
  • Paintbrush
  • Makeshift clothes line

Using an Iron

  1. Cut the fabric to desired size using pinking shears to prevent the edges from fraying. Commonly used sizes include 34cmx33cm, 28cmx29cm and 19cmx20cm. You can customize size and shaped to suit the items you want to cover.
  2. Place the fabric on a piece of baking paper and sprinkle evenly and lightly with grated beeswax. Its best to start out with less than you think because it is easy to add more if needed.
  3. Cover with a second piece of baking paper and iron gently so the wax melts and spread across the fabric. If you press too hard the melted wax will come out the sides of the paper.
  4. Carefully peel the fabric off the baking paper and hang on a makeshift clothesline to dry. Be careful as the fabric can be quite hot. Once cooled you can use it.


Using an oven

  1. Preheat oven to 85oC
  2. Cut the fabric to desired size using pinking shears to prevent the edges from fraying. Commonly used sizes include 34cmx33cm, 28cmx29cm and 19cmx20cm. You can customize size and shaped to suit the items you want to cover.
  3. Place on cooking tray covered with baking paper or foil.
  4. Sprinkle evenly and lightly with beeswax. You need less than you think!
  5. Place in the preheated oven and watch until all the wax is melted. This should take 5 minutes or less.
  6. Once the beeswax is just melted, remove from oven and use a paintbrush to spread the wax evenly to cover any areas that are not yet coated.
  7. Hang on a makeshift clothesline to dry. Be careful as the fabric can be quite hot. Once cooled you can use it.


  • Wash in cool water with a mild soap. While they can be used for meat it is best to allocate particular wraps for that use to prevent spreading bacteria.


  • If you think the fabric is not coated enough you can add a little more beeswax and repeat the heating process you have chosen.
  • Sometimes the wraps take a few uses to reach their sticking potential. Scrunching them up a few times tends to get the beeswax working.
  • It is also useful to warm them up with your hands before using to help them stick better.
  • Wraps should last several months. If they start to lose their stickiness, just add some more beeswax.

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Plastic Free July: Weekly Catchup 2

Weekly Catchups Flyers

Plastic Free July Weekly Catchup 2: Making Beeswax wraps

This week Alice will be demonstrating how to make your own wax wrap. Wax wraps are great for storing, preserving and covering food. If you feel inspired by that, a donation will let you have a go at making your own (lots of fun). Alice is also going to show you her home-made produce bags and how you might make one yourself!

Week 2 Program
5.30 pm – Meet & Greet
5.45 pm – Dilemma bag (what did you struggle with?)
6:15 pm – Successes! (what did you do well with?)
6.30 pm – Activity Time: Beeswax wraps
7:15 pm – Snacks & relax
7:30 pm – Hammock Café closes

We’ll be meeting every Thursday in July at 5.30pm at the Hammock Cafe (70 Abbott St Cairns) to share stories, run plastic free workshops and giveaway some cool prizes!

Check out the Facebook event 

We hope to see you there!