This guide covers Eastern Auckland only. For other areas of Auckland, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Auckland Region post.
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 Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, flours, and legumes), a range of spices, liquid foods (including vinegars, oils and syrups), sweets and treats, and items essential for zero waste living, such as baking soda, salt and other specialty baking/cooking goods. They also have a peanut butter machine. All Bin Inn stores around New Zealand are currently offering 5% discount when you bring your own containers!
- Tai Ping Supermarket, 3 Cortina Place, Pakuranga – has a small selection of loose bulk bin ingredients, specifically, flours, rice, grains, beans, and peanuts.
- Whitford Food Depot, 5 Whitford-Maraetai Road, Whitford – offers a selection of bulk spices, grains, pulses presented in large glass jars – ask at the counter to have these transferred to BYO bags/containers.
- Da Hua Supermarket Pakuranga, 312c Ti Rakau Drive, East Tamaki – a small selection of bulk bins stocking legumes, rice, peanuts and seeds.
- The Tofu Shop, 290 Ti Rakau Drive, Pakuranga – has a range of bulk bins with grains, legumes, nuts, a wide range of dried fruit, fungi, seafood and seaweed.
- Premium Seafood n Bulk Food, 5/290F, Ti Rakau Drive, Burswood – offers a range of bulk bins with grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, a wide range of dried fruit, fungi, seafood and seaweed.
- Moshims, 46 Ormiston Road, East Tamaki – offers a wide range of bulk bins stocking loose nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains, flours, legumes, spices, and condiments.
- Moshims Discount House Pakuranga, 9 Cardiff Road, Pakuranga – offers a wide range of bulk bins stocking loose nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains, flours, legumes, spices, and condiments.
- Supermarkets – most supermarkets have 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 much pricier than the bulk bins at the stores listed above (even organic stores’ bulk bins!). 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! **CAN YOU HELP US TO UPDATE THIS SECTION?** <– get in touch if your fave spot isn’t on here!
- Unpackaged tofu (just BYO containers to put it in) available at The Tofu Shop, 290 Ti Rakau Drive, Pakuranga, and Premium Seafood n Bulk Food, 5/290F, Ti Rakau Drive, Burswood
- Supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering unpackaged meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more. All Countdown, New World and PAK’nSAVE supermarkets officially allow you to BYO container for these goods!
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). **CAN YOU HELP US TO UPDATE THIS SECTION?** <– get in touch if your fave spot isn’t on here!
- 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 to get a good source of unpackaged, often locally grown, produce, markets are the place to frequent! By and large, we’ve found that markets, where you can meet the grower/producer face-to-face, are really great for starting fruitful conversations about waste-free food, and developing relationships and systems that enable you to get your favourite fruit, vege and preserves without the packaging. 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. Check out some of the markets in East Auckland.
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:
- Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick.
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:
- Uh-oh! No unpackaged tea! How can this be?! Have we missed somewhere?
- Most supermarkets stock Bell loose leaf black tea, which comes in 100% cardboard and paper packaging (no plastic!).
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:
- Milk delivery in reusable glass bottles – Bakewell Creamery home deliver of their raw milk (minimum order of 4L). So, you can have the milk delivered to your door in reusable glass bottles (just like the old days!) – leave your empty bottles out on the next delivery day so they can be returned to Bakewell Creamery for sterilisation and refill. YAY! See delivery details and routes here.
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:
- Super Liquor, cnr Picton and Uxbridge Roads, Howick
- Liquorland Howick, 125 Elliot St, Howick
- Liquorland Botany, 287 Botany Road, Botany.
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 dispensers at Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick.
- Rawhq, 13 Moore St, Howick – stocks silicone pot and bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil) and glass straws.
- Cinnamon Brown, 69 Picton St, Howick – stocks reusable water bottles
- Natural Health Company, 503 Pakuranga Road, Highland Park Shopping Centre – stocks metal straws.
Refills of cleaning products
The following stores stock a wide range of liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers that you can fill your own bottles and containers with:
- Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick.
