By Maggie Coggan | @MaggieCoggan
Illustration by Ellisha Kriesl | @ellishamk
Acústico Cafe, Union Street, Brunswick
This spacious café – conveniently located across the road from the RMIT Brunswick campus – is like walking into your arty cousin’s lounge room. Nothing quite matches, and it’s a little bit messy, but it’s still your favourite place to hang out. Not only is this place good for your tummy (the food is grand), but it’s good for the environment too *airhorns go off in distance*.
The walls are constructed out of recycled timber, and in the warmer months of the year, there is a little veggie patch out the front which you’ll find in the food you order.
Brotherhood of Saint Lawrence, Lygon Street, Brunswick
If you’re into the whole second hand clothing thing (which you should be, because it’s better for your wallet, and the planet), Brunswick is where it’s at. While Savers is held up as somewhat of a student mecca, the Brotherhood of Saint Lawrence op shop (which is just a couple of streets over) is not to be overlooked. They always have a hectic bargain bin with all kinds of weird shit in there (full glitter jumpsuit for $3.50? I think YES), and because they are a charity organisation, you can feel good about where your money is going.
Streat, various locations around the city
If you want to talk about sustainable cafés, these guys have got pretty much every base covered. Their food is – where possible – seasonal, organic and locally sourced, and they only use ‘bio-pack’ biodegradable food packaging. Tackling youth homelessness is also a big focus for the business. They are well known for equipping disadvantaged young people with hospitality skills, in order to give them some valuable workplace experience and a more sustainable future.
When you do pick up your coffee from these guys though, make sure you use a KeepCup – they’ll knock 50c off the price of your latte! Try to always use one, as disposable coffee cups are a major contributor to landfill. They can’t be recycled.
Luckily for those of you studying at the city campus, a brand new Streat café is coming to the Garden Building on Bowen Street, due to open in August. Find out what else they are up to @ www.streat.com.au.
School supplies: Beekeper Parade, Melbourne Central
Finding the right backpack for uni is kind of like finding your soulmate. Too far? I thought so too – until I found mine. The thing is, it’s harder than it looks. Uni backpacks not only need to look funky (because you go to RMIT, and literally everyone looks really cool all the time), they need to be large enough to hold all your shit. “But what about the environment?!”, someone screams from the distance. Good news! There is a rad little business making backpacks from old clothing and textiles before they go into landfill. The money from every backpack sold also helps fund their education projects around the world. Their store is conveniently located in Melbourne Central, so check them out there or at their website.
RMIT’s Bundoora campus cops a lot of flack. “It’s so far away,” city students whine, “it’s pretty much in the middle of the BUSH.” While this may be true for us from the city, it also means there are a couple more ways to have sustainable fun which don’t just involve eating or shopping. Everyone knows that the best way to eat sustainably and cheaply is by growing your own food. The Bundoora Park Community Garden has reasonably priced plots of land available for rent, so you can try your hand at being Peter Cundall in your spare time. If getting your hands dirty isn’t quite your thing, they have an entire farm within the park where you can actually handle the animals – pure, sustainable fun for everyone. Find out more @ www.bundoorapark.com.au