Zero Waste in Gisborne District/Te Tairāwhiti

Zero Waste in Gisborne District/Te Tairāwhiti

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!

Photos in the feature image of Uawa Sewing Bee (left) and community-made reusable bags and beeswax wraps in Waiapu Kōkā Huhua (right). Thanks to Rawinia Kingi and Tina Ngata for kindly sharing with us.

FOOD OPTIONS (I.E. STORES THAT OFFER LOOSE ITEMS WHICH YOU CAN PUT, UNPACKAGED, INTO YOUR OWN BYO BAGS/CONTAINERS)

Wholefoods/pantry staples

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!

  • Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne – a great selection of bulk bins with both organic and non-organic seeds, legumes, grains, flours, nuts, dried fruit, condiments, mueslis and spices. Also liquid refills of honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and tamari available – just BYO bottle.
  • Moshim’s (aka Bollywood Spices), 355b Gladstone Road, Gisborne – offers a wide range of unpackaged dried food in bulk, including grains, flours, nuts, seeds, legumes, and lots of spices.
  • Big Bulk Barn, 460 Gladstone Road, Gisborne – stocks a wide array of dried food in bulk bins (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, flours, and legumes), a range of spices, a generous range of liquid foods (including vinegars, oils, chutneys, sauces and syrups), and sweets and treats.
  • Manutuke Herbs, 225 Gladstone Road, Gisborne – offers apple cider vinegar refills – just BYO bottles
  • Hikurangi Foodmarket Four Square171 Waiomatatini Road, Ruatoria – stocks bulk paper bags (5-20kg) of flour and sugar at a good price.
  • 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 Big Bulk Barn and even Down to Earth. But look out for when things in the bulk bin aisle in supermarkets are on special because sometimes you can get a good deal!
Butchers/Fishmongers/Cheese/Deli

The following stores all sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods and are happy to put your unwrapped purchases straight into a BYO container – woohoo!

  • Evans Bacon Company Meat Supermarket, 30 Derby Street, Gisborne – this store also uses brown butchers paper rather than plastic (if you forget your container).
  • Elgin Butchery, 695 Childers Road, Gisborne
  • London Street Butchery, 19 London Street, Gisborne – this store also use brown butchers paper for most things rather than plastic (if you forget your container). They’re also phasing out plastic shopping bags.
  • Lytton West Butchery, 11 Lytton Road, Gisborne
  • Real Fresh From the Sea, 49 Esplanade, Gisborne
  • West Lytton Fish & Chips, Potae Ave, Gisborne – BYO container OK for fresh fish fillets and heads
  • Unpackaged live mussels – there are a few stores around town 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 Four Square Ideal, 106 Wainui Road, Gisborne; PAK’nSAVE Gisborne City, Childers Road, Gisborne; Four Square Mangapapa, 2 Winter Street, Gisborne; Four Square Tokomaru BayMain Road, Tokomaru Bay; Hikurangi Foodmarket Four Square, 171 Waiomatatini Road, Ruatoria; and Eastern Foursquare, 29 Rata Street, Te Araroa.
Bakeries

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).

  • Village Bakery, 4 Ballance Street, Gisborne
  • Morrell’s Artisan Bakery, 435 Gladstone Road, Gisborne
  • PAK’nSAVE Gisborne, Gladstone Road, Gisborne
  • Hikurangi Foodmarket Four Square, 171 Waiomatatini Road, Ruatoria – while this shop bakes its own bread in store, they usually wrap it in plastic. But if you ask nicely they may be able to put some aside for you unpackaged!
  • 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. 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 the Gisborne Farmers Market, corner of Stout Street (opposite museum), Gisborne, every Saturday.
  • Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s entire chocolate range comes in Econic home compostable packaging! Their 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable also. 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 Trade Aid, 107 Gladstone Road, Gisborne.
  • Loving Earth raw chocolate – another treat that comes in home compostable packaging. You can find it at PAK’nSAVE Gisborne, Childers Road, Gisborne.

DRINK OPTIONS

  • Coffee – Wherever possible, we recommend looking out for places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged, and bringing your own bag and container to fill. You can do this at Far East Coffee Co, Shed 5, 67 Awapuni Road, Gisborne, or Raglan Roast, 116 Wainui Road, Gisborne. You can also get unpackaged coffee beans (though not as fresh or locally roasted) at Big Bulk Barn, 460 Gladstone Road, Gisborne. If you’re into instant coffee, go for Trade Aid instant which comes in Econic home compostable packaging, which you can get from Trade Aid, 107 Gladstone Road, Gisborne.
  • 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. You can get unpackaged loose leaf tea put straight into BYO containers at Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne; we’ve also been told you can get unpackaged tea leaves from Vitality Foods, 67 Gladstone Rd, Gisborne (although we didn’t actually see it ourselves); and Manutuke Herbs, 225 Gladstone Road, Gisborne sells dried kawakawa and lemon verbena in bulk glass jars, just BYO bags/jars for all these.
  • Milk – while more and more farms around NZ are offering options to refill/swap glass bottles, we haven’t heard of any in Tairāwhiti that do so. In lieu of this, you best option is to get milk powder in bulk – you can get this from Big Bulk Barn, 460 Gladstone Road, Gisborne and Moshim’s (aka Bollywood Spices), 355b Gladstone Road, Gisborne.
  • Beer – head to breweries and liquor stores that sell beer on tap (craft or otherwise) where you can refill BYO bottles – places like Sunshine Brewery, 49 Awapuni Road, Gisborne for craft beer, or Liquorland Gladstone, 406 Gladstone Road, Gisborne for DB and Skippers on tap. 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 – Kōkako drinking chocolate comes in Econic home compostable packaging and can be bought at PAK’nSAVE Gisborne, Gladstone Road, Gisborne. Otherwise, you can get drinking chocolate in bulk at Big Bulk Barn, 460 Gladstone Road, Gisborne.

KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES

NB: you can get lots of zero waste alternatives for common kitchen/food packaging items through Isla and Olive, an excellent business run from Gisborne by local Leigh with an online store where you can buy a range of useful products that are essential to zero waste living. If you’re local to Gisborne, you should be able to arrange to pick-up any purchases from Leigh, to save on postage waste/costs.
 
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 Unichem Bramwells Pharmacy, 232 Gladstone Road, Gisborne (metal), The Discount ‘T’, 119 Gladstone Road, Gisborne (metal), and Village Homeware, 130 Ormond Ave, Gisborne (metal).

There are a few places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Gisborne:

  • Find the Keep Cup brand at Raglan Roast, 116 Wainui Road, Gisborne; Zest, 22 Peel Street, Gisborne; and Far East Coffee Co, Shed 5, 67 Awapuni Road, Gisborne.
  • Get the funky Frank Green coffee cups at Village Homeware, 130 Ormond Ave, Gisborne.

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. You can get glass/pyrex containers with plastic/silicone lids at Farmers Gisborne, 152 Gladstone Road, Gisborne.

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. Find Rethink 100% organic cotton produce, bulk and string bags at Onatah, at Scope, 104 Roebuck Road, Gisborne; the produce and bulk bin bags at Down to Earth, 93 Grey Street, Gisborne and Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne; and the produce and string bags at Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne.

Reusable straws

Say “no straw thanks” next time you order a drink out and either use your mouth to drink, or get yourself a reusable straw instead. You can get metal, bamboo or glass straws at Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne, or reusable metal straws from Palembang Home, 126 Gladstone Road, Gisborne; and Onatah, at Scope, 104 Roebuck Road, Gisborne.

Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil

  • Beeswax wrap – a couple of different varieties (including locally made ones) are available at Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne; others at Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne; and Onatah, at Scope, 104 Roebuck Road, Gisborne. 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 Bernina Sewing Centre, 203 Gladstone Road, Gisborne. Get local, unpackaged beeswax at Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne.
  • Reusable sandwich bags – you can get locally made reusable sandwich bags and/or wraps from Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne, and Onatah, at Scope, 104 Roebuck Road, Gisborne.

Low-waste dishwashing

You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Interiors Kitchenware, 47 Ballance Street, Gisborne; and , 200 Palmerston Road, Gisborne (lots of different heads here). Both  and the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne, also stock wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) – they’re also 100% 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:

  • For something more like a 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 Interiors Kitchenware, 47 Ballance Street, Gisborne (they also stock Full Circle 100% organic cotton dishcloths)
  • Get locally knitted/crocheted 100% cotton dishcloths from Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne.
  • The Japanese made Nawrap linen/cotton/rayon dishcloths are sold at Palembang Home, 126 Gladstone Road, Gisborne (unfortunately they come wrapped in plastic); and Interiors Kitchenware, 47 Ballance Street, Gisborne.
  • Fancy Bianca Lorenne 100% cotton cloths are sold at , 200 Palmerston Road, Gisborne
  • Cheap 100% cotton dishcloths sold at Hikurangi Foodmarket Four Square, 171 Waiomatatini Road, Ruatoria and Hughie Hughes Electrical, 147 Waiomatatini Road, Ruatoria.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

Refills of cleaning products

  • Big Bulk Barn, 460 Gladstone Road, Gisborne stocks refills of cleaning products that you can put in BYO bottles but note that these are not eco cleaners so not really ‘zero waste’ if you include the household drain as a waste stream (which we do).

Laundry

  • Eco Planet laundry powder comes in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get it from Four Square Mangapapa, 2 Winter Street, Gisborne.
  • Alternatives to plastic pegs – get stainless steel pegs at Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne or bamboo clothes pegs at PAK’nSAVE Gisborne, Gladstone Road, Gisborne; Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne; and , 200 Palmerston Road, Gisborne.

Ingredients for DIY cleaning products

  • Baking soda/vinegar – available unpackaged in bulk bins/refills at Big Bulk Barn, 460 Gladstone Road, Gisborne; and Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne.
  • Bars of castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) – available at Onatah, at Scope, 104 Roebuck Road, Gisborne (and even the metal cage soap shakers to froth them up in your sink just like your Nana used to do!). You can also get bars of Dr Bronner’s castile soap at Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne.

BATHROOM PRODUCTS

NB: you can get lots of zero waste alternatives for common bathroom items through Isla and Olive, an excellent business run from Gisborne by local Leigh with an online store where you can buy a range of useful products that are essential to zero waste living. If you’re local to Gisborne, you should be able to arrange to pick-up any purchases from Leigh, to save on postage waste/costs.

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 Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne; Unichem Bramwells Pharmacy, 232 Gladstone Road, Gisborne; PAK’nSAVE Gisborne, Gladstone Road, Gisborne, Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne; Elgin Shop n Save, 701 Childers Road, Gisborne.
  • Dental Floss – Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne 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 cardboard box – just pop the refill into your original metal/glass dispenser.

Unpackaged Bars of Soap

It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Gisborne/Tairāwhiti. The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:

  • Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne – locally made by The Bored Beekeepers
  • 48 Gladstone Road, Gisborne – stocks some organic soaps. Some have biodegradable glitter in them, but owner cannot confirm what glitter is made of.
  • Manutuke Herbs, 225 Gladstone Road, Gisborne
  • Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne
  • Onatah, at Scope, 104 Roebuck Road, Gisborne
  • Uawa Foodmarket, 51 Cook Street, Tolaga Bay – locally made Modina soap

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 couple of 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): Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne; and Unichem Bramwells Pharmacy, 232 Gladstone Road, Gisborne
  • Onatah, at Scope, 104 Roebuck Road, Gisborne stocks Dirty Hippie shampoo and conditioner bars

Reusable Menstrual Products

There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads.

  • Menstrual cups – stocked at Unichem Bramwells Pharmacy, 232 Gladstone Road, Gisborne; PAK’nSAVE Gisborne, Gladstone Road, Gisborne; Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne; and Cheeky Cherubs, 6 Oneroa Road, Wainui, Gisborne.
  • Reusable, washable pads are also available at Cheeky Cherubs, 6 Oneroa Road, Wainui, Gisborne.

Shaving

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) – if you like, you can apply this soap with a shaving brush, though you can just use your hands… You can buy razors, replacement blades and shaving brushes at Palembang Home, 126 Gladstone Road, Gisborne. Shaving brushes are also sold at Unichem Bramwells Pharmacy, 232 Gladstone Road, Gisborne; Peel Street Barber Shop, 16 Peel Street, Gisborne; and , 200 Palmerston Road, Gisborne.

Other
  • Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne; PAK’nSAVE Gisborne, Gladstone Road, Gisborne.
  • Toilet paper – Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne stocks Smartass, which are individually wrapped in compostable tissue paper; EcoSoft individual rolls wrapped in paper are sold at Four Square Ideal, 106 Wainui Road, Gisborne.
  • Reusable nappies – switching from disposable nappies to reusables (even if only part-time), will have a dramatic impact on the waste of any household with babies. If you’d like to know more about the options and what might work for you, check out Cheeky Cherubs, 6 Oneroa Road, Wainui, Gisborne, which specialises in products that can help with low-waste parenting. Owner Tarni is super lovely and would be more than happy to answer your questions, or help you find something that could work for you and your baby.
  • Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
    • Baking soda is available in bulk bins at Big Bulk Barn, 460 Gladstone Road, Gisborne; and Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne.
    • Unpackaged local beeswax is sold at Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne.
    • You can get sweet almond oil in your own bottle at Down to Earth, 131 Ormond Road, Gisborne.
    • Refills of remedies at Manutuke Herbs, Gladstone Road, Gisborne.

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 – in conjunction with the Gisborne District Council, the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne, intends to host some soon. If you’re a business chucking out food that is still edible but not saleable, keep an eye out for Gizzy Kai Rescuean organisation rescuing and redistributing food otherwise destined for landfill to those in need, such as food banks.
  • 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) – Tairāwhiti Environment Centre is looking to host one of these in late 2018, and if all goes well perhaps more after that too! If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to be recycled responsibly. You can do this also at Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne. 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.
  • What to do with unwanted items – the Gisborne District Council has a straightforward A-Z 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

  • Para Kore – Para Kore is an amazing organisation working with marae, kura and Māori institutions and businesses to transition towards zero waste. Their resources/services are free and their regional kaiārahi are totally fabulous. Para Kore’s Kaiārahi for Tūranganui a Kiwa is Pania Ruakere, and for Te Tai Rāwhiti it’s Pine Campbell, so get in touch if you’re keen to get your marae, kura or organisation involved!
  • The Non-Plastic Māori – Tina Ngata is an incredible stalwart of zero waste living, based in Ruatoria. Her blog is awesome and she’s a treasure trove of knowledge. Check her out!
  • Tairāwhiti Environment Centre, 386 Palmerston Road, Gisborne – TEC is growing to become a zero waste hub in Gisborne, running a whole heap of exciting programmes, with really knowledgable staff and an awesome on-site shop with handy, affordable items for less wasteful living. Definitely worth having a look-see or dropping in if you want some pointers on waste reduction.

Share and Exchange

  • Toy Libraries – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys and save money by joining a toy library! Check out the local Gisborne Community Toy Library.
  • Secondhand Sundayon the first Sunday of every month (except January), the Gisborne District Council organises Secondhand Sunday – an opportunity to give away household items you no longer want. You can also collect items you want from others for free. It’s basically like a free garage sale, but well advertised through the council’s and other local networks, and is a great way for the community to share around things that are no longer of use to their owners. Also check out the Facebook page for upcoming events.
  • Time Bank Gisborne – Gisborne 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? Although this timebank is not as active as it once was, it may simply be needing a few more keen members and people to get it organised. If this sounds like the kind of thing you might be into, get involved – your community will thank you for it!
  • Tairawhiti Swap a Crop – 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. This is one of many initiatives that the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre is looking at getting started.

Skills and Resourcefulness in Communities

  • Supergrans Tairāwhiti – living low-waste often requires the development of a whole host of skills that we don’t always get taught anymore – things like cooking from scratch, mending and repairing, and sewing, knitting and crocheting. Skills like budgeting and frugal living also crossover with the zero waste lifestyle. Supergrans is an excellent organisation that transmits many of these skills from older generations to younger ones. This intergenerational sharing of knowledge is so crucial for low-waste, savvy living. There are Supergrans branches all over the country, and the one in Tairāwhiti runs excellent programmes and workshops on topics that are very relevant to low-waste living – definitely check them out!
  • Tairāwhiti REAP – another place to develop awesome resilience/resourcefulness skills is the local REAP. Keep your eye out on workshops and activities that come up here, because many programmes will be relevant to low-waste living.
  • Tairāwhiti 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 all round the country 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!
  • Ka Pai Kaiti – a strong, long-running community development organisation that provides a range of opportunities and events for Kaiti and Gisborne residents to get involved in. Some of the projects they run are just great ways to be social and meet people, while others also provide opportunities to share and learn skills that help individuals to reduce their waste (for example, community gardening). Get involved if you see something you’re interested in, or even suggest some ideas for projects the group could run!
  • Te Aho Tū Roa – a fabulous organisation working with kura to run environmental education programmes from a kaupapa Māori perspective, including discussing waste issues and para kore principles. The rep for Te Tairāwhiti is Rawinia Kingi, so get in touch with her if you’re keen to see some para kore discussion (or other kōrero about protecting the taiao) happening in your local kura.
  • 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 Titirangi Community Garden, run by Ka Pai Kaiti. 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, check out groups like Supergrans and REAP that may run crafty and creative classes and activities from time to time. 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). Check out Plastic Bag Free Tairāwhiti and their Flag the Bag! project (which operates throughout Tairāwhiti). Up the coast there are sewing bees for reusable bags and zero waste activities running throughout marae – get in touch with Pine Campbell from Para Kore (see above) to get involved.


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