Zero Waste in Manawatū-Whanganui

Zero Waste in Manawatū-Whanganui

The Rubbish Trip kicked off our nationwide tour in Manawatū. After spending two weeks in Palmerston North and Feilding, running presentations, a workshop and recording some podcasts, we were thoroughly blown away by the array of zero waste options in Manawatū, and the general enthusiasm for, and awareness about, waste reduction that we found there. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to start our year and we left feeling very uplifted and energised (and special thanks to Liam’s Mum and Dad for making our stay so comfy!).

Since then, we’ve done a loop around the North Island – from Cape Reinga and back – and have now updated this guide to include Whanganui shops and community groups as well. Woohoo!

We do what we can to find as many shops, community groups and services as possible, but inevitably we do miss things, so please let us know, by commenting or dropping us an email, if there’s something that isn’t in this guide that should be!


Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers):

  • Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North – 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 honey, vinegars, oils and syrups), and sweets and treats. They also have nut butter extruders (peanut and cashew). Owners also own Angus Farm – if you ask in advance then they will package your meat in paper instead of plastic. The business is committed to affordable prices and sourcing as many of its items locally as possible.
  • Palmy Food City, 77 Cook St, Palmerston North – offers dried food in bulk, including grains, flours and legumes, and lots of spices.
  • Cook Street Mini Mart and Spice Shop, 99 Cook Street, Palmerston North – offers dried food in bulk, including nuts, seeds, grains, flours and legumes, and lots of spices.
  • Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North – offers dried food in bulk, including nuts, seeds, grains, flours and legumes, which you can get in your own bags if you walk to the end of the store where all the bulk ingredients are stored (if coming with own bags, try to avoid coming between 11am and 2:30pm, as the cafe is in full flight at this time of day). Wholegrain Organics’ packaged range is all packaged in cellophane, which is compostable in a home compost. They also deliver their produce around NZ (flat rate of $5 for Palmerston North and Feilding) and you can request no plastic packaging. Their plastic carry bags are so compostable they have a use-by date (!) The business strives to source its food locally, as much as possible.
  • Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – if you ask, they will fill BYO bags and containers with their range of dried food, but require a minimum quantity for each ingredient of 5 kg. Pre-packaged bulk items are packed in cellophane, which is compostable in a home compost. They offer olive oil and apple cider vinegar in bulk containers for refill, as well as some sweets and snacks like Loving Earth chocolate (wrapped in Econic home-compostable packaging) and unpackaged She Universe chocolate and truffles.
  • Himalayan Grocery Store, 114a College St, Palmerston North – sells a small range of loose/unpackaged spices, flours and legumes in bulk.
  • Jia Hua Asian Mart, 527 Main Street, Palmerston North – tucked in a corner of the shop are few bulk bins with cashews, peanuts, and mung, soy and red beans. Everything else is heavily packaged here.
  • Trade Aid, 25 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – Trade Aid’s chocolate range comes in packaging that is compostable in a home compost (made by Econic)! Their 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are 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.
  • Davis Trading, 313-315 Main Street, Palmerston North – unfortunately, pretty much everything in this store is heavily packaged. But, they do sell Trade Aid chocolate (which comes in Econic home-compostable packaging) and word on the street is that you can buy bulk coconut oil here in metal containers…
  • Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding – 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), and sweets and treats. They also have a peanut butter extruder, and they stock Trade Aid and Loving Earth chocolate and Ceres Organics Raw Goodness bars (which all come in home-compostable packaging).
  • Eclectic County, 36 Dundas Road, Sanson – stocks a wide range of locally made preserves and syrups in glass jars and bottles.
  • Feilding Farmers Market, Manchester Square, Feilding and Ashhurst Community Market, Ashhurst Library Grounds – there’s no two ways about it, if you want to get a good source of unpackaged, locally grown, high quality produce, farmers markets and community markets are the place to frequent! Just remember to BYO bags/containers. 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. For example, many market stallholders who do package in things like glass jars tend to be happy to take back empty jars for sterilisation and refill, so it’s always worth asking!

