This guide covers Christchurch Central businesses only. For other parts of Christchurch or to read about city-wide council and community services, or city-wide shopping options, please refer to the Zero Waste in Christchurch City homepage.
NB: All our regional guides cover as many low-waste options as we could find for food, drink, kitchen and food packaging, cleaning products and bathroom products – scroll down to view each category.
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!
- Yogiji’s Food Mart, 569B Colombo Street – this Indian grocery store stocks a wide range of loose/unpackaged grains, lots of flours, sugar, dried fruit, nuts, legumes, spices, seeds, salt, and more.
- Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street – this well known and loved, long-running organic bulk store stocks a range of loose/unpackaged seeds, nuts, dried fruit, grains, sugar, cereal/muesli, legumes, and more. There’s also a great range of liquid foods on tap, including syrups (e.g. maple, agave), oils (incl sesame, olive), honeys, vinegars, tahini, tamari, and more.
- Liberty Market, 493 Moorhouse Avenue – this super affordable organic store (we call it the Pak’n Save of organics) stocks a decent range of loose/unpackaged goods, including nuts (in shells), legumes, grains, buckwheat, seeds, sugar, salt and peanuts, as well as having a good range of produce, and organic flour in large paper bags.
- Supermarkets – all major supermarkets in Christchurch have well stocked bulk bin/pick and mix sections with wholefoods (BYO bags for these). However they’re pretty expensive, often more so than equivalent ingredients in packets (bah!), and more so than the bulk bins at places like Bin Inn or Piko Wholefoods.
Places that sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods who will happily put your unwrapped purchases straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
- The Mediterranean Food Co., 322 Tuam Street – BYO container for deli food over the counter, including olives, sundried tomatoes, anchovies and cured meats/salami.
- 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. It’s always worth asking wherever you shop though!
Markets and other low-waste goodies you might not have thought of
- Keep an eye out for local markets where you can get unpackaged goods like fruit and veg, bread, cheese etc. into your own bags/containers, or where stallholders offer a return/swap system for their packaging. Check out the Zero Waste in Christchurch homepage for more info.
- Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable once they do fall apart. You can get them from FreshChoice City Market, 71 Lichfield Street.
- Milk – Unless Happy Cow Milk opens up again, your best bet for zero waste milk will be milk powder from a bulk bin at one of the three Bin Inns in South Christchurch or East Christchurch, or the ingredients to make non-dairy milk from a bulk bin (i.e. oats, nuts, threaded coconut, rice).
- 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. Christchurch boasts SO many roasters who are happy to do this, that it’s simply a matter of picking your favourite. In the central city, there’s Magnitude Coffee, 2/314 Tuam Street; Underground Coffee Roasters, 190 Durham Street South; Unknown Chapter, 254 St Asaph Street; Coffee Culture, 2 Elgin Street; and Black & White Coffee Cartel in three locations: 83 Victoria Street, 32 Oxford Terrace, and 71 Lichfield Street.
- Beer – look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. In the Centre, we found Two Thumb Brewing Co., 352 Manchester St.
KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES
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; and Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Christchurch:
- Find the Keep Cup brand at Underground Coffee Roasters, 190 Durham Street South; and Coffee Culture, 2 Elgin Street.
- Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at The General Store, Plymouth Lane
- Get the very leak proof Frank Green cups at Coffee Culture, 2 Elgin Street.
- Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street – stocks various reusable takeaway coffee cups (including ceramic varieties, Joco cups and Frank Green).
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.
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 100% organic cotton produce bags by Rethink at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street. There are also foldable shopping bags at Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wrap
- Purchase at – Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; The General Store, Plymouth Lane; Hapa, Re:Start Container Mall, corners of Lichfield, Durham and Cashel Streets, and BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street (opening soon); The Gift Shop, The Crossing, 7/166 Cashel Street; and Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street.
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.
You can also get Safix scourers made of coconut fibre at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street
- Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street – stocks bulk containers of dishwash and laundry liquid for refilling into your own containers/bottles (note that of Piko’s selection, only Aroma Naturals actually takes their bulk containers back for refill, so we recommend choosing to refill your bottles with their product – plus it’s locally-made, even better!), SoapNut NZ in a cardboard box, and 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).
Zero waste teeth and mouth
- Bamboo toothbrushes – 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 can find bamboo toothbrushes at Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; and Liberty Market, 493 Moorhouse Avenue.
Unpackaged Bars of Soap
The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street
- Liberty Market, 493 Moorhouse Avenue
- Hapa, Re:Start Container Mall, corners of Lichfield, Durham and Cashel Streets, and BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street (opening soon)
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!
- Many places stock the popular Ethique range which includes shampoo bars, conditioner bars, shaving bars, deodorant bars, moisturiser bars, etc. (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging): Hapa, Re:Start Container Mall, corners of Lichfield, Durham and Cashel Streets, and BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street (opening soon); Unichem Cashel Pharmacy, 3/111 Cashel Street; and Shut the Front Door!, 268 High Street.
- Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street – stocks locally made Kerrs Road soaps and shampoo bars wrapped in paper
- You can get Global Soap 3 in 1 shower/shave/shampoo bars at Liberty Market, 493 Moorhouse Avenue
- Earth Organic Hairdressing, 181 High Street – stocks Botanicals shampoo bars made in Upper Moutere, Tasman
Reusable Menstrual Products
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.
- Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; and Liberty Market, 493 Moorhouse Avenue
- Toilet Paper – Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street; and Liberty Market, 493 Moorhouse Avenue both stock Greencane toilet paper (which comes in fully home compostable packaging).
- Liquid toiletries on tap – Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore Street has bulk containers of hand wash, shampoo and conditioner for refills into a BYO container/bottle.