Zero Waste in Central Otago District

Zero Waste in Central Otago District

This guide covers Central Otago District only. For other parts of the Otago Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in Otago homepage.


.

.

Our heartfelt gratitude to Sugarcube Studios, the creators of EcoSpot, for bringing our guides to life – designing a map for us and creating such joyful imagery to go with it!


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. These shops stock all manner of pantry foods loose in bulk bins (or operate return & refill systems for their packaging), allowing you to put these goods straight into your own bags, jars, containers and bottles, and skip the packaging!

  • Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk/unpackaged (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, legumes, flours, dried fruit, pasta, and baking goods like baking soda and baking powder), a range of spices, sweets, treats and snacks, and liquid foods like vinegars, oils, honey, syrups etc.  They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! All Bin Inns across the country offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers.
  • Sushi Katsu, 3 Murray Terrace, Cromwell – not just a sushi shop… the owner, who also runs Queenstown Wholefoods, is expanding to provide organic produce and other products too – they could easily set up a selection of bulk bins like they have in Queenstown! Be sure to let them know if you’d be keen for bulk food options…
  • Supermarkets – most supermarkets have bulk bin/pick and mix sections with wholefoods, usually nuts, snacks and sweets (BYO bags for these). However they’re pretty expensive, often more so than equivalent ingredients in packets (bah!), and generally pricier than the bulk bins at Bin Inn. But look out for when things in the bulk bin aisle in supermarkets are on special because sometimes you can get a good deal!


The following shops sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods and will happily put these straight into a BYO container – woohoo!

  • The Fridge Butchery Delicatessen Cromwell, 9 The Mall, Cromwell – sells unpackaged meat and cheese off the wheel through the deli cabinet, just BYO container to have it put into!
  • FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell – get cold meats, salads and pies/pastries into BYO containers here
  • Sausage Alley, 27 Sunderland Street, Clyde – only open Fridays 8am-5pm. We didn’t get there when it was open, so hopefully they have their meats, sausages and small goods unpackaged so you can BYO container – if not, just ask!
  • Unpackaged live mussels – there are a few stores around town that stock unpackaged live mussels at self-serve counters. We put them straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO containers rather than the plastic bags the stores usually provide. You can find unpackaged live mussels at New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and New World Cromwell, 2 Murray Terrace, Cromwell.
  • Supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering unpackaged meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more. All Countdown supermarkets officially allow you to BYO container for these goods! Most Fresh Choice supermarkets do too. Watch this space for when New World and PAK’nSAVE extends this practice to the South Island also…


The following stores bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods (in some of these stores some items might be pre-packed or wrapped in cling film, just avoid those things!). Simply BYO bread 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 before they do that (i.e. before 1pm).

  • The Courthouse Café, 8 Centennial Ave, Alexandra – bakes and sells some beautiful bread in-store which you can get without packaging, just BYO bag!
  • Unpackaged bread is also available at the Alexandra Friday Food and Produce Market (see below).
  • Most supermarkets (and even some Four Squares) stock unpackaged bread, bread rolls and/or bakery goods in their bakery section – just pop them into your BYO bags!


  • Markets – No two ways about it, if you want a good source of unpackaged (often locally grown) produce, markets are the place to go! At most markets you can meet the grower/producer face-to-face, making them an ideal place to start fruitful conversations about waste-free food, and to develop relationships and systems that enable you to get your favourite fruit, vege and preserves without the packaging. At markets you may also find local producers of pre-made foods like tofu, preserves and sauces etc. Have a chat to see if you can leave containers with the stall holders for them to fill with your desired product for you to pick up from them the following week, or if the stallholder uses glass jars for packaging, ask whether they will take their empty glass jars back for sterilisation and reuse. Often the answer is yes! Check out the Alexandra Friday Food and Produce Market (every Friday from 10-2 at Pioneer Park, Alexandra) or Cromwell Farmers’ and Craft Market, Cromwell Heritage Precinct (9am-1pm, every Sunday from Labour Weekend through to mid-April).
  • Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s 1.5kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable when they do wear out. Trade Aid’s coconut oil is one of the few on the market that does not have a plastic seal around the lid. You can get the sugar at New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and New World Cromwell, 2 Murray Terrace, Cromwell.

