Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic

North Sydney goes single-use plastic free...

We have developed a guide

Plastic Free North Sydney guide (8MB) 

to help the community, staff and hirers of Council parks and facilities to avoid single use plastics. It includes examples of alternatives and other information.

The guide will help implement Council’s Single-Use Plastics policy (216KB), which applies to any disposable plastic item that is designed to be used once and then discarded.


Alternatives to single-use plastic


Consider whether you need to use an item at all. For example, do you need a straw or can you go without?



The guide

Plastic Free North Sydney guide (8MB)   

includes tips and solutions of how reusable items can be a practical and affordable solution to anything from a birthday party to large outdoor festival.


Home Compost

If single-use plastic cannot be avoided, the guide includes information on compostable alternatives that can break down in a home compost or worm farm.



The confusing labels found on plastic "alternatives"

There are a lot of terms used on product labels that can be confusing, and perhaps even misleading. Find out more about ones to avoid below...


Home compostable (AS 5810)

If single use cannot be avoided, choose a home compostable alternative that has been certified under AS 5810, TÜV OK compost home, NF T 51-800 or another equivalent international standard.

These products are unlikely to contain any plastic and will break down in a home compost or worm farm. Council provides discounted compost bins and worm farms through Compost Revolution.

Home compostable materials include:

  • Bagasse/Sugarcane pulp

  • Bamboo

  • Cellulose (eg. Cellophane)

  • FSC Cardboard & Paper

  • Palm leave (eg. Areca Palm)

  • Polyhydroxyalkanotes (PHA)

  • Wood


AVOID these labels if possible...

Industrially compostable (AS 4736)

Many single-use items sold as "compostable" or "biodegradable" are often only industrially compostable (AS 4736-2006, EN 13432, ASTM D6400, ASTM D6868, OK compost INDUSTRIAL, OK biobased, and other equivalent international standards).

These are generally not accepted under Council’s single use plastics policy (216KB) as they are likely to contain plastics and industrial composting services are not readily accessible in many areas of NSW including North Sydney.



This is a generic term that does not prescribe what materials (including plastic) a product breaks down into, or what conditions are needed (ie. home or industrial composting is not specified).



This is a confusing industry term that has two meanings. It could mean the plastic is biodegradable, or made from a renewable materials, or both.


BPI certified compostable

These products are likely only compostable in industrial conditions and are therefore likely to contain plastic.

BPI is North America’s leading certifier of compostable products and packaging, but as North America does not have a home composting standard most certified products are not compliant with Council’s policy.