This guide covers Eastern Bay of Plenty districts (Ōpōtiki, Whakatāne, and Kawerau) only. Thanks to local, Lisa Eve, for helping us to keep this guide up to date! For other parts of the Bay of Plenty Region, please refer to the Bay of Plenty Regional Shopping Guide 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 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).
NB: Check out the One Village at a Time Social Enterprise, based in Ohope Beach – a social enterprise run by Ohope Beach locals Cherie Conrad and Gary Willoughby, raising funds to help support community development projects in villages in West Bengal, India. Many of the items sold help with low-waste living, including reusable cloth produce and bulk bin bags, and stainless steel straws. Check out the Facebook page to see the products and to order (send a private message to see if you can arrange pick-up and avoid the delivery cost and delivery packaging).
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at Smash Natural Products, 46 Boon Street, Whakatāne; Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne (metal + glass); Seabreeze, 109 The Strand, Whakatāne (metal); The Good Life Gift Shop, 194 The Strand, Whakatāne (metal & glass); White Gold, 2/189 The Strand, Whakatāne; Paper Plus Whakatāne, 170 The Strand, Whakatāne; Presentables, 132 The Strand, Whakatāne; Ōpōtiki Pharmacy, 110 Church Street, Ōpōtiki; Paper Plus Ōpōtiki, 108 Church Street, Ōpōtiki; and Tangata Whenua, 108b Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in these districts:
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. Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne stocks both stainless steel and silicone (collapsable) bento boxes; and Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne stocks stainless steel SUP NZ tubs. And to EAT those takeaways, you can get a set of bamboo cutlery at Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne too!
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 Rethink produce, bulk and string bags at Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; just their produce bags at New World Kawerau, 2 Tarawera Court, Islington Street, Kawerau; PAK’nSAVE Whakatāne, 45 King Street, Whakatāne; and New World Ōpōtiki, 19 Bridge Street, Ōpōtiki. There’s also Ever Eco 100% organic cotton produce and tote bags at Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne; and a NZ designed variety at Smash Natural Products, 46 Boon Street, Whakatāne; The Hospice Shop, 109 The Strand, Whakatāne stocks locally made produce and shopping bags made from upcycled fabric – awesome!
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 Smash Natural Products, 46 Boon Street, Whakatāne (metal and bamboo); Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne (metal); Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne (metal, bamboo and silicone); Paper Plus, 170 The Strand, Whakatāne; and PAK’nSAVE Whakatāne, 45 King Street, Whakatāne.
The followings 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 Smash Natural Products, 46 Boon Street, Whakatāne; Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne; White Gold, 2/189 The Strand, Whakatāne; The Good Life, 194 The Strand, Whakatāne.
Also, get wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) at Smash Natural Products; The Good Life; Whakatāne Organics; Bin Inn Whakatāne; and White Gold – as these are made only of bamboo and plant fibre, they’re home compostable should they ever wear down.
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:
NB: Check out the One Village at a Time Social Enterprise, based out of Ohope Beach – run by locals Cherie Conrad and Gary Willoughby, raising funds to help support community development projects in villages in West Bengal, India. Many of the items sold help with low-waste living, including bamboo toothbrushes (with wooden, home compostable handles), reusable wee wipes, and reusable menstrual items (including menstrual cups and washable pads). Check out the Facebook page to see the products and to order (send a private message to see if you can arrange pick-up and avoid the delivery cost and delivery packaging).
It’s easy to get soap without packaging. 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:
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 (see above) – note, you’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. Get razors and replacement blades at Smash Natural Products, 46 Boon Street, Whakatāne (also does shaving brushes); Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne; Ōpōtiki Pharmacy, 110 Church Street, Ōpōtiki; and Kawerau Pharmacy, 2 Tarawera Court, Islington Street, Kawerau.
The following stores stock liquid toiletries in bulk dispensers for refills – BYO bottles!