The Plastic Free Riverpark program works with riverfront food and beverage businesses, sporting groups and local governments to reduce single-use plastic packaging in and around the Swan and Canning rivers.

In its first two years, the program has supported 49 venues and 17 events to reduce 637,634 single-use plastic items from their organisations and supply chains with more than $95,000 in grant funding.

The Swan Canning Riverpark is socially, culturally and economically significant to the people of Perth. It is also home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including more than 80 bird species, 200 recorded species of fish, and 20 – 25 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins.

Plastic pollution has the potential to pose a major risk to the Swan Canning Riverpark. Wildlife can ingest or become entangled in plastic debris. Plastics washing up on foreshores can affect root growth of flora and visitor amenity. Remaining debris can impact tourism, block drainage infrastructure, and break up into harmful microplastics.

The Plastic Free Riverpark program supports Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics legislation which has introduced regulations to ban selected single-use plastic items.

Change takes time but small actions from Perth’s businesses, local governments, residents, and recreational user groups can make big inroads towards a healthier Riverpark for all.

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Reducing single-use plastic from riverfront businesses and venues

Plastic Free Riverpark program participant, East Fremantle Yacht Club. Photo – Lisa Novoradovskaya, WA Plastic Free

Riverfront cafes, restaurants, pubs, yacht clubs and social cruise vessels operating within 1km of the shoreline can access small grants of up to $1,000 along with specialist advice to transition away from single-use plastic packaging in venues and organisations.

The Plastic Free Riverpark grant funding assists businesses to adopt reusable alternatives to single-use plastic and can support projects including purchasing reusable serveware, water refill stations, or running a behaviour change initiative.

$15,000 of funding is available via round three, which opened on Monday 21 August 2023. Applicants are encouraged to read the guidelines and submit an application form in advance of the closing date on Friday 27 October 2023.

The Plastic Free Riverpark program has already assisted 49 venues to remove 569,921 single-use plastic items from their organisations.

Supporting plastic free community events

City of Canning community members choose to reuse at Shelley Foreshore Family Fun Day

The Plastic Free Riverpark program supports riverfront local governments and event organisers to eliminate single-use plastic products at foreshore community events. Working with vendors to source reusable alternatives to packaging, implementing free water refill stations and clearly marking waste stations can help to significantly reduce plastic pollution from these important cultural and sporting gatherings.

Up to $20,000 of funding is available via round three, which opened on Monday 28 August 2023. Applicants are encouraged to read the guidelines and submit an application form in advance of the closing date on Friday 8 December 2023.

The Plastic Free Riverpark program has already assisted foreshore events to provide 67,713 reusable serveware alternatives to single-use plastic items as part of their event programs.

Measuring plastics in the Riverpark

Plastic pollution at Jenalup Beach

In 2021, an assessment of 38 shoreline sites across the Swan Canning Riverpark revealed plastic pollution is prevalent in the system. This work was led by DBCA’s Rivers and Estuaries Science Program (RES), in partnership with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).

The Plastic Free Riverpark program has worked with Curtin University and RES to measure plastic debris entering the Riverpark via priority drain locations.

Monitoring is being conducted to fill gaps in knowledge and identify priority locations where plastic intervention technologies can be installed in partnership with relevant land managers, including local governments.

These technologies could include rubbish sorting racks, gross pollutant traps and customised bins which assist local riverfront governments to collect, measure and remove plastic debris.

Get involved

Mobile vendor serves juice in a reusable cup

Choose to reuse for the Riverpark. If you’re planning a trip down to the foreshore, pack a reusable coffee cup, refillable water bottle, bag and container, or take some time to dine in at a venue rather than takeaway. Choosing reusable alternatives helps to reduce waste as well as encourage others to follow your lead. Avoid disposable options to help reduce single-use plastic packaging entering the Swan Canning Riverpark.

If you do see litter and it’s safe to pick it up, dispose of it in a bin with a lid or take it home to your household bin.

Are you a riverfront food and beverage business wanting to make a difference?

Contact for more information.

Contact us

Zoe Beeson

Project Officer – Plastic Free Riverpark program


Phone: 9278 0985

Mobile: 0467 538 518

Plastic Free Riverpark program partners