This guide covers Eastern Bay of Plenty districts (Ōpōtiki, Whakatāne, and Kawerau) only. For other parts of the Bay of Plenty Region, please refer to the Bay of Plenty Regional Shopping Guide 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. At the end of each district section, we also list community groups, council services and ideas for tricky waste streams in each district, so make sure you read down to that part too!
Thanks to local Lisa Eve for helping us to keep this guide up to date!
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!
- Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne – 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!
- Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne – a small store, but plenty to offer. A modest bulk bin section contains dried seeds, nuts, grains, flours and chickpeas.
- Fresh ‘n’ Grocer, 92 King Street, Whakatāne – stocks a decent range of nuts, legumes, flours, spices in bulk.
- Opotiki Food & Spices, 90 Church Street, Ōpōtiki – stocks a range of legumes and spices in bulk.
- Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki – as the customer base is small, this shop has only a few items in bulk bins/unpackaged (e.g. chickpeas, lentils and barley). But if there were more demand for it, they would certainly be open to stocking more!
- 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 frequently much 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!
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 Meat Company, 100 King Street, Whakatāne, and 69 Bridge Street, Ōpōtiki.
- Campbell’s Butchery, 87 Onslow Street, Kawerau
Gibbo’s Fresh Fish, 16 King Street, Whakatāne – lots of unpackaged seafood in their deli, including smoked fish and self serve live mussels.
L’Epicerie Larder, 128 Commerce Street, Whakatāne – here you can purchase fresh authentic French cheese cut off the wheel, so just BYO container and beeswax wrap to keep it moist 😉
Ocean Seafoods, 88 Church Street, Ōpōtiki – sells some fish fillets unpackaged, BYO container.
- Unpackaged live mussels – there are a few stores in the area 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 Gibbo’s Fresh Fish, 16 King Street, Whakatāne; Countdown Whakatāne, 105/125 Commerce Street, Whakatane; New World Whakatāne, 51 Kakahoroa Drive, Whakatane; New World Ōpōtiki, 19 Bridge Street, Ōpōtiki; and New World Kawerau, 2 Tarawera Court, Islington Street, Kawerau.
- Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki – stocks smoked cheese which is packaged in wax, rather than plastic
The following stores bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods (some things in some of these stores might be pre-packed or wrapped in cling film, just avoid those things!). So all you need to do is BYO 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 early enough before they do that (i.e. before 1pm).
- L’Epicerie Larder, 128 Commerce Street – unpackaged loaves and baguettes.
- Drift Store, 43 Arawa Street, Matatā – sells locally made artisan sourdough bread in a range of flavours
- The Bakehouse Cafe, 7 Jellicoe Court, Kawerau
- 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 and other low-waste goodies you might not have thought of
- 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. Many of the Wellington markets have local producers of pre-made foods like tofu, noodles, preserves 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. BYO bags and containers to markets such as the Whakatāne Sunday Market, Rex Morpeth Park, Whakatāne.
- Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags and are home compostable when they start to fall apart. 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 all these products at Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne, and the sugar at New World Whakatāne, 51 Kakahoroa Drive, Whakatane.
- 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. Coffee roasters are a great place to start. For fresh beans, head to L’Epicerie Larder, 128 Commerce Street, which is also the home of Apteryx coffee roastery and they’ll happily put unpackaged beans/grinds into your own bag/container; or there’s The Bean Cafe and Roastery, 72 The Strand, Whakatāne, who are also happy to put whole or ground coffee beans into your own container. Alternatively, get unpackaged coffee beans (including organic) ground at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
- Tea – most tea bags have plastic in them, so we encourage people to drink loose leaf teas. We’re always on the lookout for loose leaf teas that you can get unpackaged. Unfortunately, this is difficult in Eastern Bay of Plenty. However, Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki stocks Herbal Potential teas in brown paper bags that don’t have a plastic lining.
- Milk – your best local option in Eastern Bay of Plenty for zero waste milk is milk powder… disappointing! You can get this from bulk bins at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
- Beer – Get craft beer on tap filled into your own bottles or flagons at King Street Liquor, 23 King Street, Whakatāne. Or else, 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) so that the bottles can then be sterilised and reused (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 – you can get drinking chocolate/cocoa powder from the bulk bins at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street.
KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES
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 Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne (metal); Seabreeze, 109 The Strand, Whakatāne (metal); The Good Life Gift Shop, 194 The Strand, Whakatāne (metal & glass); White Gold, 2/189 The Strand, Whakatāne; and Tangata Whenua, 108b Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in these districts:
- Get NZ made Ideal Cup from Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne.
- You can get Joco Cups at Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne and The Bean Cafe and Roastery, 72 The Strand, Whakatāne.
- The uniquely designed Frank Green cups are stocked at White Gold, 2/189 The Strand, Whakatāne.
- A couple of other designs are available at The Good Life Gift Shop, 194 The Strand, Whakatāne – Oasis Eco Cup and Avanti Go Mug.
Reusable lunch boxes/containers
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 to EAT those takeaways, you can get a set of bamboo cutlery at Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne too!
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 Rethink produce, bulk and string bags at Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; and producr bags at New World Kawerau, 2 Tarawera Court, Islington Street, Kawerau. There’s also Ever Eco 100% organic cotton produce and tote bags at Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne. The Hospice Shop, 109 The Strand, Whakatāne stocks locally made produce and shopping bags made from upcycled fabric – awesome! White Gold, 2/189 The Strand, Whakatāne stocks washable paper bags.
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 Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne; and Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wrap – get locally-made beeswax wrap from Pou Whakaaro, 1 Bracken Street, Whakatāne or Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne. You can also get beeswax wrap at L’Epicerie Larder, 128 Commerce Street, Whakatāne, Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne, or Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki You can also make your own beeswax wraps! You just need to get natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. Keep an eye out at secondhand stores and fabric stores for off-cuts of cotton, or see if you can get some upcycled natural fibre fabric from the Bernina Sewing Center, Church Street, Ōpōtiki. Get unpackaged beeswax at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street and Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
- Reusable sandwich bags – you can get Munch reusable sandwich bags and/or wraps from Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne.
- 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 a HUGE range of these at The Good Life, 194 The Strand, Whakatāne.
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at 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, The Good Life, Whakatāne Organics, Bin Inn Whakatāne and Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki stock wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) – as they 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:
- If you’re in Kawerau, you can get locally handknitted 100% cotton dishcloths from Myrtlebelle, 5B Liverpool Street, Kawerau or get in touch with Namest’e Meditation Cushions (based in Kawerau) who also sell crocheted 100% cotton dishcloths.
- For something more like a traditional dishcloth sponge, check out the SPRUCE or Wet-it! 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life) which are available at Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne (big and small ones); and The Good Life, 194 The Strand, Whakatāne
- You can get the fancy Bianca Lorenne cotton dishcloths at White Gold, 2/189 The Strand, Whakatāne and Ōpōtiki Pharmacy, 110 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
- A simple, cheap 100% cotton dishcloth is available at New World Ōpōtiki, 19 Bridge Street, Ōpōtiki.
- If you’re after a coarser scrubby, you can get Safix 100% coconut fibre coarse scrubby from Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
One last thing… 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).
- Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with (including chemical-based cleaners and Ecostore products). They also stock Go Bamboo clothes pegs.
- Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne – stocks refills of Ecostore dishwashing, laundry and multi-purpose cleaning liquids, and Go Bamboo clothes pegs.
- Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki – stocks Go Bamboo clothes pegs.
- Eco Planet laundry powder comes in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get it from PAK’nSAVE Whakatāne, King Street, Whakatāne; New World Ōpōtiki, 19 Bridge Street, Ōpōtiki; New World Kawerau, 2 Tarawera Court, Islington Street, Kawerau;
- Ingredients for homemade cleaning products
- Baking soda and washing soda are available in bulk bins at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
- Vinegar is available on tap at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
- Bars of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here), are available at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne and Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne.
