Leading Australian precincts to pilot single-use plastics initiative

PERTH, 7 July 2021 —  Two leading Australian precincts, Brookfield Place Perth and Brookfield Place Sydney, will head a national pilot by Brookfield Properties to avoid, reduce or replace single use plastics in their supply chains.

The pilot, Breaking the Plastic Habit, is already garnering big rewards with the two Brookfield Place assets set to avoid approximately 1 million single use plastics in their common areas – or base buildings – per year.

Launched to coincide with this year’s kick-off of the global Plastic Free July movement, in partnership with the Plastic Free Foundation, Breaking the Plastic Habit is a program of advocacy and action aimed at avoiding single use plastics where possible.

Brookfield Properties ESG and Innovation Manager, Danny De Sousa, said the company is proud to be moving ahead of legislation and in line with community expectations.

“Our mantra is that this is a journey not a destination,” Mr. De Sousa said.

“Single use plastics are everywhere and sometimes unavoidable. By committing ourselves to break the plastic habit, we are signaling to the market that our journey has begun. Importantly, we are also signaling to our corporate tenants, our retailers and our communities that we are prepared to lead this change.

“Before bringing this pilot to our Brookfield Place assets, we wanted to make sure our journey began at home. Since January this year, Brookfield has identified, removed, replaced and/or avoided more than 25 single use plastic products in our offices across Australia. This will help us avoid close to 100,000 single use plastic items in just 12 months.”

Products removed include condiment and snack packaging, wrapped biscuits and lollies, plastic food wrap, and water bottles. Discussions with suppliers have also led to newspapers, flowers and catering being delivered without plastic wrapping.

WA State Manager for Brookfield Properties, Alison Beamish, said the program shone a light on the harmful impacts of single use plastics on the environment while creating a positive advocacy platform to encourage businesses and individuals to consider alternatives to single use plastics.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from our retailers at Brookfield Place Perth to this program who – by removing a range of single use plastics from their daily offer – will this year avoid over 700,000 single use plastics being used. That’s a huge saving for our environment and we’re only just getting started.”

Products removed include plastic straws, cutlery, plates, bowls and bags, while some retailers have begun to source alternative, environmentally friendlier food packaging. Brookfield Place Perth has also installed a water refill station in the café court so customers can refill their reusables and avoid single use plastic bottles and a reverse vending machine in the precinct to proactively recycle single use drink containers that are unable to be avoided.

“We have also audited our base building here at Brookfield Place Perth to identify avoidable single use plastics. As a result, we have replaced or removed a further six products from our base building areas which we estimate will result in the avoidance of more than 500,000 items of single use plastics in the first year of our program.” Ms. Beamish said.

Plastic Free July Founder, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, said Brookfield Properties is setting a powerful example for others to follow.

“By looking at the single-use plastics in their own operations and supply chains, and engaging their employees and stakeholders on the journey, they are turning their concern into action and will inspire others to be part of the solution,” Ms. Prince-Ruiz said.

“I’m very proud of how Plastic Free July has helped millions of people around the world to make a difference and I know that as Brookfield Properties shares the stories from its Brookfield Place pilots, including their challenges and solutions, it will not only reduce plastic waste in this precinct but encourage others to do so.”

Australia consumes over one million tonnes of single use plastics every year[1], with approximately 130,000 tonnes of plastic leaking into the marine environment from Australia alone,[2] breaking up into harmful microplastics.

Key facts

  • Brookfield Properties is on track to avoid close to 100,000 items of single use plastics from its own offices nationally in 2021
  • Brookfield Place Perth is on track to avoid over 500,000 items of single use plastics from its base building in the next 12 months
  • Brookfield Place Perth retailers are avoiding 700,000 single use plastics per year
  • Brookfield Place Sydney is on track to avoid over 450,000 items of single use plastics from its base building in the next 12 months

[1] Source: World Wide Fund for Nature and Boston Consulting

[2] Source: World Wide Fund for Nature and Boston Consulting.