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 100% cotton dishcloths at Cinnamon Brown, 69 Picton St, Howick.
Ingredients for DIY cleaning products
- Baking soda/vinegar – both available unpackaged in bulk bins/refills at Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick. Baking soda in bulk bins available at Moshims, 46 Ormiston Road, East Tamaki, and Moshims Discount House Pakuranga, 9 Cardiff Road, Pakuranga.
- Bars of castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) – available at Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick and Natural Health Company, 503 Pakuranga Road, Highland Park Shopping Centre.
- Eco Planet laundry powder comes in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! It’s usually stocked at most New Worlds, so keep a look out!
- Alternatives to plastic pegs – you can get Go Bamboo bamboo clothes pegs at Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick and Natural Health Company, 503 Pakuranga Road, Highland Park Shopping Centre.
- 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 Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick, Natural Health Company, 503 Pakuranga Road, Highland Park Shopping Centre, and NZH, Unit F, 312 Ti Rakau Drive, East Tamaki.
- Unpackaged bars of soap are available at:
- Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick
- Cinnamon Brown, 69 Picton St, Howick
- Natural Health Company, 503 Pakuranga Road, Highland Park Shopping Centre.
- Home compostable cotton buds are available at Bin Inn Howick, 219 Moore St, Howick
- Reusable Menstrual Products – there are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. For example, you can get reusable menstrual cups at Natural Health Company, 503 Pakuranga Road, Highland Park Shopping Centre.
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’d like help setting one up or working out what the best system would be for you, did you know that Auckland City Council offers FREE composting workshops through their programme, the Compost Collective? Worth checking out! Tamaki WRAP also runs composting workshops.
- Food scrap collections – We Compost also runs a food scrap collection service for both households AND businesses, and takes it to be composted – yay!
- Edible food waste – food that is still edible that goes to waste is a crying shame. Check out the Community Fridge (an initiative of Amanda Chapman, with a rescued fridge provided by Resource Rescue), located in Griffiths Gardens (corner of Wellesley street and Mayoral Drive). The fridge is open 24 hours a day. The idea is that individuals and businesses can leave any excess food they may have (which might otherwise go to waste) in the fridge. Anyone who wishes is free to take food from the fridge. In addition to the Community Fridge there are also two food rescue organisations in Auckland – Fair Food and Kiwi Harvest – who take food that would otherwise go to waste from businesses and redistribute it to organisations with a social justice function.
- E-waste – electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, with huge environmental implications because of the toxins that can be leached from this waste, 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 you 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). Check out Repair Cafe Auckland to see where the next repair cafe is happening near you!
- Recycle: If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to be recycled responsibly. In Auckland there are a range of places you can take your e-waste to be recycled or disposed of more safely. These include community recycling centres (see below), Resource Rescue, Abilities, Ecomatters, and E-Cycle.
- Community Recycling Centres are popping up all over Auckland now that the council has the aim of having at least 12 in the city in order to reach its goal of becoming a zero waste city by 2040. Community recycling centres are community-run and very effective at diverting waste from landfill, whether by arranging recycling, or repurposing or reselling of items back to the community at low cost. They are often drop-off points for all manner of recyclables, from plastics, paper/cardboard, glass and metals, through to hard to recycle items like e-waste, building and construction materials and other bits and bobs. Check out this list of Auckland community recycling centres to find your local. The range of things the community can drop-off also makes community recycling centres a GREAT place to get your magpie on and scavenge some real treasures at the re-use shops – 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 your local community recycling centre before you go anywhere else – you’ll be amazed at what you can find, at super low prices.