 


Look out for places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged, and bring your own bag and container to fill. Going direct to coffee roasters is the best option, but you can also look out for bulk dispensers of unpackaged coffee in other stores (which usually have in-store grinders also). Here are the spots we found that offer these options:


We avoid teabags as most have plastic in them, which we don’t want in our tea or our soil. Using loose leaf tea is an easy way to get around this. The trick is to find somewhere that sells loose leaf tea packaging-free, so you can put the leaves straight into BYO jars/containers! You’ll find loose tea leaves in bulk dispensers at:

  • Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra
  • Bell‘s loose leaf tea is packaged only in paper and cardboard and is readily available in most supermarkets, Four Squares and dairies.


Sourcing cow’s milk without the plastic bottles or non-dairy milk without the dreaded Tetra-pak is no mean feat! We’ve found the following options:

  • Return & Refill glass bottle scheme – Windy Ridge sells milk in reusable glass bottles at Thrive, 43 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; Night ‘n Day Alexandra, 120 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Clyde Dairy & Takeaway, 18 Sunderland Street, Clyde; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; The Fridge Butchery Delicatessen Cromwell, 9 The Mall, Cromwell; Night ‘n Day Cromwell, 35 Jollys Road, Cromwell; SuperValue Roxburgh, 93 Scotland Street, Roxburgh; and Benger Garden Cafe, 5095 State Highway 8, Ettrick
    • How does the system work? The first time you buy a bottle of milk, you pay a little extra to cover the cost of the bottle and to ensure that you return it when you’re done. Return empty bottles to any stockist of the milk, and exchange it for a full bottle for only the price of the milk (or else get your deposit back). The empties are then returned to Windy Ridge for sterilisation and reuse – so the bottles just go around and around – true zero waste!
  • Milk powder in a bulk bin – available at Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street.


Look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Breweries are awesome, but lots of liquor stores offer this option too! We found beer on tap at:

Also, don’t forget that most liquor stores do ‘swappa crates’ of beer – i.e. crates of twelve 745ml bottles of classic NZ beer (e.g. Lion Red/Brown, Speights, Tui, Export Gold etc.) which can be returned (when the bottles are empty) and are then sent back to the brewery for sterilisation and refill (a better outcome for glass bottles than recycling because reusing the same bottle over and over requires way less energy and resources than recycling).


  • Drinking chocolate/cocoa – available in bulk bins at Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street.


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 Wrapt Gifts & Decor, 66 Centennial Ave, Alexandra (metal and glass); Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra (metal); Unichem Alexandra, 4-6 Centennial Ave, Alexandra (metal); Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; Zen Interiors & Lifestyle Store, Mackinlay Lane, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell; Sequoia Finewares, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; Forage Information Centre & Cafe, 6 Barry Ave, Cromwell; 103 The Store, 103 Scotland Street, Roxburgh; and Ranfurly i-SITE, 3 Charlemont Street East, Ranfurly

There are lots of options for reusable takeaway coffee cups:

  • Cromwell is running the CupCycling initiative, so ask about this when you’re next at a cafe in Cromwell!
  • Get glass cup brand like the Sol and Joco brand at Tin Goose Cafe, 22 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Wrapt Gifts & Decor, 66 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; and 103 The Store, 103 Scotland Street, Roxburgh.
  • Reusable plastic cups, such as NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup and Ideal Cup, are available at at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Nom Nom, 23 Holloway Street, Clyde; Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell; Forage Information Centre & Cafe, 6 Barry Ave, Cromwell; Fantail Kitchen and Larder, 6 Pery Street, Ranfurly; and Four Square Maniototo, 1/3 Pery Street, Ranfurly
  • Reusable ceramic cups are stocked at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell.
  • Stainless steel cups by brands like Caye Life, Moana Road and Fressko are sold at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Wrapt Gifts & Decor, 66 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Sequoia Finewares, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell; and Feinerman’s, 109 Scotland Street, Roxburgh.
  • Cups made from a bamboo fibre composite material are stocked at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell; Lake Dunstan Pharmacy, 2A The Mall, Cromwell; and FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell

Reusable Bags (Shopping Bags, Produce Bags and Bulk Bin Bags)

Now plastic shopping bags are banned, make sure you’ve got a decent set of reusable bags – including ones to replace those pesky plastic produce bags for fruit and vege or the plastic bags often offered alongside bulk bins at bulk stores, which are still on offer. You can avoid them by bringing your own bags, or else you can buy them too. You can get 100% organic cotton produce, bulk bin and/or string shopping bags at New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell; and New World Cromwell, 2 Murray Terrace, Cromwell

Reusable straws

Say “no straw thanks” next time you order a drink out and either use your mouth to drink, or get yourself a reusable metal straw instead. If you’re keen on a reusable metal straw, you can get them from Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Touch Yarns, 19 Sunderland Street, Clyde; Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; Sequoia Finewares, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell; Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell; Feinerman’s, 109 Scotland Street, Roxburgh; and Four Square Maniototo, 1/3 Pery Street, Ranfurly.

Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil

  • Beeswax wrap 
    • Purchase at – Thrive, 43 Tarbert Street, Alexandra (the Honeywrap brand); Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell; Freeway Orchard, 180 State Highway 8B, Cromwell (although this one is wrapped in plastic); Feinerman’s, 109 Scotland Street, Roxburgh; and Ranfurly Art Deco Gallery, 1 Charlemont Street East, Ranfurly.
    • DIY (waaaay cheaper!) – you just need natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. Touch Yarns19 Sunderland Street, Clyde is a great spot to get offcuts/discounted cotton fabric with pretty patterns, or keep a look out in second hand stores. Freeway Orchard, 180 State Highway 8B, Cromwell, sells unpackaged beeswax.
  • Reusable sandwich bags – get reusable sandwich pouches from Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; and Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell
  • Silicone pot/bowlcovers – a good option for storing leftovers in a bowl (other than just putting a plate on top!) or as an alternative to tin foil for roasting (as the covers can withstand temperatures of up to 220 degrees and will also keep hot food warm when transporting). You can buy these at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell
  • Silicone freezer bags – reusable bags for freezing meat and other food are available at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell


Refills of cleaning products

The following stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers!

  • Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra 

Low-waste dishwashing

We 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.

  • If you’re after something a bit more like a sponge/absorbent cloth, check out the Toodles Noodles cloths, which are 100% cotton and cellulose, so home compostable when they wear out. You can get these at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell
  • Get cheap 100% cotton dishcloths at New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave; Four Square Clyde, 5 Fraser Street, Clyde; and New World Cromwell, 2 Murray Terrace, Cromwell.
  • You can get the fancy Bianca Lorenne 100% cotton cloths at Sequoia Finewares, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell; and Touch Yarns, 19 Sunderland Street, Clyde.
  • Locally knitted 100% cotton dishcloths are available at Gumnut Creations, Scotland Street, Roxburgh.
  • If you’re after a coarser scrubby, you can get 100% coconut fibre coarse scrubbies by Safix from Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra.

Laundry

  • Eco Planet and Earthwise 1kg laundry powder both come in a cardboard box with no inner plastic lining, and Eco Planet’s scoop is made of cardboard while Earthwise has no scoop at all. Find both at New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; or just Earthwise at Four Square Alexandra, 91 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; New World Cromwell, 2 Murray Terrace, Cromwell; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; and SuperValue Roxburgh, 93 Scotland Street, Roxburgh.
  • Alternatives to plastic pegs – get bamboo clothes pegs from Thrive, 43 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; and Feinerman’s, 109 Scotland Street, Roxburgh. Or stainless steel pegs at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra.

