Single-use Plastic

…and how to avoid it at events

Ocean plastic pollution is an urgent environmental issue, and avoiding single-use plastic at events and in venues is simply something you must seriously address to not be complicit in this growing environmental crisis.

Many single-use items could appear through food and beverage service and this is the first place to start to identify and to put systems in place to avoid single-use plastic.

  • Rethink…your relationship with single-use plastic. Does the event really need it?
  • Refuse…to accept avoidable single-use plastic and question excuses of cost and convenience.
  • Identify what single-use plastic might be found at your event or venue.
  • Hold a waste identification workshop with key and relevant stakeholders and staff.
  • Make a commitment to avoid single-use plastics altogether.
  • Replace…single-use plastic with re-usable, natural, compostable and creative options.
  • Reduce… the plastic volume, the size, thickness, grade, and variety. Less is more!
  • Plan to measure and disclose your plastic footprint.
  • Consider balancing your unavoidable plastic footprint through the Plastic Bank.

Quick tips

…to reduce single-use plastic at your event

Merchandise, gifts, giveaways

No single-use plastic merchandise items, premiums or items for sale or given away, should be permitted by temporary or vendors or exhibitors.

Branding fixtures

Reusable bungee straps or ties should be used for branding installation, plumbing, and electrical works. This means no disposable cable ties where reusable bungees are fit for purpose. 


Polystyrene should not be permitted for any displays, fresh produce delivery boxes (unless as part of a take-back service) or within pillows or beanbags. 

Single-use carpet

Carpet planned for single-use and disposal or recycling should not be permitted in any installation, structure or walkway within the event site.


Include a focus on reduction of packaging and single-use plastic packaging. This should be included in all relevant tenders and in contracts with suppliers where practical. Encourage all those arranging giveaways, merchandise or gifts to request their suppliers to provide items wrapped in tissue paper, not in plastic sleeves.

Permanent vendors

Permanent vendors should be engaged in the lead up to the event so that they come on board and change their single-use plastic habits too. 

Food service-ware

Have reusable or compostable cups, plates, bowls, cutlery, stirrers; no disposable plastic (or plastic-lined) service-ware.

Bulk dispensing

Use bulk dispensing for things like sunscreen and sauces!

Water refill points

Have water refill points; don’t sell or serve water in disposable plastic bottles.


Go without plastic straws or source compostable straws. (not-PLA!)


Serve or sell freshly prepared drinks, wet-pour beers, and soda, or packaged in cans or glass.

Tea and Coffee

Use tea and coffee urns or espresso machines; avoid single-use plastic or foil coffee capsules or disks.

Plastic packaging

Plastic packaging should be requested to be excluded from deliveries.      

Plastic bags

Plastic shopping bags should not be used by any vendors or exhibitors onsite.

Pretty Litter

Don’t permit balloons, glitter, confetti, disposable plastic spectator paraphernalia, or fireworks that use plastic canisters.


Avoid mixed material packaging (e.g. juice cartons) unless recycling is available.

Turn the Tide on Plastic at Sporting Events

Download the guide to turning the tide on plastic at sporting events.