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Waste free tips for out & about

Whether you’re grabbing a bite on the go over the weekend; needing coffee before starting your work day; or want to cave into those hump day hurdles where you just don’t feel like cooking, we’ve rounded up tips and tricks to keep you waste free when on the go.


At the markets

Waste free habits are often best formed with convenience in mind.


Our tip: keep a bag filled with cups, cutlery, plates and bowls in your car (or bike basket) for your weekend market rituals. That way, you’ll never be without.

Also keep a tea towel in there to wrap the dirty plates. Often there’s a wash station about for you to rinse them off first.


For our much-loved Territory produce, you’ll need a few material produce bags. If you can do a basic stitch, grab some material and sew some up. Alternatively, you can buy some made from recycled materials.


Most stallholders we’ve spoken to welcome the use of reusable containers, so you don’t have to worry about any awkward conversations.


In February 2018, we conducted a waste audit at Parap Markets. In just one market day (6 hours), 1105.67 kilograms of waste was collected. We counted 1,176 coffee and smoothie cups, 1,062 coffee cup lids, 1,100 plastic food containers, 1,669 pieces of cutlery, 987 straws. Each of these could easily be avoided with BYO alternatives.

To help you out, here’s the capacity of some common market containers:









Contact us if you want to have a chat about some other ways you can go waste free.


Plastic free shopping

A lightweight scrunchable bag is great to have in your handbag at all times for any unplanned or last minute buys (be it a new dress, or just the groceries). For planned trips, keep your shopping and produce bags in the boot of your car. If you’re one to remember you left your bags in the car once you’re at the checkout, add ‘shopping bags’ to the top of your grocery list so you can’t miss it.


We all get those hump day “I don’t feel like cooking” moments. And hey, you deserve it! But why not make it a night out, and dine in to save on waste? Top tip is to bring a container with you, in case you can’t finish it all in one go.


But when you just want to lounge about at home, just let the store know that you’ll be bringing your own container, and just get there a couple of minutes earlier to hand them over. For the work week, keep some spare containers in the office when you’re getting lunch to go. There are some great local restaurants leading the way in this space, with the likes of Saffron offering a discount if you BYO. Take a look at for businesses that have registered their support.


There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from using your own clean container. The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code does not place any legislative requirements that would prevent a business from using a container provided by a customer to store or package food purchased. If a business has a policy to not accept customer containers for the storage of food purchased, then that is a business decision rather than a restraint due to legislation.

Further, there is no provision under the Act or the Code that prevents a business from allowing a customer to take leftovers from a restaurant in their own containers.


Coffee cravings. They’re inevitable, but usually you know when they’re going to hit. Invest in a couple of reusable cups/mugs, one for the workplace, one for your market bag and one for the car on weekends. There are so many cafes that offer a discount when you BYO cup, take a look at for the full list.

For juices, cocktails and cocktails, keep a reusable straw in your bag and proudly say "no thanks" to the plastic straw. There are a few venues on board with The Last Straw movement, but still huge areas of opportunity for others.


When implementing a waste-free lifestyle, remember that you don’t have to buy everything new. Be sure to look to what you have at home already. If you need some extra bits and pieces, here are some of our fav local suppliers to get waste free goodies:


  • Waste Free NT - Parap Market Stall (every fortnight)

  • Greenies - Rapid Creek

  • Greenies and Love Thy Juice - Darwin CBD

  • Local cafes

Also don't forget you can be an advocate anytime. Be sure to let venues know you'd like to see them go single-use plastic free to get the conversation started.

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