Green Initiatives in Port Douglas and Daintree

By Sharon Timms
Nov 1, 2019. Last updated Apr 15, 2021



Plastic Free Douglas is a group including the Douglas Shire Council, the Douglas Shire Sustainability Group, Low Isles Preservation Society and Tangaroa Blue with its aim to reduce the number of disposable plastic bags and other plastic products that end up as litter and landfill.

As a convenient material, plastics have taken over our lives and are consumed and discarded in great numbers. Plastic bags in the environment are detrimental to birds, marine animals and ecosystems, as well as human health and the economy. They never biodegrade, but over time break up into smaller and smaller fragments, and these tiny toxic plastic remnants from degraded items can impact entire ecosystems like coral reefs and the food chain of our seafood supply.

For retailers, Plastic Free Douglas is asking store owners and managers to lead by example by promoting alternatives to plastic shopping bags. If a business can commit to being disposable plastic bag free they are encouraged to become registered ambassadors and display their eco-credentials with the 'Proudly Plastic Bag Free' shop sticker and share plastic free tips in online promotions.

For individuals, Plastic Free Douglas is asking people to join the growing number of Australians who avoid disposable plastic products by bringing their own reusable bag, basket or cardboard boxes, using reusable water bottles and saying no to plastic straws.

Want to find out how you can eliminate single-use plastic during your time in port Douglas? Click here for some ideas.


As the old Chinese proverb says, ‘The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.’ The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest on earth, and Australia’s most diverse ecosystem; home to nearly 3000 species of vascular plant, 16 of the original 28 flowering plant lineages on the planet, and a huge array of wildlife, of which many species are endemic and unique - meaning they occur nowhere else on earth.

Daintree Life is a revegetation project that is focused on planting 500, 000 trees by 2030. By doing this, the project will add around 60 hectares of habitat to the Daintree National Park and adjacent areas, increase wildlife food resources, improve the visitor experience for tourism, create local employment opportunities, reduce slashing and herbicide use by our local council, and expand production at our local nurseries.

This World Heritage-listed environment is one of the main reasons why visitors from all over the world holiday here. The Douglas Shire is dedicated to nurturing and protecting this ‘living ark’.

For more information visit:


Carrot tops, egg shells and cabbage cut-off may seem pretty unimportant to most of us, but not to the good soil nerds from Green Food Australia. GFA is a local business committed to the daily processing of food waste from local restaurants to turn into powerful probiotics for farming soil, bringing the concept of circular economy into a truly tangible example. The process breaks down food waste by combining it with bio-accelerants and water in a tank. Then after a 28 day fermentation process, the product can be diluted and poured back into the earth, enhancing the biology of the soil and locking the carbon from all the food back into the ground.

At this stage, Green Food Australia work solely with Salsa Bar & Grill, however will be looking at expanding to other local restaurants as demand for this superfood for soil grows.


NightWings Rainforest is the ambitious project of re-establishing an ecosystem where there had once been rainforest to recreate a functional and resilient natural ecosystem for the future.

In addition to the project of restoring natural habitats and biodiverse areas from forests to coastal mangroves, NightWings is also a rehabilitation facility for rescued Flying Foxes and Microbats that are sick, injured or orphaned ensuring their safety and ability to continue playing their vital role in the Australian ecosystem.

In 2019 NightWings joined forces with Rainforest Rescue on a community tree planting project. Rainforest Rescue has been protecting and restoring rainforests in Australia and internationally since 1998 by providing opportunities for individuals and businesses to protect rainforests forever. They do this by purchasing and protecting the biodiversity of high conservation value rainforest through donations with a key presence in the Daintree Rainforest, and by re-establishing rainforest through planting, maintenance and restoration.

Want to see 3000 trees planted in under 3 minutes? Check out this clip from Martin Stringer Film & Photography to see just that:


Great Barrier Reef Legacy is an innovative leader in coral reef research expeditions, education and multi-media engagement. A not-for-profit social enterprise, Great Barrier Reef Legacy was created to address the urgent need to secure the long-term survival of the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs world-wide.

Through public, private and corporate funding, Great Barrier Reef Legacy brings together the best scientific minds, talented educators and communicators and inventive multimedia specialists creating positive and lasting outcomes for our environment.

The primary objectives of GBR Legacy are:

  • To drive innovative and collaborative marine research, and to deliver world class marine and citizen science
  • To share the passion and knowledge to empower people to act and lead.
  • To inspire hope and action through immersing people in adventure and discovery of this World Heritage listed area.

To find out more on how you can get involved, click here


The Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australian charity based in Port Douglas which focuses on marine health by organising regular community beach clean ups within the destination, including Four Mile Beach, Low Isles and Cape Kimberly.

Douglas Shire Council supports registered beach clean ups by waiving gate fees for waste delivered to transfer stations within the Shire and by issuing complementary ferry trips for volunteers attending clean ups over the Daintree River.

To find out how you can participate visit:


Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas gives animal lovers the chance to adopt their favourite Australian animals through an initiative called ‘Habitat Heroes’. By adopting an animal, individuals help the Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas preserve some of the most endangered and vulnerable species in the region.

There are seven different adoption levels available that are ideal for individuals, businesses looking to get involved in corporate social responsibility initiatives, and schools who are wanting to get their students involved.

For more information visit:


Boomerang Bags is a not-for-profit, grassroots community that started in Burleigh Heads in Queensland, and was picked up by a group of dedicated Douglas Shire locals committed to eliminating plastic bags in the community. Boomerang Bags engage communities in the development of reusable bags from preloved, recycled or reclaimed materials.

The bags are then made available to the Douglas Shire at markets, retailers, libraries, schools and businesses to provide sustainable alternatives to plastic, creating conversations about the importance of re-use, caring for our planet and each other and fostering sustainable behaviour.

For more information visit:


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