- EcoMatters’ Adopt a Resource – one person’s waste is another person’s treasure. Daily industry throws out tonnes of ‘waste’ that might actually be useful to other people. EcoMatters, an amazing Environment Centre in New Lynn, is taking ‘waste’ off the Rosebank Business Community and rehoming it to whoever might want it! Check out their website – you never know what kind of goodies you might be able to get, while saving it from a sad fate in landfill :-O
Zero Waste Information and Support Networks
- Waste-free advocates – Auckland is full of groups and individuals who provide support and inspiration for people to reduce their waste, both online and offline. You may have heard of Amanda Chapman from Amanda in Waste-free Land, Kristy Lorson from EarthSavvy (who is also the creator of the incredibly useful Zero Waste in NZ! Facebook page), the Weir-Barwells of Waste-Less Living, the trail-blazing Matthew Luxon and Waveney Warth from Rubbishfree.co.nz, and the Archer family of 6 who are documenting their year without a bin this year (2018). Have a look at their websites – they are all excellent resources for waste-free living in Auckland, and NZ generally. If you’re lucky, you might be able to twist one of their arms to do a public talk/workshop as well… 😀
- Environmental hubs – environment centres and hubs are a great place to look out for if you would like help reducing waste (in the context of sustainable living generally). An excellent example is Ecomatters, 1 Olympic Place, New Lynn. Among their many programmes, they are advancing zero waste in Western Auckland. They offer solutions for a range of hard to recycle items, like polystyrene, batteries, toothpaste tubes, curtains and light bulbs. Their frequent workshops often cover topics that assist with low-waste living. They also provide cool things for the community that diverts waste from landfill, like firewood which has been diverted from landfill, low-priced bikes rescued from landfill and done up, used coffee grinds for your garden, upcycled jewellery and crafts, and their Love Zero Waste Trailer, available for hire.
- Tamaki WRAP is simply incredible – they’re dedicated to supporting the waste reduction in the community and they offer great workshops and waste minimisation education spanning a variety of different areas. They also run the United Sustainable Sisters programme, and they’ve set up hubZERO a new location in Panmure dedicated to all things zero waste: waste-based social enterprises, full on local upcycling, and a space for workshops. Woohoo!
- Running a Zero Waste Event – Are you running an event – big or small – and keen to keep it low-waste?Well, EcoMatters has developed an AMAZING website on Zero Waste Events in collaboration with Auckland Council to encourage event organisers and stallholders to design an event that generates less waste, and/or the right kind of waste for reuse. There’s so much useful information on this website, so definitely check it out – proper impressive!
Share and Exchange/Skills and Resilience in Communities
- Toy Libraries – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys and save money by joining a toy library! Check out this guide to find the nearest Toy Library to you.
- Auckland Library of Tools – need tools? Guess what, you can now rent them out (rather than buying new) from the wonderful Auckland Library of Tools! We don’t all need a garage full of tools, so save your money and reduce waste by joining ALOT. You can also donate tools to ALOT if you have a garage full and reckon they could go for an outing 😉
- Menzshed – there are Menzsheds throughout Auckland. 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 also create bespoke items for community and charitable purposes. Definitely look up your local!
- Community gardens and urban growing – if you are wanting to try your hand at gardening and have access to some unpackaged, locally grown veges, look up your local community garden. We’ve seen some great ones, including Kelmarna Gardens in Ponsonby, but there are many more! Check out a full list (plus map) here. And DEFINITELY check out the truly amazing For the Love of Bees – an artistic project that has morphed into a next level community-mobilising force for making Auckland a city that is good for bees (and thus, for us), incredible stuff!
- Sharing Sheds/Community Fruit and Veg Stands – these are stands/shelves in the community where anyone can drop off excess fruit and veg from their garden, and anyone is free to take what’s there, free of charge. The wonderful art of sharing means that excess produce doesn’t go to waste. Furthermore, items can be shared without excessive amounts of packaging. These are popping up around the country and there are heaps in Auckland – find your nearest through the new website Free Food.
- Crop Swap – Another fantastic thing going is Crop Swaps – at a crop swap, individuals who have veges they’ve grown, or preserves or baking they’ve made (or similar), come together once a fortnight or once a month, to trade their offerings without any money changing hands – all free! Just bring something to share and let the swapping begin! Trading homegrown or home created goodies with friends and locals means you can avoid all that packaging that often comes with a store setting. You can also have friendly chats about how to share goods without the waste. There are crop swaps dotted around Auckland, check out this website for a location near you (note the website is still being developed and currently missing many locations – you may need to ask around).