This guide covers Buller district only. For other parts of the West Coast Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in the West Coast Region homepage.
We love it when you share our guides with others – please do so by sharing the link to our website, rather than copying and pasting our work and reproducing it elsewhere.
NB: All our regional guides cover as many low-waste options as we could find for:
- Kitchen and food packaging
- Cleaning products
- Bathroom products
Scroll down to view each category.
At the end of the regional homepage, we also list community groups, council services and ideas for tricky waste streams for the entire West Coast Region, so make sure you check that out too!
FOOD OPTIONS (I.E. STORES THAT OFFER LOOSE ITEMS WHICH YOU CAN PUT, UNPACKAGED, INTO YOUR OWN BYO BAGS/CONTAINERS)
Lots of pantry staples – from flours, grains and rice, through to condiments, spices, legumes, nuts, seeds and liquid foods – usually come in single-use packets. Here, we list shops that stock all manner of pantry foods loose in bulk bins (or which at least have an option for you to avoid unnecessary packaging), so that you can put these ingredients straight into your own bags, jars, containers and bottles, and skip the packaging!
Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport – a totally beautiful organic store run by thoroughly committed owners that is almost entirely packaging-free. A great range of organic dried foods in bulk bins/unpackaged (including, but not limited to – nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, legumes, flours, and dried fruit), an excellent range of herbs and spices, and baking goods like food-grade baking soda. You can also get refills of liquid foods, such as sunflower oil, olive oil and tamari. The store also runs a return system for other liquid foods that come in glass jars (such as coconut oil, honey, peanut butter, or locally-made miso) – simply bring your empty jar back and Kominaya will sterilise and reuse it – yay! For those living further afield from Westport (i.e. places like Granity or Karamea), you can order your wholefoods directly from Kominaya Organics and these will be delivered to you plastic-free. Note, this is not a strictly zero waste option because brown paper bags are used rather than a refill system in BYO bags/containers, but it might be possible to ask the owners if you could trial a refill/reuse system for your orders, particularly if you are based in Karamea because the deliveries just go out on the bus, so you might be able to arrange a swap system where you send a box of empty glass jars down to Kominaya on the bus, and they send them back to you the next day filled up with your order!
Health 2000, 112a Palmerston Street, Westport – stocks some unpackaged items which you can put into BYO bags/containers, such as whole nutmeg, vanilla pods, and licorice sticks.
- Scarlett & Co, 25 Palmerston Street, Westport – lots of beautiful jams and preserves are made here, and when you’ve emptied the jar of its contents, you can return the jar and lid to Scarlett & Co for a 50c refund or discount off your next purchase, and Scarlett & Co wash, sterilise and reuse the jars!
- Supermarkets – most major supermarkets have well stocked bulk bin/pick and mix sections with wholefoods (BYO bags for these), including New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport. However they’re pretty expensive, often more so than equivalent ingredients in packets (bah!), and more so than the bulk bins at places like Kominaya Organics.
Places that sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods and seafood, who are happy for you to BYO container to put the goods in.
- Unpackaged live mussels – New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport stocks unpackaged live mussels at a self-serve counter. We put them straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO containers rather than the plastic bags the stores usually provide.
- Try your luck with BYO containers at the supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more – all unpackaged. Some supermarkets will allow you to BYO container for these goods, while others won’t. It can be hit and miss, often depending on the staff member you talk to. For example, New World and PAK’nSAVE supermarkets have a flexible franchise model which means they can usually make their own in store decisions about whether to allow BYO containers or not, whereas pretty much any Countdown will not accept BYO containers. It’s always worth asking though! New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport has a decent deli section and given the lack of a butcher or fishmonger in town, it’d be most helpful if the supermarket would be willing to accept BYO containers for unpackaged cuts of meat and seafood.
The following stores bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods (some things in some of these stores might be pre-packed or wrapped in cling film, just avoid those things!). So all you need to do is BYO bag to put the bread/bakery goods into. Some places will bag up their bread later in the day, so you want to get in there early enough before they do that (i.e. before 1pm).
The Broadway Tearooms & Bakery, 31 Broadway, Reefton – just ask in advance about getting a loaf of bread into your own bag as it is otherwise prepackaged.
- Most supermarkets (and even some Four Squares) stock unpackaged bread, bread rolls and/or bakery goods in their bakery section. New World Westport has a decent range – just pop them into your own bags!
Markets and other low-waste goodies you might not have thought of
- Fresh2U Organic Food Delivery – organic, Tasman-grown fruit + vege boxes with NO packaging delivered to your door, anywhere on the West Coast in an upcycled cardboard box! The odd item might occasionally come in plastic, if you don’t want this, simply say that you want a 100% plastic-free/packaging-free box when you set up your order and the business owner and packer, Lucy, will ensure no plastic gets in your box. If you’re looking for local, hassle-free organic produce that is zero waste, Fresh2U is absolutely one to check out!
- Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged and have them put in BYO bags/containers. There are a few places in Wesport that provide this option: UB2 Cafe, 92 Palmerston Street, Westport roasts their own beans and the owner will happily put these directly into your own bags/containers without any packaging. Otherwise, you can get unpackaged Kawatiri Coffee beans put into BYO bags/containers at Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport; or unpackaged coffee beans/ground by Underground Coffee Company put into BYO bags/containers at Whanake Gallery & Espresso Bar, 173 Palmerston Street, Westport. In Reefton, The Broadway Tearooms & Bakery, 31 Broadway, will happily put coffee beans from their bulk coffee bags into your own container. Though a bit off the beaten track, if you’re nearby the Kawatiri Coffee Roastery at Virgin Flat Road, Cape Foulwind then the owners will happily put their unpackaged, freshly roasted beans into a BYO container – but it’s worth contacting the roaster in advance if you plan to drop in to ensure that they will be around.
