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!
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!
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!
- 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) – just BYO jar! The business is committed to affordable prices and sourcing as many of its items locally as possible.
- 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.
- 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.
- Moshim’s Discount House, 401 College Street, Palmerston North – offers dried food in bulk, including nuts, seeds, grains, flours and legumes, and lots of spices.
- 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.
- 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. All Bin Inn stores around NZ offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers.
- Healthnuts Wholefoods, 26 High Street, Dannevirke – good range of dried wholefoods in bulk, including flour, grains, legumes, herbs, spices, nuts, dried fruit, sugar and condiments.
- Supermarkets – all major supermarkets in Manawatū have well stocked bulk bin/pick and mix sections with wholefoods (BYO bags for these) – New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin, for example, has quite an extensive range that even includes pet food! PAK’nSAVE Palmerston North, 327 Ferguson Street also has an extensive bulk aisle. However supermarket bulk aisles are pretty expensive, often more so than equivalent ingredients in packets (bah!), and more so than the bulk bins at places like Steve’s or Bin Inn.
The following stores 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!
- Palmy Food City, 77 Cook St, Palmerston North
- Deli-ca-Sea, 298 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – this store is happy to put unpackaged fish and seafood into BYO containers here.
- Mr Seafood, 709 Main Street, Palmerston North.
- Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert Street, Palmerston North – the owners also own Angus Farm – if you ask in advance then they will package your meat in paper instead of plastic. They also stock Bostock’s organic free-range chicken, which comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
- Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – stocks Bostock’s organic free-range chicken, which comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
- Paul’s Meat Centre, 206 Oxford Street, Levin
- New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin – this store sells whole fish in a self-serve cabinet, so get some in your own container 😉
- 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 Melody’s New World, Corner Broadway Ave and Albert Street, Palmerston North; New World Pioneer, 179-197 Main Street, Palmerston North; New World Foxton, Cnr Whyte Street and Main Street, Foxton; New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin (also does clams); and New World Dannevirke, Denmark Street, Dannevirke.
- Try your luck with BYO containers at the supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more – all unpackaged. Some supermarkets will allow you to BYO container for these goods, while others won’t. It can be hit and miss, often depending on the staff member you talk to. For example, New World and PAK’nSAVE supermarkets have a flexible franchise model which means they can usually make their own in store decisions about whether to allow BYO containers or not, whereas pretty much any Countdown will not accept BYO containers. It’s always worth asking though!
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).
- Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North – flour for the bread is milled instore, and the grain is sourced as locally as possible – awesome!
- Wildflour, 317 Main Street, Palmerston North
- BABCO – Brick Artisan Bread Company, 95 Albert Street, Palmerston North
- The Sponge Kitchen Bakery & Cafe, 184 Oxford Street, Levin – sells some unpackaged bread rolls, but not loaves.
- 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 – check out this list of local markets, though some of our faves are the 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!
- 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. You can also get the chocolate at Davis Trading, 313-315 Main Street, Palmerston North and Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding.
- Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – sweets and snacks like Loving Earth chocolate (wrapped in home-compostable packaging) and unpackaged She Universe chocolate and truffles.
- Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding – also stocks Loving Earth chocolate and Ceres Organics Raw Goodness bars (which both 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.
- 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 – there are a couple of options for zero waste milk, depending on where you are located in the area. Around Palmerston and Manawatū, check out Arran Farm Milk Shop, 174 Taonui Road – fresh, local, raw milk in a vending machine, $2.50 a litre. Get milk from the machine straight into BYO bottles, or buy reusable glass bottle there for $2.50. Alternatively, if you’re in Horowhenua, check out MannaMilk, this is a raw milk company which delivers raw milk all across the Lower North Island, including a drop-off point in Levin. The milk is delivered in single-use plastic bottles, which isn’t zero waste. HOWEVER, you can request that the milk be dropped-off in a reusable 10L pail, which you can pour into BYO bottles. As this is a large quantity of milk, you can either get a lot and freeze some, or go in with a group of others and share the milk and the cost between you. You can see MannaMilk’s delivery routes, days and drop-off points here. You can also get milk powder from bulk bins at Steve’s Wholefoods and Bin Inn Feilding and whip up your own milk at home!
- 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 Pioneer Highway, 752 Pioneer Highway, Palmerston North; Liquorland College St, 92 College St, Palmerston North, Liquorland Albert St, 105 Albert Street, Palmerston North, Liquorland Feilding, 19 Bowen St (behind Feilding Hotel), Feilding and Big Barrel, 147 High Street, Dannevirke 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
NB: you can get lots of zero waste alternatives for common kitchen/food packaging items through In My Kitchen excellent business run from Palmerston North by local Shelley Wilson with 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. If you’re local to Palmerston North, you should be able to arrange to pick-up any purchases from Shelley, to save on postage waste.
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North; Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North; Ebony Coffee, 208 Featherston St, Palmerston North; Steven’s, The Plaza, Palmerston North (many different types); De Molen Windmill, 96a Main Street, Foxton; Holly & Ivy, 74 Main Street, Foxton; Not So Shabby, 78 Main Street, Foxton; Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, 22 Harbour Street, Foxton; Farmers Levin, The Mall, 191 Oxford Street, Levin; New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin; Gifts and Souvenirs, 150 High Street, Dannevirke.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups:
- Find the Keep Cup brand at Ebony Coffee, 208 Featherston St, Palmerston North, Blended Cafe & Smoothie Bar, 26 Fergusson Street, Feilding, The Forge Restaurant, 139 High Street, Dannevirke
- Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at Ebony Coffee, 208 Featherston St, Palmerston North, @cquisitions, The Plaza, Palmerston North; Flax Gift Gallery, 41 Main Street, Foxton, Farmers Levin, The Mall, 191 Oxford Street, Levin and The Catching Pen Cafe, 78 High Street, Dannevirke.
- Get the supremely leak-proof Frank Green cups at Ebony Coffee, 208 Featherston St, Palmerston North
- Zuperzozial reusable takeaway coffee cups made from bamboo fibre are sold at Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North.
- Wildflour Kitchen, 317 Main Street, Palmerston North sells its own branded reusable takeaway coffee cups made by Express Cup.
- Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, 22 Harbour Street, Foxton stock their own branded glass reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Gifts and Souvenirs, 150 High Street, Dannevirke stocks Avanti reusable coffee cups (both a porcelain cup and a double wall insulated stainless steel cup).
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 Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North.
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 produce bags at Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North, New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin and PAK’nSAVE Levin, 508 Queen Street East, Levin. If you’d like to make your own reusable bags, bulk bin bags and produce bags, check out the Levana Fibre Factory Shop, 36/38 Cambridge Street South, Levin and Fox’s Cottage Quilting and Knitting, 1 Purcell Street, Foxton, as both sell cheap off-cuts of 100% cotton fabrics (be careful at Levana though as many of their fabrics have poly, i.e. plastic, in them).
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 Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North; Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North; Not So Shabby, 78 Main Street, Foxton; and Farmers Levin, The Mall, 191 Oxford Street, Levin (though these are packaged in plastic unfortunately!).
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wrap – available at Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North, George Street Collective, 44a George Street, Palmerston North (wrapped in plastic, though!), Kreative Mix NZ, 34 Fergusson Street, Feilding (locally made) and Eclectic County, 36 Dundas Road, Sanson (also wrapped in plastic). 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 Cherry Pie Quilt Patch, 204 Oxford Street, Levin; Levana Fibre Factory Shop, 36/38 Cambridge Street South, Levin; Fox’s Cottage Quilting and Knitting, 1 Purcell Street, Foxton; Antique Fabric & Lace, 70 Vogel Street, Woodville; Krista Studio, 14 High Street, Dannevirke. Get unpackaged beeswax at Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North and Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North.
- Reusable sandwich bags – you can get Munch reusable sandwich bags from Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North.
- 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 these at @cquisitions, The Plaza, Palmerston North, Intrigue Boutique, 84 High Street, Bulls and Gifts and Souvenirs, 150 High Street, Dannevirke.
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North, Steven’s, The Plaza, Palmerston North, Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North, Healthnuts Wholefoods, 26 High Street, Dannevirke and Gifts and Souvenirs, 150 High Street, Dannevirke (also a coconut fibre scrubby and and other organic scrubbing brushes).
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 traditional dishcloth sponge, check out the Wet-it! 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life) which are available at Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North and Gifts and Souvenirs, 150 High Street, Dannevirke.
- Alternatively, find 100% cotton dishcloths (subject to availability as they are handknitted by a local) at George Street Collective, 44a George Street, Palmerston North (though last we checked they were wrapped in plastic). 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. 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 😉
- Four Square Woodville, 90 Vogel Street, Woodville stocks Kiwi Homes 100% cotton dishcloths.
Refills of 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).
- Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients that you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
- Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powder both come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get one or the other (or both) from Melody’s New World, Corner Broadway Ave and Albert Street, Palmerston North; New World Pioneer, 179-197 Main Street, Palmerston North; PAK’nSAVE Palmerston North, 327 Ferguson Street; New World Foxton, Cnr Whyte Street and Main Street, Foxton; New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin; Four Square Woodville, 90 Vogel Street, Woodville; and New World Dannevirke, Denmark Street, Dannevirke.
- Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North – sells Laundry Balls and Soap Nuts (NB soap nuts bag has inner plastic lining).
- Non-plastic clothes pegs – Bamboo pegs are available at Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North.
Ingredients for DIY cleaning products
- Baking soda – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North; Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding; and Healthnuts Wholefoods, 26 High Street, Dannevirke.
- Bars of castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) – Dr. Bronner’s castile bars are available at Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North. Also, there are NZ made mini castile bars of soap available at Knit World Levin, 197 Oxford Street, Levin.
NB: you can get lots of zero waste alternatives for common bathroom items through In My Kitchen excellent business run from Palmerston North by local Shelley Wilson with 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. If you’re local to Palmerston North, you should be able to arrange to pick-up any purchases from Shelley, to save on postage waste.
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 Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North, Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North; Melody’s New World, Corner Broadway Ave and Albert Street, Palmerston North; Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North; New World Pioneer, 179-197 Main Street, Palmerston North; Not So Shabby, 78 Main Street, Foxton; New World Foxton, Cnr Whyte Street and Main Street, Foxton; New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin, Healthnuts Wholefoods, 26 High Street, Dannevirke, and New World Dannevirke, Denmark Street, Dannevirke.
- Floss – Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North 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, Urban Charm also stocks 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. The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North (EcoStore)
- Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North
- @quisitions, The Plaza, Palmerston North
- Kreative Mix NZ, 34 Fergusson Street, Feilding
- Eclectic County, 36 Dundas Road, Sanson
- Scullys Lavender Gift Shop, 104 Bridge Street, Bulls
- Go Natural Health, 178 Oxford St, Levin (Global Soap)
- There is the locally (Levin) made Muse Creations soap – just ask and see if you can purchase their soap without the packaging!
- Healthnuts Wholefoods, 26 High Street, Dannevirke
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! Look out for 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). We saw it stocked at: Unichem Roses Pharmacy, Corner Albert St and Broadway Ave, Palmerston North; and Farmers, The Plaza, Palmerston North
Reusable Menstrual Products
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads.
- Menstrual cups – stocked at Melody’s New World, Corner Broadway Ave and Albert Street, Palmerston North; New World Pioneer, 179-197 Main Street, Palmerston North; PAK’nSAVE Palmerston North, 327 Ferguson Street; New World Foxton, Cnr Whyte Street and Main Street, Foxton; and New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin.
- Reusable, washable pads – check out Whatakrakka Fancy Pads, made by Palmerston North local, Laura – beautiful 100% designer cotton reusable pads with a bamboo fleece core.
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. You can buy razors and replacement blades from Klassic Kuts and Beauty, 16 Broadway Avenue, Palmerston North. Shaving brushes are available at most pharmacies.
- Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North; Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North; and Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North.
- Toilet Paper – Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North sells Greencane toilet paper, which comes in a home compostable wrapper.
- Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
- Baking Soda is an essential ingredient in lots of homemade toiletries such as toothpaste and deodorant, as well as a great general cleaner when teamed up with vinegar. You can get it unpackaged in bulk bins from Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North; Bin Inn Feilding, 85 Kimbolton Road, Feilding; and Healthnuts Wholefoods, 26 High Street, Dannevirke.
- Unpackaged beeswax is available at Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North; and Organic Living Health Foods, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North
- Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North also stocks bulk cosmetic oils, such as Rosehip Oil, and bulk Witch Hazel.
- Refillable Cosmetics – Kreative Mix NZ, 34 Fergusson Street, Feilding sells a range of locally made cosmetics, which although are packaged, may be able to be supplied without packaging (or in reusable/returnable packaging) if you ask nicely!
TRICKY THINGS, COMMUNITY GROUPS AND SUPPORTIVE NETWORKS
- 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 that are run periodically by different groups around the region, including RECAP (Ashhurst), Supergrans Manawatū, and Palmerston North City Council’s Eco Design Adviser, Dr. Nelson Lebo! Linking up with your local community garden (see below) is also a great way to pick up some composting skills, or perhaps the community garden compost has space for your food scraps! If you’re a business chucking out food that is still edible but not saleable, get in touch with Just Zilch, 248 Featherston Street, Palmerston North, who rescue and redistribute food otherwise destined for landfill through their Free Store or to NGOs operating throughout the region. 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.
- 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 Ferguson St Recycling Centre, 545-573 Ferguson St, Palmerston North (see details here); Kawakawa Rd Transfer Station, 125A Kawakawa Road, Feilding; most of the Rangitikei Waste Transfer Stations (see details here); and Foxton Transfer Station and Resource Recovery Park, Harbour Street, Foxton (see details here). For some of these items, you will have to pay to recycle them (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.
- Reclaimed Timber Traders, 86 Bourke Street, Palmerston North (at the Awapuni Resource Recovery Park) – this amazing organisation rescues and restores timber otherwise destined for landfill. If you need timber or wood for any kind of project, see if you can get some from Reclaimed Timber Traders (RTT) rather than going somewhere like Mitre 1o to buy it brand new. If you’re after furniture or a bespoke wooden item, check out the RTT workshop (as they have lots of secondhand furniture up for grabs), or the goodies that volunteers at RTT have made out of rescued timber, or ask if they’ll make a bespoke item for you out of the rescued timber they’ve got on-hand, on-site. If you’d like to know more about RTT, check out our podcast interview with founder Robert Scott.
- Rosco’s Bulk Yard, 36 Gladstone St, Feilding – offer bulk garden and landscape supplies. They also accept Green Waste!
- Marton Re-Use Drop Off Shop, Marton Transfer Station, King Street, Marton – if you have items you no longer want but are still saleable, bring them to the drop off shop at the Marton Transfer Station rather than chucking them out. If you need new items or bric-a-brac, check out the drop off shop to see if you can find it here first, rather than going straight to buying brand new.
- Community gardens – there are some really awesome community gardens around Manawatū/Rangitikei/Horowhenua. 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. Greenheart Hub in Foxton is also developing a community garden with a view to offering workshops too and is keen on volunteers for working bees. At all community gardens 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 most 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 😉
- Greenheart Hub, Tote Building, Foxton Racecourse – a wonderful organisation in Foxton that is transforming the Tote building in the Foxton Racecourse into a sustainability centre, aiming to help minimize waste in a creative form, educate in Sustainable Living practices and promote the arts. The hub has already been creating stunning (and functional) creations out of upcycled plastic bags (they need to be seen to be believed), and intends to run workshops that will help with aspects of sustainable living (including zero waste). Also in the pipeline is the creation of a community garden from which to run hands-on horticultural education. This organisation is certainly one to watch and to be involved with if you live in Horowhenua District!
- Refreshed – a creative, funky Levin-based business creating all kinds of products out of various waste materials, for example, using waste perspex and waste window blinds to make items such as jewellery. If you’re keen for some upcycled creations (in pretty impressive, upcycled packaging), check this business out. Also, if you’re a business with a fairly regular type of waste, you might want to get in touch with Refreshed to see if they’d be keen to take this waste from you and develop a product line out of it – win, win!
- RECAP (Society for the Resilience and Engagement of the Community of Ashhurst and Pohangina) – a totally inspirational volunteer-run charitable society that runs workshops and services with the aim of building community, caring for the living environment and ecology, and developing new skills and connections to make the region sustainable, resilient and self-reliant. While RECAP focuses on Ashhurst and Pohangina, individuals from further afield are more than welcome to attend and take part in almost all the programmes and activities RECAP runs. RECAP runs many workshops that can help with low-waste living – from preserving and fermenting, through to natural building, soap making and composting. It’s worth perusing their website to see the impressive range of programmes, activities and workshops they run.
- Menzshed – Menzsheds provide 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. Check out this list to find the nearest Menzshed to you.
- Supergrans – 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 Supergran branches in both Levin and Palmerston North, both running excellent programmes and workshops on topics that are very relevant to low-waste living – definitely check them out!
- 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.
- Food Sharing – getting better at sharing our excess food with each other not only reduces food waste, it also opens up access to unpackaged fruit, vege and other homemade goodies (as nature intended). Levin has some great food sharing systems going, including the Community Fruit & Veg Stand, 49 Gordon Place and The Sharing Shelf, Waiopehu College, where anyone can drop off fruit, vege and other produce, and anyone can take, no questions asked. The local Supergrans have also launched a monthly Crop Swap, every Thursday from 11am-12:30pm at 8 Bath Street, Levin. 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.
- 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.
- In My Kitchenrun from Palmerston North by local Shelley Wilson, In My Kitchen not only features an online store of useful products that are essential to zero waste living, but the Facebook page is a treasure trove of information. Shelley is constantly sharing in-depth and local zero waste tips and tricks on a huge range of low-waste living topics in an accessible, down-to-earth, and fun way!
Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers)
- Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk bins/unpackaged (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, legumes, flours, dried fruit, sundried tomatoes and pasta), a range of spices, sweets, treats and snacks, and several liquid foods like vinegars, oils, syrups, honeys etc. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! All Bin Inns across the country offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers, and you can ask for a loyalty stamp card to reward your repeat visits.
- Bulk Barn, 149A 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!
- 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 Barn, 149A 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 Barn, 149A 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 Originals, 55a 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.
- 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.
- 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 Shed, 88 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!