Zero Waste in Marlborough

Zero Waste in Marlborough

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.

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

  • Sustainance, 58 Hampden Street, Picton – a beautiful little organic wholefoods refillery in a residential part of town. Here they sell a range of bulk unpackaged foods such as grains, legumes, seeds, spices, nuts, dried fruit, sugars, flours, pepper and salt, and even baking soda. They also have liquid refills of apple syrup, rice syrup, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. You can also get fresh organic produce, which the owners pick for you straight out of their garden on-site (you can’t get fresher than that)!  Just have you BYO bags at the ready 🙂 Also available are freshly laid eggs in a returnable egg carton.
  • Fresh Choice, 100 High Street, Picton – offers a few low-waste options not found elsewhere in Picton, including bulk bins/pick and mix candy, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruit, grains and snacks (but on the expensive side of the bulk food spectrum). They also sell loose salad leaves, fresh bread unpackaged, and live mussels, which can all be put into a byo bag/container.
  • Trade Aid, 54 High Street, Picton, – Trade Aid’s entire chocolate range comes in the amazing 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.
  • Real Food Grocer, 32 Maxwell Road, Blenheim – this place is AWESOME! Has a huge range of bulk bins stocking nuts, snacks, dried fruit, legumes, pasta, grains, flours, seeds, powders (incl cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda), cereal, chocolate chips + buttons, sweets, spices and pet food. It also has a peanut butter extruder (just BYO jar to fill up!) and a massive range of liquid bulk syrups, honeys, jams, molasses, sauces, oils, and vinegars. The store also sells Trade Aid and Loving Earth chocolate (both of which come in Econic home compostable packaging).
  • Benge & Co Green Grocers/Guyton’s Seafood, 20 Grove Road, Blenheim – a very affordable joint grocery store. As well as a great range of produce, Benge & Co has deli food (e.g. olives), refill olive oil, and loose salad leaves, all of which you can put in your own container/bottle/bag. They also sell Trade Aid and Loving Earth chocolate (both of which come in Econic home-compostable packaging). Guyton’s sells various seafood (incl. smoked mussels!) unpackaged at the deli, just byo containers.
  • BB Foods, 31 Scott Street, Blenheim – stocks a range of spices, nuts, legumes, grains, flours and sugar in bulk bins.
  • Mr. Asian, 3 Twelfth Lane, Blenheim – stocks various types of rice (including sushi rice) in bulk bins.
  • Anita’s Organic Store, 46B Wynen Street, Blenheim – stocks bars of Trade Aid chocolate (wrapped in Econic home compostable packaging). Although the store has lots of bulk bins, everything inside them is repackaged. The repackaging used is either brown paper, which is home compostable, or cellophane. When we asked, staff were unable to confirm whether the cellophane used was 100% cellulose – and therefore home compostable – or if it had some petroleum in. If you shop here regularly, it could be worth conversing with Anita and staff about whether they would consider putting their bulk items into BYO bags/containers (rather than their own packaging), or start using the bulk bins again.
  • Meaters of Marlborough, Corner of Litchfield Street and Maxwell Road, Blenheim – they don’t pre-package most of their freshly butchered meat, so BYO container to get fresh cuts put in. They also sell local olive oil on tap for refilling your bottles (make sure you request, when handing the empty bottle over, that they don’t wrap the bottle up afterwards in brown paper, which they will otherwise do!)
  • Westmeat, Corner of Alabama and Main South Roads, Blenheim – although a lot of the meat is already packaged in plastic, the butchers are happy for customers to BYO container for what isn’t packaged.
  • BV Gourmet, 2A Park Terrace, Blenheim – stocks loose dried chillis and chipotle unpackaged and you can refill BYO bottles with high-end extra virgin olive oil. At the deli, BYO containers for unpackaged olives, preserved lemons and other nice deli food.
  • New World, 4 Freswick Street, Blenheim – sells a good range of loose greens (spinach, watercress, rocket, mesclun and lettuce), as well as live mussels, and Trade Aid sugar and chocolate (which both come in home compostable packaging).
  • J Bush & Sons Honey, 168 Old Renwick Road, Blenheim – get BYO jars filled with honey here for a very reasonable price.
  • Taylor Pass Honey Co, 12 Taylor Pass Road, Blenheim – five varieties of locally made honey on tap! You even save money if you BYO container.
  • Renwick Meat Market, 82 High Street, Renwick – get fresh cuts of meat into a BYO container at this butchery.
  • Supervalue78 High Street, Renwick – sells Ceres Organics raw goodness bars (which come in Econic home compostable packaging).
  • Marlborough Food Network – an awesome, affordable, totally local fruit and veg box scheme run out of Joocy Loocy, 4 John Street, Blenheim. A standard box is $25 a week. Fruit and vege comes in a reusable crate and NO plastic packaging is used. There are some paper bags, but you can request that even these are left out, if you wish. This is a great, flexible, affordable fruit and veg box service that prioritises local produce and really cares about reducing waste – what more could you want?!
  • 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! 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. At the Marlborough Artisan Market, 32 Wynen Street, Blenheim, you can find stallholders selling local honeys and preserves in glass jars – ask whether you can return the jars for reuse. At the Marlborough Farmers’ Market, 24 Maxwell Road, Blenheim, you can get some locally made bread and produce without the packaging. But we recommend asking to see if you can get your fave goods unpackaged – it’s always worth progressing the conversation!

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. For a 100% Fairtrade, organic option, check out Ritual, 10 Maxwell Road, Blenheim who are happy to fill BYO bags/containers with their freshly roasted beans. The coffee roaster CPR Coffee HQ, 18 Wynen Street, Blenheim will also do this for you, or you can do it yourself at the bulk sections in Fresh Choice, 100 High Street, Picton, and New World, 4 Freswick Street, Blenheim. Alternatively, if you are into instant coffee, Trade Aid‘s instant coffee comes in Econic home compostable packaging – you can find this at Trade Aid, 54 High Street, Picton and Anita’s Organic Store, 46B Wynen Street, Blenheim.
  • Tea – you can choose from a great range of unpackaged loose leaf teas (from black tea through to herbal varieties) at Sustainance, 58 Hampden Street, Picton.
  • Drinking Chocolate/Cocoa – you can find cocoa in bulk at Sustainance, 58 Hampden Street, Picton and Real Food Grocer, 32 Maxwell Road, Blenheim.
  • Beer – we found two spots where you can fill your own rigger with beer on tap in Blenheim: The Bottle-O Redwood, 66 Cleghorn Street, which does standard cheap beers on tap, e.g. Tui, Speights, Lion Red etc. as well as Renaissance (note minimum purchase is 2L); and Wino’s, 49 Grove Road, which has a range of craft beer on tap.
  • Milk – unfortunately, Marlborough’s only milk vending machine had to close down a couple of years ago. However, if you like goat’s milk, head to Real Food Grocer, 32 Maxwell Road, Blenheim, for local goat’s milk in a glass bottle. What’s even better about this milk is that you can bring back the bottle for a $2 refund and the company will sterilize and reuse it – awesome! The only other low-waste milk option in Marlborough (that we are aware of) is milk powder in bulk, which you can find at Real Food Grocer, 32 Maxwell Road, and BB Foods, 31 Scott Street.

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • Envirohub Marlborough, 3 Auckland Street, Picton – stocks some great items to help with low-waste living: Ideal Cup (NZ made, reusable takeaway coffee cups), Rethink 100% organic cotton produce bags, beeswax wraps, reusable shopping bags (incl recycled fabric) made by Plastic Bag Free Picton, and metal reusable water bottles.
  • Sustainance, 58 Hampden Street, Picton – stocks Meals in Steel stainless steel food containers, Rethink 100% organic cotton produce + string bags, Sustainance homemade organic cotton produce and bulk bin bags, reusable metal straws, beeswax wraps, and Go Bamboo veggie brushes (handle made of bamboo and the bristles are purely plant fibre, so it’s home compostable should it ever wear down) that are also great to use as a handle-less dishbrush.
  • Portal Jewellery & Design, Shop 1, 1 High Street, Picton – stocks Cuppa Coffee Cups (NZ made reusable takeaway coffee cup) and metal reusable water bottles.
  • Marlborough Creative Artisans, 35 High Street, Picton – stocks locally-made knitted face cloths, which could be used as dishcloths.
  • Benge & Co Green Grocers, 20 Grove Road, Blenheim – stocks reusable (though polyester) produce bags and SPRUCE 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloths (home compostable at the end of their life).
  • Real Food Grocer, 32 Maxwell Road, Blenheim – stocks wooden dishbrushes with home compostable and replaceable heads, and unpackaged beeswax which can be used to make beeswax wraps.
  • Cerise, 102 Market Street, Blenheim – stocks Bianca Lorenne cotton washcloths (which can be used as dishcloths), ceramic reusable takeaway coffee cups, and bars of fancy unpackaged soap.
  • BV Gourmet, 2A Park Terrace, Blenheim – stocks silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to plastic cling wrap and also tin foil), Keep Cup and JOCO (two brands of reusable takeaway coffee cup ), zuperzozial washable paper bags
  • CPR Coffee HQ, 18 Wynen Street, Blenheim – stocks Keep Cup (reusable takeaway coffee cup), including Star Wars themed Keep Cups…
  • The Honey Collection, 74 Grove Road, Mayfield, Blenheim – stocks beeswax wraps.
  • Blue Penguin, 1A Nelson Street, Blenheim – stocks Cuppa Coffee Cups (NZ made reusable takeaway coffee cup) and metal reusable water bottles.
  • Steven’s, 29-35 Alfred Street, Blenheim – stocks Murchison Hume wooden/plant fibre dishbrushes with home compostable and replaceable heads, metal reusable water bottles, Keep Cup (reusable takeaway coffee cup), and awesome (though pricey…) 2l stainless steel reusable growlers (for getting beer on tap to takeaway).
  • Thomas’s, 54 Market Street, Blenheim – stocks various types of cotton cloths (that can be used as dishcloths), silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to plastic cling wrap and also tin foil), and various types of reusable water bottles and drinking vessels.
  • Alyssums, 15 Queen Street, Blenheim – stocks silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to plastic cling wrap and also tin foil), and various types of reusable water bottles.
  • Wairau Pharmacy, 47 Scott Street, Blenheim – stocks Munch beeswax wraps and metal reusable water bottles.
  • Poswillo’s Pharmacy, 32 Scott Street, Blenheim – stocks cotton cloths that could be used as dishcloths.
  • Supervalue Renwick, 78 High Street, Renwick – stocks 100% cotton dishcloths.
  • Marlborough Farmers’ Market, 24 Maxwell Road, Blenheim – you can get awesome unpackaged beeswax from Garden Bees‘ stall – perfect for making homemade beeswax wraps!

Cleaning Products

  • Fresh Choice, 100 High Street, Picton – sells Eco Planet laundry powder which comes in a cardboard container with a cardboard scoop.
  • Sustainance, 58 Hampden Street, Picton – stock Go Bamboo wooden pegs, and baking soda + apple cider vinegar in bulk (both key ingredients for homemade cleaning products).
  • Anita’s Organic Store, 46B Wynen Street, Blenheim – stocks bars of Dr Bronner’s castile soap, which can be used as the base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid.

Bathroom Products

  • Envirohub Marlborough, 3 Auckland Street, Picton – stocks rolls of Smart Ass toilet paper (that are individually wrapped in home compostable tissue paper), and The Toothbrush Project toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles.
  • Sustainance, 58 Hampden Street, Picton – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes (with wooden, home compostable handles), Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds, reusable metal razors with replacement metal blades in cardboard packets, range of Ethique soap bar products (body wash, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant) – so you can ditch the plastic bottle, Nature Body products that are packaged, either in home compostable tubes, or in refillable containers which you can return to Sustainance for dispatch back to Nature Body for sterilisation and refill (including, sunscreen, deodorant, moisturiser, body mousse, toothpaste and shaving cream) and bars of Kerrs Road soap wrapped in cotton.
  • Marlborough Creative Artisans, 35 High Street, Picton – stocks bars of unpackaged felted soap, and Jeymar Soap & Body unpackaged soap bars with different uses that can help you to ditch plastic bottles in the bathroom, including body/hand, shaving (+ shaving brush), facial and shampoo bars of soap.
  • Picton Healthcare Pharmacy, 6 High Street, Picton – stocks Humble Brush toothbrushes (with wooden, home compostable handles), and some of Ethique‘s soap bar range (we saw body and face soap bars, but you could ask if they could also stock some of the other bars too, like the shampoo, shaving or deodorant bars) – these soaps are packaged only in home compostable cardboard, so allow you to ditch the plastic bottles in the bathroom!
  • Fresh Choice, 100 High Street, Picton – sells The Eco Brush toothbrushes, with wooden, home compostable handles.
  • Real Food Grocer, 32 Maxwell Road, Blenheim – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes (with wooden, home compostable handles) and unpackaged beeswax, which is useful for homemade cosmetics.
  • Anita’s Organic Store, 46B Wynen Street, Blenheim – stocks bars of unpackaged Ecostore soap, Go Bamboo toothbrushes (with wooden, home compostable handles) and Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds.
  • Alyssums, 15 Queen Street, Blenheim – stocks unpackaged bars of soap of various shapes and sizes.
  • BV Gourmet, 2A Park Terrace, Blenheim – stocks unpackaged olive oil soap cubes.
  • Marlborough Artisan Market – you can get unpackaged bars of felted soap at the market!
  • Life Pharmacy, 101a Market Street, Blenheim – stocks menstrual cups and washable incontinence undies.
  • Poswillos Pharmacy, 47 Scott Street, Blenheim – stocks washable incontinence undies
  • Wairau Pharmacy, 32 Scott Street, Blenheim – stocks the Ethique range of soaps that come in home compostable cardboard packaging (bars for various uses, including shampoo, shaving, deodorant, body and face), Humble Brush toothbrushes (with wooden, home compostable handles), and washable incontinence undies.
  • Supervalue Renwick, 87 High Street, Renwick – stocks Homebrand toilet rolls wrapped in paper.
  • Marlborough Farmers’ Market, 24 Maxwell Road, Blenheim – you can get awesome unpackaged beeswax from Garden Bees‘ stall, which is often called for in homemade cosmetics.

Community groups, supportive networks and help with tricky waste streams

  • 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 so you can deal with your organic waste at home, the Marlborough District Council has some great info and resources on their websites to help you set a system up. Alternatively, for the people of Picton, if you are struggling to set up your own system, you can bring your scraps to Sustainance, 58 Hampden Street, Picton, and they’ll put it in their compost so long as the scraps have no animal products.
  • 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 – you might need to ask around to see if any group in Marlborough might feel up to running one!) If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to the E-Waste Collection Facility at the Wither Road Transfer Station in Blenheim to be recycled. There will be a fee (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.
  • Sheets ‘n’ Things, within The Warehouse parking lot, behind Crossroads, Blenheim – rather than biffing it out, you can donate your good quality second hand linen (such as blankets, quilts, sheets, towels, duvets, duvet inners, pillows, and drapes) to this Bread of Life project for on-sale. All money raised goes towards individuals in need in the Blenheim community. 10% of the proceeds are donated to another charity.
  • Envirohub Marlborough, 3 Auckland Street, Picton – this environment centre is a new treasure for the Marlborough community, hosting events and providing advice on a wide range of sustainability issues, including waste issues. The centre also places a focus on involving children, young people and families, which is exciting to see. They also stock a variety of items that can help with low-waste living.
  • Plastic Bag Free Picton – run by the inimitable anti-plastic stalwart Linda Thompson, Plastic Bag Free Picton campaigns for what it says on the tin, but also produces reusable alternatives to plastic bags which you can get your mitts on around town! The campaign’s FB page is also a great source of tips for waste reduction, both generally and locally.
  • Boomerang Bags Marlborough – Boomerang Bags has made its way to Marlborough. This growing movement is a great way of reducing plastic bags around town. Boomerang Bags groups get together to sew reusable bags out of upcycled fabrics, and then leave these at common shopping areas for shoppers to use if they forget their own reusables. The Marlborough team are on the lookout for volunteers to help make the bags. If you would like to help, send an email to or


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