- Tea – most tea bags have plastic in them, so we encourage people to drink loose leaf teas. We’re always on the lookout for loose leaf teas that you can get unpackaged. You can get lots of loose leaf teas at Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport.
- Beer/alcohol – look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Get locally brewed beer, cider, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic ginger beer on tap at West Coast Brewery, 10 Lyndhurst Street, Westport. You can get commercial beer on tap at Liquorland Westport, 207 Palmerston Street, Westport. Or else, most liquor stores do ‘swappa crates’ of beer, which can be returned (when the bottles are empty) so that the bottles can then be sterilised and reused (a better outcome for glass bottles than recycling because reusing the same bottle over and over requires way less energy and resources than recycling).
- Milk – unfortunately there aren’t many options for unpackaged milk in Buller District, unless you live in Karamea, in which case, track down Peter Curry, from whom you can purchase fresh milk that you can put into BYO bottles/pails.
KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES
Reusable drinking vessels (cups and water bottles)
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at Heritage Giftworld, 176 Palmerston Street, Westport, Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre, 4294 Coast Road, Punakaiki, and Pancake Rocks Cafe, 4300 Coast Road, Punakaiki.
- Find the Keep Cup brand at Scarlett & Co, 25 Palmerston Street, Westport and The Broadway Tearooms & Bakery, 31 Broadway, Reefton.
- Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at The Soapbox, 114 Palmerston Street, Westport and Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre, 4294 Coast Road, Punakaiki.
Reusable bags (shopping bags, produce bags and bulk bin bags)
Plastic shopping bags are a menace, but so too are those plastic produce bags for fruit and vege or the plastic bags often offered alongside bulk bins at bulk stores. You can avoid them by bringing your own bags or buying a set of reusable produce bags. You can get Eco Bag organic cotton string and produce bags at SuperValue Reefton, 65 Broadway, Reefton.
- Beeswax wrap – the only place we found where you can buy beeswax wraps is at Torea Gallery & Craft Shop, State Highway 67, Granity. However, get yourself natural fibre fabric (e.g. cotton) and unpackaged beeswax and you can make your own! Keep an eye out at secondhand stores and fabric stores for off-cuts of cotton, or see if you can get some offcuts of natural fibre fabric from Buller Fabric & Fibre, 180 Palmerston Street, Westport. Get unpackaged beeswax at Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport. If you’re in Karamea, look out for beeswax wrap making workshops run by the Karamea Community Arts Council.
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport, and the Go Bamboo wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) – as they are made only of bamboo and plant fibre, they’re home compostable should they ever wear down – are stocked at Four Square Karamea, 103 Bridge Street, Karamea, The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport and Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport.
We also encourage people to move away from using dishclothes, sponges and bench wipes made out of synthetic material (as these leach microfibres and they’re also destined for landfill when they wear down) and to use natural fibre cloths instead:
- Get the Budget brand 100% cotton dishcloths at New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport, Four Square Reefton, 47 Broadway, Reefton and SuperValue Reefton, 65 Broadway, Reefton.
- For something fancy, find the 100% cotton Bianca Lorenne cloths at The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport.
- If you’re looking for new pegs that aren’t plastic, check out Go Bamboo pegs (bamboo with a metal spring mechanism). You can find these at Four Square Karamea, 103 Bridge Street, Karamea; FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport; and Four Square Reefton, 47 Broadway, Reefton.
- Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powder brands both come in a cardboard box with no inner plastic lining, and the scoop is also made of cardboard. You can get one or the other of these at FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport and New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport.
- Health 2000, 112a Palmerston Street, Westport – stocks bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here).
These are a great alternative to plastic toothbrushes because they have wooden, home compostable handles (though bristles are still plastic and need to be removed from the handle and put in a rubbish bin). You’ll find the Go Bamboo brand at:
- Four Square Karamea, 103 Bridge Street, Karamea
- Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport
- FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport
- The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport
- Four Square Reefton, 47 Broadway, Reefton
Unpackaged bars of Soap
It’s relatively easy to get soap without packaging in Buller. The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- The Soapbox, 114 Palmerston Street, Westport – lots of variety (Indulgence Soap, Buckley & Phillips Aromatics, Inga Ford, Spa and in house made).
- Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport – locally made by Cindy Soap.
- The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport
- Pancake Rocks Cafe, 4300 Coast Road, Punakaiki
Bars for Shampoo/Shaving/Deodorant/Moisturiser – We’d encourage you to get your everyday toiletries – from shampoo through to shaving soap – in bar form, which means you totally avoid the plastic/aluminium bottles that liquid products usually come in! You can get shampoo and skin lotion bars by Blue Spur Milk & Honey from The Soapbox, 114 Palmerston Street, Westport.
Avoid plastic shavers that are designed to be disposable and go for 100% metal razors that will last you decades and only require the 100% metal and recyclable blades to be replaced (or sharpened with a leather strop!), and remember to use a bar of shaving soap instead of shaving foam that comes in an aerosol can – you’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. You can buy razors and replacement blades from NZ Barber Shed, 182 Palmerston Street, Westport. Get shaving brushes from Buller Pharmacy, 168 Palmerston Street, Westport.
- Fox River Bath Co makes a range of cosmetic products, and many of the containers can be returned to the company for reuse/refill. The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport stocks a range of their products and are happy to be a drop off point for their empty jars/containers.
- Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds. Get them from Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport and FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport.
- Toilet Paper – Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport stocks Greencane toilet paper (which comes in fully home compostable packaging)
- Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
- You can also get baking soda in bulk bins, and unpackaged beeswax from Kominaya Organics, 181/187 Palmerston Street, Westport.