Plastic Wise Program

plastic bottles

Our community and Council recognise the problems being caused by plastic pollution locally and globally, and we're tackling it through our Plastic Wise Program.

Through community actions, markets and events, businesses, Council initiatives and partnerships, we’re working towards eliminating single use plastic items by encouraging the use of reusable alternatives.

We all play a role in taking the pressure of plastics off our waterways, beaches, parks, bushland and waste streams, to promote the health of our local wildlife, natural environments and community.

Below are some Council and community initiatives that are supporting a Plastic Wise Surf Coast.

Plastic Wise Events and Markets Policy 

This policy is Council's commitment to eliminating single use plastics at events and markets held in the Surf Coast Shire. It has also been adopted by local foreshore managers, the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee. The policy requires event organisers to work with their stallholders, sponsors, contractors, volunteers, participants and patrons to use alternatives to single use and disposable plastic bags, packaging and promotional materials. 

Our Plastic Wise Events and Markets Policy was introduced in 2016, and following an extensive review with community and market stakeholders, was updated in October 2018. We were proud to win the Keep Victoria Beautiful – Sustainable Cities award in the Community-Government Partnerships category in 2018. We are happy to see any other councils, land managers and community groups use our policy as a guide for their own.

Community action

Community groups

Community groups have been vital in leading action to reduce the use and impacts of single use plastics in the shire. In 2004 Anglesea became one of the first townships in Australia to eliminate single use plastic bags at the checkout, followed by Aireys Inlet. A number of active groups currently support businesses and their communities to shift away from single use plastics, including;

  • Plastic Wise Torquay (formerly Plastic Bag Free Torquay)
  • Plastic Wise Winchelsea
  • Lorne Goes Plastic Free
  • Boomerang Bags
  • Repair Café Surf Coast.

Find out more on our Get Involved page.


Businesses are avoiding plastic packaging, developing sustainable products, participating in litter cleanups, offering discounts to customers who bring their own coffee cups, and accepting customers' clean containers for takeaway foods. You may see stickers on shop windows or signs in car parks to help you remember to use your own reusable bag.

Locals and visitors

Everyone is encouraged to do their bit by remembering to use reusable shopping bags, containers, drink bottles and coffee cups, and actively avoiding unnecessary plastic packaging.

Boomerang Bags

Boomerang Bags - reusable cloth bags shoppers can borrow and return - are available at a number of local supermarkets, shops, markets, schools and Bendigo Bank branches, and at Surf Coast Shire Civic Centre. Originating in Burleigh Heads, Queensland in 2013, Boomerang Bags were brought to the shire in 2015 by the Plastic Wise Torquay group.

Beach clean ups

A number of groups coordinate local beach cleanups that community members can participate in, including Cleaner CoastSurfrider Foundation Torquay and Clean Up Australia.


Remember to carry your reusable drink bottle when you're out and about in the Surf Coast Shire. Download the Choose Tap app to help find public drinking taps and fountains all around Victoria.

Take 3 for the Sea

The Take 3 campaign has a simple message: take three pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway... or anywhere! You might notice reminders of this on many of the metal bins in our townships.

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Challenge yourself and others to get involved!

Seal the Loop

Seal the Loop aims to prevent fishing line and other waste from causing harm to wildlife by providing brightly coloured bins in prime fishing locations. Coastcare and other community groups take responsibility for managing the bins in partnership with local land managers, including Surf Coast Shire Council and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee. Find out where bins are situated and how to get involved by visiting Seal the Loop.

Beeswax Wraps

Beeswax wraps make a great plastic-free alternative for wrapping muesli bars, slices, cut fruit and veggies.

See the below video on how to easily make your own, or download the step-by-step instructions(PDF, 496KB).


More information

Find out about local groups targeting plastics and litter on our Get Involved page.

If you are interested in organising your own local Plastic Wise initiative, please get in touch with our Sustainability team by email or phone 5261 0600.

Check out the facts about waste and recycling in the shire on our Waste and recycling page.