Southbank Sustainability Group in 2024

Southbank Sustainability Group in 2024

It has been lovely to hear from Southbank Sustainability Group (SSG) members that they were grateful the fortnightly gardening meetups kept going throughout the end-of-year period making participants feel engaged and part of a community. 

The new year started with a community call-out for unwanted gardening pots. We will be delivering those to Gardenworld where they will be reused or recycled. 

Over the past few weeks, some of us had the chance to visit Southbank cafes, sit in the sun and slurp yummy beverages. During those excursions, we were happy to see that some cafes, such as the Broad Bean, the Hoff cafe and House of Cards, were offering a 30- to 50-cent discount for all customers who bring along their own reusable cups. 

This brings us to the extensive use of disposable single use cups in the hospitality industry. It is estimated that Australians use around 1.8 billion single use cups per year and that approximately 90 per cent of those will become landfill. 

Surprisingly, even the single use cups that are marked as biodegradable, plant-based or compostable mostly go to landfill since they need to be delivered to an industrial composting facility in order to turn into compost and degrade. 

Most producers of single-use cups and most cafes and restaurants do not organise for this to happen so what is claimed cannot be delivered. Furthermore, single-use cups cannot be recycled as they are lined with a non-paper coating.


What you can do:

Try to bring your own reusable cup whenever you can.

Ask your cafe about a discount for bringing your own cup (this saves costs for the cafe and you).

Try to support cafes that engage in sustainable practices and compliment them for it.

If you use disposable single use cups, try to dispose of them in the special single use cup bins at the South Melbourne Market. 

If you own or work in a cafe or restaurant and would like to jump on the “sustainability bandwagon” and maybe get a mention in this column, go to: and and discover free council programs including a collection service for industrial compostable single-use cups and other packaging and a reusable coffee cup system.

About the group

SSG is an inclusive community group working to bring positive change in sustainability practices through hands-on action including gardening at the Southbank Community Gardens next to the Boyd Community Hub, coffee meet-ups and community events.

If you are interested in getting involved with SSG, come to one of the upcoming gardening meet-ups at the Boyd Community Centre on February 3 and 17 and March 2, 16 and 30.

If you want to get in touch to share your ideas or simply to make contact, send us a message via: [email protected] or

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