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 Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne; Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne; New World Whakatāne, 51 Kakahoroa Drive, Whakatane; PAK’nSAVE Whakatāne, King Street, Whakatāne; Health 2000, 208A The Strand, Whakatāne; and Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
- Dental Floss – Countdown Whakatāne, 105/125 Commerce Street, Whakatane stocks Do Gooder floss, which comes in a refillable glass tube with a screw on metal lid. The WHITE floss is made of 100% silk and is home compostable (the black floss has polyester in it so is landfill only). When you run out of the floss, no need to get a new dispenser, you can get refills of the floss in a paper bag from the Do Gooder website – just pop the refill into your original metal/glass dispenser.
Unpackaged Bars of Soap
It’s easy to get soap without packaging. The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne
- Presentables, 132 The Strand, Whakatāne
- Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne
- Health 2000, 208A The Strand, Whakatāne – a little paper wrapped around.
- Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne
- Myrtlebelle, 5B Liverpool Street, Kawerau (felted soap)
- Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki – locally made
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!
- A few 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): Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne; and Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne.
- You can find the Wellington-made Crafted by Lori shampoo bars, wrapped only in brown paper, at Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne
Reusable Menstrual Products
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads:
- Menstrual cups – stocked at Countdown Whakatāne, 105/125 Commerce Street, Whakatane; Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand, Whakatāne; Total Health Chemist, 252 The Strand, Whakatāne; Life Pharmacy, 189 The Strand, Whakatāne; Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki (by Wā Collective); and Ōpōtiki Pharmacy, 110 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
- Reusable/washable pads – stocked at Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
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. Most barbers can order in razors, replacement blades and shaving brushes wholesale – Kawerau Pharmacy, 2 Tarawera Court, Islington Street, Kawerau sells brushes and replacement blades, or else if you’re just after a shaving brush, you can also get these from Life Pharmacy, 189 The Strand, Whakatāne; and Ōpōtiki Pharmacy, 110 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
- Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from PAK’nSAVE Whakatāne, King Street, Whakatāne; Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne; and Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
- Toilet Paper – get yourself some ethical toilet paper that is wrapped in home compostable packaging at Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne (the Greencane brand). You can also buy individual rolls of toilet paper in home compostable tissue paper at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
- Reusable nappies – for parents out there who would like to try out reusable nappies for their baby, check out local company Baby Tree, who are interested in supporting parents to minimise waste in an affordable way.
- Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
- Unpackaged beeswax is available at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street and Limepeace Organics, 99 Church Street, Ōpōtiki.
- You can get baking soda, corn starch and tapioca starch from bulk bins at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, Whakatāne.
- Whakatāne Organics, 28 Boon Street, Whakatāne sells 100% cotton makeup removal rounds
And one more shout out to the One Village at a Time Social Enterprise, based out of 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 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).
COMMUNITY GROUPS, SUPPORTIVE NETWORKS AND HELP WITH TRICKY WASTE STREAMS
Reuse and Recycle
- Food waste – food waste and scraps going to landfill not only produces methane, but also represents the loss of an excellent resource that could be turned into compost to enrich our soil, or, if the discarded food was still edible, the loss of perfectly good food that could go to someone that wants to eat it! If you would like to set up your own home compost, worm farm or bokashi system, but aren’t sure where to start, look out for composting workshops, the Matata Community Resource Centre intends to host some soon. If you’re a business chucking out food that is still edible but not saleable, get in touch with Waste Not Want Not Whakatāne who rescue and redistribute food otherwise destined for landfill through their ‘Free Shop’ at Pou Whakaaro, 1 Bracken Street, Whakatāne (open three afternoons a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday).
- 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. 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). If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to be recycled responsibly. You can do this at CReW (Community Resources Whakatāne), 40 Te Tahi Street, Whakatāne. A small cost applies for drop-off of e-waste for recycling (until the Government starts to regulate manufacturers of these products), but it’s a small cost relative to damage these items otherwise cause in landfill.
- CReW (Community Resources Whakatāne), 40 Te Tahi Street, Whakatāne – this wonderful community recycling centre is a great place to find a range of useful recovered resources dropped off by members of the community instead of the items being sent to landfill – from timber, furniture and metal, through to bathroom and kitchen fittings, windows and doors and more (check out their website to see the range of materials they have on offer). So, 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, come to CReW first, rather than buying new, you’ll be amazed at what you can find. The department store inside is also full of secondhand household treasures. CReW accepts drop off of many hard-to-recycle items (including e-waste) – just take what you’ve got down to them and they’ll let you know if they can accept it. You can drop-off most items for free.
- Regional Waste and Recycling Directory – the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has an excellent, user friendly waste and recycling directory on their website. So if you’ve got a hard to recycle item or material, see if you can find a place to recycle it here.
Zero Waste Information and Support Networks
- Waste Zero Whakatāne – If you live in Whakatāne and are keen to link up with others who care about waste issues to share knowledge and also brainstorm and develop more waste reducing initiatives in Whakatāne, then sign up to Waste Zero Whakatāne on Facebook! This is an online group but also arranges in-person meet-ups and hui. A great group to be a part of if you’d like to be a part of the movement to improve the way that waste is managed in Whakatāne, or just to keep your finger on the pulse of waste-free happenings taking place around town. Waste Zero Whakatāne even has a weekly slot on Radio 1XX each Wednesday morning, doing a waste Q&A, so tune in and have a listen – you can even submit a question you’d love to have answered on the Waste Zero Whakatāne FB page beforehand.
Share and Exchange
- 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.
- Eastbay Time Bank – The Eastern Bay of Plenty has a timebank and this is awesome because timebanking and zero waste living are great companions. Through timebanking you can share skills and services without the exchange of money, making it a great way to reduce waste on a budget because you can harness skills of creating and repairing that exist in your community (repairing broken clothes or electronics, for example), or have someone pass these skills on to you (how to garden, how to build). Perhaps you have some of these skills already that you could pass on to someone else for time credits? If this sounds like the kind of thing you might be into, check out the local timebank – they’ll be thrilled to have you!
- Eastern Bay Crop Swap (first and third Wednesdays of the month, 12pm-1pm, Pou Whakaaro Community Centre Building, 1 Bracken Street, Whakatāne) – At a crop swap, individuals who have veges or seedlings they’ve grown, preserves or baking they’ve made (or similar), or even home-made knitting/crochet (etc.) crafts (anything made or grown by your hands), 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.
Skills and Resourcefulness in Communities
- 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), and also creating bespoke items for community and charitable purposes – so definitely look up your local!
- Pou Whakaaro, 40 Te Tahi Street, Whakatāne; 1E Tamarangi Drive, Kawerau – this excellent centre is constantly running workshops and programmes on a range of topics that can build personal and community resilience, and minimise waste in the process, so definitely check out what they’ve got going on! One of the projects currently running out of the Kawerau branch of Pou Whakaaro is Kawerau Doing More With Less. Currently this community project is upcycling newspaper into sturdy bags and the community is encouraged to come and join in and learn this ingenious way of making bags out of an item you probably already have in your home! Every Thursday from 1-3pm.
- Community gardens – community gardens are an excellent way for residents to get kai without packaging, and to learn skills of growing food and setting up composts – both very useful skills for low-waste living. Check out the Pakowhai Community Garden in Ōpōtiki or the Urban Food Forest in Kawerau. Community gardens are always looking for volunteers to help out and come along to working bees, so if you are interested in picking up gardening skills, or if you are already a keen gardener and would like to have the opportunity to share your skill with others, consider getting involved with your local community garden.
- Sewing, crafts, knitting, crochet – We’re of the view that sewing, crafts, knitting and crochet are all key skills for combating waste in our lives (whether it’s the ability to make your own produce bags and beeswax wraps, knit a dishcloth, or repair broken clothes). If you’re keen to pick up crafting skills and you’re around Kawerau, check out the Sheilas In the Shed which runs crafty and creative classes and activities. Otherwise, joining a group that is sewing reusable bags to give out to the community is also a great way to learn to sew while helping to reduce plastic bag consumption and these groups are always looking for volunteers (regardless of whether or not you have prior sewing knowledge). For example, check out your local Boomerang Bags group – you can find them in Ōpōtiki, Whakatāne and Kawerau.
- Sheilas In the Shed, Kawerau are also very keen to expand their creative projects into woodworking and metalworking and other handicrafts. So if you’ve get skills in trades and other areas that could be applicable that you’re keen to share, get in touch!