Ingredients for DIY cleaning products

  • Baking soda and washing soda – available unpackaged in bulk bins/refills at Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra
  • Vinegar – available unpackaged in bulk bins/refills at Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra (white vinegar and apple cider vinegar).


Bamboo toothbrushes

Bamboo toothbrushes 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 your rubbish bin). You can get bamboo toothbrushes at Thrive, 43 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave; Unichem Alexandra, 4-6 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Alexandra Pharmacy, 60 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Splurge/Touch Yarns, 19 Sunderland Street, Clyde; New World Cromwell, 2 Murray Terrace, Cromwell; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell; Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell; Lake Dunstan Pharmacy, 2A The Mall, Cromwell; Sushi Katsu, 3 Murray Terrace, Cromwell; Feinerman’s, 109 Scotland Street, Roxburgh; and SuperValue Roxburgh, 93 Scotland Street, Roxburgh.

Unpackaged Bars of Soap

It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Central Otago. The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:

  • Thrive, 43 Tarbert Street, Alexandra (including Ecostore bars)
  • Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra
  • Wrapt Gifts & Decor, 66 Centennial Ave, Alexandra
  • Ula, 5 Limerick Street, Alexandra
  • Alexandra Pharmacy, 60 Centennial Ave, Alexandra
  • Folklore Clyde, 19 Holloway Street, Clyde (made in-store)
  • The Tent House, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell
  • Zen Interiors & Lifestyle Store, Mackinlay Lane, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell
  • Creative Framing and Gifts, 25 The Mall, Cromwell
  • Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell.

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!

  • The Ethique range is popular and includes shampoo bars, conditioner bars, shaving bars, deodorant bars, moisturiser bars, etc. (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging). You can find them at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging), and Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell.
  • Get locally made shampoo bars from The Tent House, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell
  • Find Earth Love shampoo, face and body soap bars at Paper Plus Alexandra64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; and Paper Plus Cromwell, 19 The Mall, Cromwell
  • Get Fair + Square shampoo, face, body and hand soap bars at Sequoia Finewares, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell
  • Dream Eco shampoo, moisturiser and body wash bars, as well as Nudi Point body and face bars, are all sold at Cromwell Pharmacy, 22 The Mall, Cromwell.
  • Find Panna shampoo and face soap bars at Zen Interiors & Lifestyle Store, Mackinlay Lane, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell
  • Get Bellbird shampoo and conditioner bars, made in Roxburgh, at Feinerman’s, 109 Scotland Street, Roxburgh
  • Get Simple Naked Soap shampoo and other toiletries bars at Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; Feinerman’s, 109 Scotland Street, Roxburgh; or at the Alexandra Friday Food and Produce Market (see markets section above).

Reusable Menstrual Products

There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. You can buy menstrual cups at New World Alexandra, 89 Centennial Ave, Alexandra; Harmony Skin & Beauty, 65 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; New World Cromwell, 2 Murray Terrace, Cromwell; FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell; Lake Dunstan Pharmacy, 2A The Mall, Cromwell; and Four Square Maniototo, 1/3 Pery Street, Ranfurly.

Ingredients for DIY cosmetics/toiletries

  • Baking soda/epsom salts/starches – available in bulk bins at Bin Inn Alexandra, 38 Tarbert Street, Alexandra.

Shaving

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. We didn’t find anywhere that sells razors (though you can usually get your local barber or hairdresser to order them for you wholesale), but shaving brushes are sold at Unichem Alexandra, 4-6 Centennial Ave, Alexandra and Alexandra Pharmacy, 60 Centennial Ave, Alexandra.

Liquid Toiletries/Cosmetics on Tap/Refills

  • The Tent House, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell – stocks bath salts in a bulk dispenser (BYO jars, and also makes a range of their own cosmetics in glass vials/jars/bottles that could be refilled (just ask!).

Other

  • Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Thrive, 43 Tarbert Street, Alexandra; and FreshChoice Cromwell, 1-3 Illes Street, Cromwell 
  • Toilet paper – Thrive, 43 Tarbert Street, Alexandra, sells Greencane toilet paper (which is wrapped in home compostable packaging)
  • Reusable Breast Pads – at Sequoia Finewares, 68 Erris Street, Heritage Precinct, Cromwell


Reuse and Recycle

  • Food waste and composting – food waste in a bin gets sent to landfill where it breaks down anaerobically, producing methane (a potent greenhouse gas). No! Here are some alternatives:
    • Home composting/worm farms/bokashi – Having a composting, worm farm or bokashi bin system at home is the best and cheapest way to deal with your food scraps. If you haven’t yet got a system for dealing with your food waste and are unsure where to start, you could ask a neighbour or friend to help you set up a compost, or you could go to a workshop run by Central Otago REAP, 14/20 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra which runs semi-regular composting workshops. Or, you might want to purchase a worm farm or bokashi bin – you can get subsidised bokashi bins from Health 2000 Alexandra, 50 Tarbert Street or Wastebusters Alexandra, Boundary Road (discount subsidised by Central Otago District Council). Don’t forget about greenwaste too, which also doesn’t belong in landfill. You can drop greenwaste off at the Ranfurly, Roxburgh, Alexandra and Cromwell transfer stations for a small fee, where it will be mulched rather than landfilled.
  • E-waste – electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, with huge environmental implications because of the toxins this waste leaches, but also the loss of incredibly precious resources embedded in these items that are not recovered when the waste is dumped in landfill.
    • Repair – Rather than throwing your broken electronics out – have you considered trying to get them repaired first? You could pay someone to do it, or look out for Repair or Fix-it Cafes where experts donate their time to fix people’s broken items for free at a designated repair event (usually run by community centres, churches or councils – perhaps ask if a centre near you might be interested in running a session). Connect Cromwell run repair cafes in Cromwell, so keep your eyes peeled for the next one!
    • Recycle – If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to Wastebusters Alexandra, Boundary Road, for recycling and safe disposal (a small fee will be payable for the processing of the electronics for recycling).
  • Wastebusters Alexandra, Boundary Road – Wastebusters Alexandra is wonderful and is run by Wanaka Wastebusters (long recognised as one of the leading community recyclers in the country). Wastebusters is the place to take your recycling in Alexandra because its approach often means it achieves better recycling outcomes than the local kerbside collection (for example, Central Otago District Council recently revealed that glass recycling put out on the kerb for collection has been taken to landfill, while all glass recycling taken to Wastebusters Alexandra is sent to New Zealand’s only glass recycling in Auckland to be recycled back into new glass bottles and jars). Apart from a drop-off for household recycling, you can also drop-off harder to recycle items here, from batteries through to e-waste, textiles, and building materials and other hardware. The range of things the community can drop-off also makes Wastebusters a GREAT place to get your magpie on and scavenge some real treasures. The on-site re-use shop is excellent, very well-stocked, making it a perfect place to find secondhand items rather than buying them new. If you’re wanting a new appliance or gadget, new toys or bikes, or if you’re undertaking a craft, building or home maker project and need some wood off-cuts, scrap metal, bolts, nuts or other building equipment, go to Wastebusters before you go anywhere else – you’ll be amazed at what you can find, at super low prices.

