Compostable Packaging

The University has moved to 100% compostable catering packaging, meaning that all packaging from food purchased on campus can go in the organic recycling bin.

Stack of compostable packaging on yellow background

All food packaging from campus eateries is 100% compostable, which means it has been certified to break down completely into non-toxic components within 180 days in a commercial composting facility. Packaging is a mixture of cardboard, cornstarch and bioplastic. The transition to compostable packaging demonstrates the University’s commitment to creating a more circular and sustainable campus, and ensures the University is compliant with SA packaging legislation.

Read more about the Compostables on Campus campaign.

Compostable catering packs for students

Students are supported in hosting single-use, plastic-free events with free compostable catering packs. Packs are pre-packed for 30 attendees based on common catering needs with cups, serviettes, and trays or bowls, and can be collected from the AUU in Hub Central and at Roseworthy College Hall.

To request a catering pack, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and send us an email with your event details at

Eligibility Criteria:

  • A current student at the University of Adelaide.
  • Hosting a student club/society event.
  • Hosting the event on campus.
  • Up to two packs per event.
  • Will ensure organic waste is recycled via a green organics bin on campus.  

If your event is larger (60+ attendees), please purchase compostable items from BioPack, Vegwear or other suppliers that can provide AS4736 or AS5810 certification.

Event check list

When planning your next on-campus event, please choose the plastic-free alternatives.

Single-use plastic item Plastic-free alternatives
Plastic straws Paper or rye straws
Water bottles

Jug of water and glassware

Jug of water and compostable cups

Water refill station with glassware or compostable cups

BYO water bottle and refill on campus

Plastic plates, bowls and cutlery

Bamboo, wood or compostable plates, bowls & cutlery



Plastic bags Paper or fabric bags
Balloons, tinsel and plastic glitter

Paper lanterns, bunting and garlands

Compostable plant-based confetti or petals

Promotional giveaways

Seed sticks or paper

Stationery made from recycled content

Reusable drink bottles, coffee cups or cutlery

Sustainable event tips

  • Ensure there is an organic recycling bin (plus signage) and other necessary bins nearby.
  • Use an online registrations to predict attendance and cater accordingly.
  • Supply washable, reusable crockery and cutlery, and cotton table cloths where practical.
  • Book local catering companies that prepare fresh, seasonal produce.
  • Design a menu that is 50% vegetarian and/or vegan. 
  • Reuse lanyards, badges, wristbands, signs and display materials where practical.
  • Provide attendees with information about teleconferencing, public transport and bike parking options. 
Australian Standards for Compostables

Look for Australian Standards when ordering packaging for your event.

Did you know?
  • Takeaway food and beverage packaging makes up more than a third of all litter on Australian beaches.
  • Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once - then thrown away.
  • At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into oceans each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck in the ocean every minute.
  • Plastics never break down, they just get smaller and turn into plastic dust which can leach into our water ways and food chain.
  • Plastic litter is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of sea creatures each year.

Learn more at the Replace the Waste website.