Reducing our consumption


By Maria Tarrant

According to Canstar Blue, Australians are spending $1956 per person, per year, on storage facilities for their belongings. Significantly, more than 25 per cent of those using these storage facilities could not remember what they had in the storage unit.

There are plenty of reasons why we may need storage facilities, perhaps because of downsizing or to store equipment only used periodically. Twenty-five per cent of users not remembering what was in storage suggests these items are not needed. Is this the end result of over or unnecessary consumption?

There are some things we can do to reduce the temptation to spend unnecessarily and consider the environmental impact of our spending.

One simple step is to use cash rather than cards. It makes you more aware of your spending habits. Have a list before you set out and don’t get distracted by other items not on the list. Shop locally, seek out second-hand goods and consider the packaging of goods you buy. Taking your own bags and containers to be filled and refusing plastic bags will help reduce our environmental footprint.    

We can all be more vigilant consumers, and our budgets and the environment can benefit.

Southbank Sustainability Group (SSG) approached the City of Melbourne about setting up a community garden, open to all Southbankers, so as to provide a space where we could grow some of the food we need and appreciate where it comes from.

The council made available the space at the Boyd Community Hub in Southbank. While the garden cannot support all the food needs of the community, it does provide an opportunity to get in touch with nature in our urban environment. Growing and harvesting locally also reduces the environmental impacts caused by the transportation and packaging often associated with our food.

In recent weeks we have been busy in the garden. Southbankers have enjoyed locally grown vegetables and herbs including potatoes, strawberries, leafy greens, parsley and coriander and we will see more in the summer months.

We also held the first of our events – a demonstration about propagating and caring for indoor plants was conducted by one of our SSG members. There was plenty of hands-on learning and participants took home cuttings to grow. We are planning for more events throughout the year.

The garden has benefited from the efforts of many locals, and it has been great to meet new Southbank residents at the garden in January. Anyone is welcome to drop by and join in the discussions and gardening. We have fortnightly Saturday meetups at 10am in the garden. The next date in February is the 18th.

About the group

Southbank Sustainability Group is a solutions-focused community group of Southbank residents working to bring positive change in sustainability practices. Reach us at [email protected] or

If you are interested in getting involved with Southbank Sustainability Group, send us an email or come to one of the upcoming meet-ups. •

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