Zero Waste Information and Support Networks

  • Keep it Green, Cromwell – an organisation dedicated to greening up Cromwell. Keep it Green have been sewing reusable bags for Cromwell to help people transition away from single use shopping bags. These are available in the local supermarkets. They’ve also brought CupCycling to Cromwell – a system of lending reusable takeaway coffee cups (for those who forget their own) – YAY!
  • Boomerang Bags Alexandra – Boomerang Bags is an excellent initiative spreading across the country that equips people to avoid plastic shopping bags by making cloth bags available on stands inside and outside local stores and supermarkets. Look out for the beautiful Alexandra Boomerang Bags on stands around town. These bags are sewn by local volunteers out of upcycled fabric at regular sewing bees. If you’re interested in sewing bags then join the Boomerang Bags Alexandra Facebook group, or get in touch with Amy Delport, the local facilitator. Even if you don’t know how to sew (yet) there are things you can do, and it’s probably a great way to learn! We believe sewing is an essential resilience skill for low-waste living, so what better way to start learning than through helping to reduce plastic bag consumption and divert textile waste?!

Share and Exchange

  • Central Otago Alexandra Buy, Sell, Exchange – are you on the lookout for something in particular – a knick knack, a household appliance, hardware, anything?! Before going to buy it new in a shop, see if you can find it on the Alexandra Buy, Sell, Exchange Facebook page first! And, if you’ve got items you no longer want but which someone else might, don’t chuck them out, list them on this page to see if someone else wants them instead!
  • Toy Libraries – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys and save money by joining a toy library! Check out this list of toy libraries in Central Otago to find the nearest one to you!

Skills and Resourcefulness in Communities

  • Menzshed – Menzshed provides a great opportunity for men of all ages to share tools and a workspace (reducing the wasteful overduplication of these resources) and to pass on skills of woodworking and other trades. Menzsheds frequently offer communities the service of repairing broken items like furniture (at a small cost), work with upcycled material that might otherwise go to waste, and create bespoke items for community and charitable purposes. Definitely look up your local – there’s a Menzshed in Alexandra.
  • Central Otago REAP, 14/20 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra – Central Otago REAP runs a huge range of workshops and programs to support more sustainable living, and many touch on waste issues or the kinds of resilience skills that help you to reduce waste at home. In particular, check out Making a Difference for Central Otago (MAD4CO), which is the action arm of the Sustainable Living Program at the Central Otago REAP. Through MAD4CO, local groups, businesses, schools, Council and individuals work together on community projects centred on sustainability, resilience and wise use of resources. The group also holds regular forums where local experts share their knowledge on issues, many of which touch on skills that are really helpful for reducing household rubbish, such as ecological footprinting, permaculture and organic gardening, and food resilience. So check out both Central Otago Reap’s website and the MAD4CO Facebook page for info on upcoming events and to start connecting with interested locals.
  • Connect Cromwell – a non-profit organisation bringing community-led development to Cromwell and districts. Connect Cromwell runs lots of events, workshops and activities, many of which relate to zero waste and resourcefulness. Get in touch with them if you’re interested in running or seeing particular workshops or activities that relate to waste – they might be able to help you out!
  • Sewing Angels at The Hospice Shop Alexandra, 53 Centennial Avenue – The Alexandra Hospice Shop has a group called the Sewing Angels who use their creative genius to make all manner of handmade items from upcycled fabrics. Many of these items can help people reduce waste, like reusable shopping bags. Go in to The Hospice Shop to check out the Sewing Angels’ work (you might even be tempted to buy one of the creations OR maybe you can request one of the Angels make you a particular upcycled fabric item to help you reduce waste – like a cutlery holder or a reusable sandwich pouch). If you’ve got sewing skills and would like to help divert some textile waste as well, or if you’d like to learn a thing or two, maybe you can become a Sewing Angel too!
  • Manuherikia Food Forest Group – on the Eastern corner of Centennial Park you’ll find a developing treasure – a food forest for Alexandra! Drop down to check out what delicious, unpackaged food is hanging from the trees, or take the chance to learn more about gardening and planting by volunteering some time or joining for a working bee session.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *