This guide covers Christchurch Central only. For other parts of Christchurch, please refer to the Zero Waste in Christchurch City homepage.
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!
The following shops sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods (including vegan/vegetarian alternatives!) and will happily put these straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
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).
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:
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:
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).
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; Hapa, Re:Start Container Mall, corners of Lichfield, Durham and Cashel Streets, and BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street (opening soon); The General Store, Plymouth Lane; The Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, 363 St Asaph Street; and Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Christchurch:
Reusable lunch boxes or containers are great to have on you when you’re out and about in case you want to get takeaways, to carry leftovers home with you, or if you find food to forage. You can get various stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at The Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, 363 St Asaph Street.
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 Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street; The Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, 363 St Asaph Street; and GoodFor, 20-26 Welles Street.
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. Get 100% organic cotton produce and bulk bin bags by local company My Vita Bag at Riverside Market, corner Lichfield Street and Oxford Terrace. You can also get 100% organic cotton produce bags by Rethink and other brands at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; The Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, 363 St Asaph Street; and GoodFor, 20-26 Welles Street. There are also foldable shopping bags at Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street.
The following stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers:
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; and Liberty Market, 493 Moorhouse Avenue.
Also, you can get wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) at The Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, 363 St Asaph Street; and GoodFor, 20-26 Welles Street – as these are made only of bamboo and plant fibre, they’re home compostable should they ever wear down.
You can also get Safix scourers made of coconut fibre at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street
The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
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!
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. Menstrual cups and Reusable, washable pads are available at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; and GoodFor, 20-26 Welles Street.
NB: This section is Christchurch-wide, rather than limited to Christchurch Central.