Drink options

  • Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell loose coffee beans/grounds and have them put in BYO bags/containers. Ebony Coffee, 208 Featherston St, Palmerston North, will happily put coffee straight from the roaster in your own bag/container! To avoid the pain of rejection, make sure your bag/container is clean. Also, you can find coffee beans in bulk at Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North, and Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road. The next best option, if you can’t get coffee in bulk, is to look out for coffee in Econic home-compostable packaging, for example, head to Blended Cafe & Smoothie Bar, 26 Fergusson Street, Feilding, which sells Kokako coffee (yum!), or you could go for Trade Aid‘s instant coffee, which you can get from the Trade Aid store, 25 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North, or at Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding.
  • Milk – Arran Farm Milk Shop, 174 Taonui Road – fresh, local, raw milk in a vending machine, $2.50 a litre. Fill into BYO bottles, or buy reusable glass bottle there for $2.50.
  • Beer – look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Brew Union Fillery, 39-41 Broadway Ave and 78 King St, Palmerston North, offers craft beer on tap so you can BYO bottle (and you’ll get a discount if you do too!). Also, Liquorland College St, 92 College St, Palmerston North, and Liquorland Feilding, 19 Bowen St (behind Feilding Hotel), Feilding, offer craft beer on tap so you can BYO bottle.
  • Drinking Chocolate – apart from buying cocoa powder from one of the bulk stores listed above, you can get Kokako drinking chocolate (which comes in Econic home-compostable packaging) from Blended Cafe & Smoothie Bar, 26 Fergusson Street, Feilding.

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – sells Munch Bags (Wellington-made reusable pouches for lunchboxes – an alternative to Glad Wrap), Meals in Steel stainless steel food containers, reusable metal water bottles and straws, and unpackaged beeswax which you can use to make your own beeswax wraps at home.
  • Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North – sells Ecostore’s wooden dishbrush, which has a fully compostable, removeable/replaceable head, and unpackaged beeswax which you can use to make your own beeswax wraps at home.
  • @cquisitions, The Plaza, Palmerston North – stocks reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil), and Cuppa Coffee Cups reusable takeaway coffee cups.
  • Steven’s, The Plaza, Palmerston North – stocks many different types of reusable water bottles, and wooden dishbrushes with replaceable, compostable heads (by Murchison Hume).
  • Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North – sells Dishy wooden/plant fibre dishbrushes and replaceable heads (although these are the fully enclosed designs that look difficult to remove the heads from), Wet It cotton/cellulose dish cloths, reusable metal water bottles, beeswax wraps, and Zuperzozial reusable takeaway coffee cups made from bamboo fibre.
  • George Street Collective44a George Street, Palmerston North – this shop showcases a range of very cool locally made clothes and household things, as well as treasures for kids, all made by a collective of local artists. A lot of the items are made from upcycled or natural materials. For zero waste living, they sell beeswax wraps and cotton dishcloths – however note that these are wrapped in plastic! But as they are only selling locally made things, it would be worth asking if they would be willing to forgo their plastic wrapping. They do sell bath bombs unpackaged, though 😉
  • Wildflour Kitchen, 317 Main Street, Palmerston North – apart from their freshly baked bread and pastries which you can get in your own bag, Wildflour also sells its own branded reusable takeaway coffee cups made by Express Cup.
  • Blended Cafe & Smoothie Bar, 26 Fergusson Street, Feilding – sells Keep Cup reusable takeaway coffee cups.
  • Kreative Mix NZ, 34 Fergusson Street, Feilding – sells locally made beeswax wraps.
  • Eclectic County, 36 Dundas Road, Sanson – stocks Bee Wrapt beeswax wrap (note that this brand comes wrapped in plastic).
  • Intrigue Boutique, 84 High Street, Bulls – stocks silicone pot/bowl covers (a reusable alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil).

Cleaning products

  • Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North – huge range of cleaning products in bulk, at affordable prices (FYI, that Steve’s stocks a whole range of liquid cleaning products, but they also stock the powder base from which you can make up liquid products – so much cheaper and less wasteful – all you do is add water when you get home). Also stocks bars of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap (which you can use as the base for homemade dishwashing/laundry liquid).
  • Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – sells Laundry Balls and Soap Nuts (NB soap nuts bag has inner plastic lining).
  • Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding – stock a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients that you can fill your own bottles and containers with.

Bathroom products

  • Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North – sells unpackaged Ecostore bars of soap, Go Bamboo home-compostable toothbrushes and earbuds, unpackaged beeswax (for making cosmetics), bulk cosmetic oils, such as Rosehip Oil, and bulk Witch Hazel.
  • Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – sells Greencane toilet paper, which comes in a fully compostable wrapper, unpackaged bars of soap, Go Bamboo home-compostable toothbrushes and earbuds, and unpackaged beeswax (for making cosmetics).
  • @quisitions, The Plaza, Palmerston North – sells unpackaged soap.
  • Whatakrakka Fancy Pads – Palmerston North local, Laura, makes and sells beautiful 100% designer cotton reusable pads with a bamboo fleece core.
  • Klassic Kuts and Beauty, 16 Broadway Avenue, Palmerston North – stocks metal, reusable shaving razors as well as the metal blade refills (the blades come in a cardboard box).
  • Kreative Mix NZ, 34 Fergusson Street, Feilding – sells a range of locally made soaps and cosmetics, which although are packaged, may be able to be supplied without packaging (or in reusable/returnable packaging) if you ask nicely!
  • Eclectic County, 36 Dundas Road, Sanson – stocks bars of unpackaged soap.
  • Scullys Lavender Gift Shop, 104 Bridge Street, Bulls – stocks big bars of unpackaged soap.

Tricky things, community groups and supportive networks

  • In My Kitchen – on her excellent Facebook page, Palmerston North local, Shelley Wilson, offers in-depth and constantly updated local zero waste information (as well as handy zero waste tips and tricks). In My Kitchen now has an online store where you can buy a range of useful products that are essential to zero waste living, many of which are beautifully made by Shelley herself. Check it out!
  • Ferguson St Recycling Centre, 545-573 Ferguson St, Palmerston North – will take lots of hard-to-recycle items, including e-waste.
  • Just Zilch, 248 Featherston Street, Palmerston North – rescues and redistributes food otherwise destined for landfill. Check out their Free Store if you’re low on supplies and struggling to make ends meet. Or, do you have food or toiletries to donate? Apart from taking food from businesses, Just Zilch also takes donations from individuals. Keep checking our page for our upcoming podcast with Just Zilch’s founder, Rebecca Culver.
  • Zero Waste Academy – if you are interested in the technical, research side of zero waste, you will be pleased to know that New Zealand’s Zero Waste Academy (ZWA) runs out of Massey University’s Manawatū Campus. The ZWA is currently spearheaded by the formidable Jonathan Hannon.
  • Kawakawa Rd Transfer Station, 125A Kawakawa Road, Feilding – will take hard-to-recycle items, including e-waste.
  • Reclaimed Timber Traders, 4/5 Matipo Lane, Palmerston North – this amazing organisation rescues and restores timber otherwise destined for landfill. Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming podcast with them!
  • Rosco’s Bulk Yard, 36 Gladstone St, Feilding – offer bulk garden and landscape supplies. They also accept Green Waste!
  • Community gardens – there are some really awesome community gardens around Manawatū. We were really impressed by the Ashhurst Community Library Garden, set up by RECAP (the Society for the Resilience and Engagement of the Community of Ashhurst and Pohangina), and the Marton Community Garden, set up by Project Marton. Anyone is welcome to come down to these gardens and try their hand at gardening and growing food, or to help others to do so (a great way to get food without packaging!) At both gardens you can also learn a thing or two about composting, which helps to reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill. In addition to fruit, veg and herbs, the Ashhurst Community Library Garden is also home to gorgeous flowers planted by local children, which locals are also welcome to pick from (in case you wanted to gift a loved one some flowers, but wanted to avoid all the packaging!!) We totally recommend getting down to your local community garden, helping out, meeting some rad peeps, and getting some kai 😉


Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers)

  • Bulk Barn149A Somme Parade – much like a Bin Inn, this store stocks a huge range of bulk bins full of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, flours, sugars, baking ingredients, beans/legumes, spices, sweets, baking soda, and even pet food. Also provides bulk liquid foods such as sauces, jams, oils, vinegars, and syrups, and even has a peanut butter extruder.
  • Geeta’s Spices & Veggies, 69 Guyton Street – centrally located Indian grocery store which offers a wide range of unpackaged dried food in bulk, including grains, flours, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruit, flours, lots of spices and baking ingredients – even zero waste essential items like baking soda.
  • Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue – for such a small space, this organic store has one of the most extensive ranges of unpackaged bulk foods of any such store we have seen! In bulk bins, they stock nuts, flours, grains, beans/legumes, spices, dried fruit, sugars & powders, cocoa powder, seeds, even dried edible seaweed (and more!). They also sell chocolates in bulk, and Ceres Organics Raw Goodness Bars (which come in Econic home-compostable packaging).
  • Whanganui Spice (old Moshim’s), 90-92 Puriri Street – this Indian grocery store stocks a range of bulk bins with spices, beans, grains, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. They also sell pickles and pastes packed in store – be sure to ask if you can get some in your own container.
  • New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave – the only place in town you can get Trade Aid chocolate (which comes in Econic home-compostable packaging)! Also sells Ceres Organics Raw Goodness Bars (also in Econic packaging).
  • Thistle Sweet Shop, 136 Victoria Street – sells lots of unpackaged sweets, choc truffles, fudge – just BYO bags and containers!
  • Canaan Honey, 176 Mosston Road, Westmere – BYO jar/container to fill with fresh honey!
  • The River Traders (market), Moutoa Quay – as well as plenty of packaging-free greens, fruits and veges, we also found beautiful unpackaged bread, sauerkraut in glass jars (byo jar), lots of sweets + cakes + slices unpackaged, and even unpackaged pet food at this awesome market!

Drink options

  • Coffee – Havoc Coffee Roasting, 73 Westmere Station Road RD1, will happily fill your own bag/container with unpackaged beans – you can either visit the roastery, or you can find them at the River Traders Market. Alternatively, you can get unpackaged coffee beans from Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade (which also has a grinder), or to New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave. Unfortunately, we can’t say whether any of this coffee is fair trade.
  • Teas – Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui has a great selection of unpackaged loose-leaf teas (you can have a BYO jar/container weighed before filling with tea straight into it). Bulk Barn149A Somme Parade sells standard black tea both in tea bags and loose-leaf (we recommend going for loose-leaf where possible because tea bags generally have plastic in them).
  • Other – Bulk Barn149A Somme Parade sells a range of drinks in bulk, like drinking chocolate and even soda syrups. You can find Kokako drinking chocolate (which comes in Econic home-compostable packaging) at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue.

Kitchen/food packaging alteratives

  • Springvale Garden Centre, 18 Devon Road – sells reusable metal straws.
  • Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue – sells beeswax wraps and Ecostore wooden dishbrushes with replaceable, compostable heads.
  • The River Traders (market), Moutoa Quay – you can find Honeywrap beeswax wraps here, as well as unpackaged beeswax to make your own wraps! The people selling the bread were also giving away Tumeke Peke reusable bags made by prison inmates – ka pai!
  • Petré House, 56 Victoria Ave – stocks reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (a great alternative to glad wrap and even tin foil for roasting).
  • Country Lane Originals55a Victoria Ave – sells Bianca Lorenne cotton washcloths that would double as dish cloths/wipes, as well as habitat 101 cotton/cellulose reusable and compostable dish cloths/wipes (although these ones are wrapped in plastic, unfortunately!).
  • Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave – sells Swedish kitchen culture cotton/cellulose reusable and compostable dish cloths/wipes dishcloth (also wrapped in plastic unfortuantely!).
  • Crucci Magic, 61 Victoria Ave – if you want to try your hand at knitting or crocheting your own dishcloth, we’d recommend getting organic cotton, which you can buy at this store.

Cleaning Products

  • Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade – stock a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients that you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
  • Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue – sells bars of Dr Bronner’s castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid.
  • New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave – sells Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powders, both of which come in a cardboard box (no plastic lining) and with a cardboard scoop.

Bathroom Products

  • Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue – sells Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden handles that are home compostable, home compostable cotton buds, and unpackaged bars of soap.
  • The River Traders (market), Moutoa Quay – someone is definitely selling unpackaged soap here (and probably other cosmetics!). You can get unpackaged beeswax here too, which you can use in homemade cosmetics.
  • Unpackaged Soap? – you can’t miss the stuff in Whanganui. Find various sorts unpackaged soap at Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave; Victoria’s Treasures, 42 Victoria Ave; Bamboo on the Quay, 35 Taupo Quay; The Burrow, 45 Taupo Quay; and Springvale Garden Centre, 18 Devon Road.

Tricky things, community groups and supportive networks

  • The Koha Shed88 Duncan Street – this amazing community asset provides support to those in need in all manner of ways. It is a space where household items are donated and then given away, where a thriving garden produces fresh veges for the community as well as an opportunity for people to learn a thing or two about growing food (a great way to get kai without packaging!), and where people in desperate situations can find support and a helping hand. The Koha Shed’s offerings help to mitigate wasteful consumption through sharing resources. It is community-led and ever-expanding, so keep an eye on their upcoming projects, and get involved as a volunteer, or even just pay them a visit!
  • Sustainable Whanganui, 83 Maria Place – Whanganui’s ‘all-purpose’ environment centre provides a diverse array of services, workshops and facilities to help the community become more sustainable and resilient. Some of their flagship projects are the Reuse Academy, where valuable materials that might have otherwise gone to landfill are rescued donated and (you guessed it) reused or passed on for all sorts of purposes. Some of the things they collect and use are textiles, jars, broken crockery for mosaics, and a range of things for arts and crafts. Some of Sustainable Whanganui’s other projects include planting fruit trees in schools, helping events to achieve zero waste, and the Green Bikes bicycle repair workshop which rescues and reconditions discarded bikes (as well as supporting members of the community to learn basic bike maintenance).
  • Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre (WRRC), 79-81 Maria Place – as well as being the location for Sustainable Whanganui and its many offerings, the WRRC provides an extensive recycling drop-off station. As well as everyday recyclables like glass, metal, paper, cardboard and plastics, you can also drop-off tyres, waste oil, e-waste (including vehicle batteries), clothing and whiteware for recycling or safe disposal. Green waste is also accepted here and the centre is currently investigating options to get it composted. The WRRC was made possible by a fantastic collaboration between Tupoho Whanau Trust, Whanganui District Council and Sustainable Whanganui.
  • Heritage Food Crops Research Trust, 126A Springvale Road, Whanganui – a treasure in Whanganui, run by the incredible Mark Christensen, researching the beneficial, health-giving properties of various strains of heritage crops. You can volunteer at the trust, to help Mark raise and grow the seedlings he tests. But ALSO because Mark is so keen for more and more people to plant and use these crops (because they are so good for us all!) if you would like to have any heritage seeds from Heritage Food Crops Research Trust, all you need to do is ask and you can have them for free (yes, really). Give Mark a call, or call in, or send a pre-paid and pre-addressed envelope with your seed requests. Planting and growing these crops at home or in your community garden means more food that you can get without the packaging!
  • Whanganui Toy Library, 142 London Street – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys, have access to a range of quality toys, and save money by registering in your local toy library!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *