Zero Waste in Nelson City

Zero Waste in Nelson City

This guide covers Nelson City businesses only. You can read more about community groups and council services in the area, or see what’s available in Tasman District here.

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.

Nelson

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!

  • Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, flours, pasta and legumes), a range of spices (also loose vanilla pods), plenty of unpackaged sweets, treats and snacks, and liquid foods like vinegars (even balsamic!), a wide selection of oils, honey, syrups and tahini. 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.
  • Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street – a very impressive array of bulk bins stocking legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, muesli, cereals, pasta (incl wholemeal), flours, herbs + spices, sugars, baking soda and baking powder, yeast and seaweed. There are also lots of liquid foods on tap, including maple syrup, sunflower oil, syrups, tahini, vinegar, soy sauce and tamari, honey.
  • The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street – this gorgeous community-owned organic co-op is open to the public to shop at and is predominantly a bulk store. It is housed in Ecoland with the Nelson Environment Centre. You can find a great range of bulk dried foods, including bulk legumes, grains, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, flours, spices, herbs, sugars/sweetners, baking soda and seaweed. Organic produce is also available, including loose salad leaves (yay no plastic bag). There are also lots of liquid foods on tap, including oils, molasses, honey, tahini, vinegars and syrups. They also stock seasonal things that are generally harder to find without packaging (e.g. loose/unpackaged frozen blueberries).
  • Benge & Co Green Grocers, 60 Montgomery Square, Nelson; 520 Main Road, Stoke – stocks loose spinach/mesculin/salad leaves and loose organic dates. The store also sells locally made Three Groves olive oil on tap (just BYO bottle).
  • Prego Mediterranean Foods, 90 Collingwood Street, Nelson – stocks big jars of Pic’s Peanut Butter which can be returned and refilled for $5 less than buying a new one, and olive oil on tap from Elovi and Tasman Ridge (BYO bottle for a refill).
  • FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street – this supermarket has the usual over-priced bulk section of snacks, dried fruits and nuts that most supermarkets have, BUT it also has an organic bulk section (highly unusual) that is affordable, in the sense that the bulk items are less expensive than the packaged version (usually it’s the opposite in supermarkets). This section has a range of dried foods such as flours, legumes, rice, grains, oats, sugars, cereal and dried fruit.
  • The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke – such a great store with a big range of affordable bulk foods including, legumes, rice, spices and herbs, seeds, nuts, grains, dried fruit, flours, cereals, sugars, salts, and baking soda and baking powder. The store also has liquid foods on tap, including kiwifruit vinegar and apple cider vinegar, molasses, local honey, and local extra virgin olive oil. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar!
  • Supermarkets – all major supermarkets in Nelson have well stocked 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 more so than the bulk bins at places like Bin Inn or the organic stores.
Butchers/Fishmongers/Cheese/Deli

Places that sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods who will happily put your unwrapped purchases straight into a BYO container – woohoo!

  • Pestell’s Rai Bacon Co, 22 McMahon Street, Stoke – this butcher will put unpackaged cuts of meat straight into a BYO container, just ask!
  • The Mad Butcher, 201 Songer Street, Stoke – we’ve heard that you can BYO container to get fresh cuts of meat without the disposable plastic here.
  • Guyton’s, 270 Wakefield Street, Stepneyville – you can get unpackaged seafood from the deli, straight into your own bags/containers. You can also ask for your seafood to be wrapped in paper rather than plastic.
  • Prego Mediterranean Foods, 90 Collingwood Street, Nelson – at the deli you can also get some unpackaged goodies, like cheese off the round, olives, sundried tomatoes, etc. If you have cash to spare, you can also buy a whole giant round of gouda cheese ($300-$400) – avoid the plastic and just get the waxy hard casing.
  • 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 – e.g. FreshChoice may be open to it, but the others not. It can be hit and miss, often depending on the staff member you talk to. It’s always worth asking though!
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).

  • The Swedish Cafe & Bakery, 54 Bridge Street, Nelson – artisan sourdough breads, pastries etc.
  • Don Rodrigo Sourdough Bakery – you’ll find their natural sourdough breads at the Wednesday or Saturday markets
  • L’Artisan Bakery, 167 Hardy Street
  • KB’s/Kiwi Bakery, 149 Hardy Street
  • FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street – sells in store and Don Rodrigo bread unpackaged
  • Tozzetti, 14 Vanguard Street, Neslon – sourdough bread, bagels, croissants, pastries
  • Fresh As Bakery, 12 Tahunanui Drive, Nelson
  • 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! – get to your local markets to see if you can get locally-made food and wares unpackaged or put into your own bags and containers. Often stallholders are happy to tip their pre-packaged goods into your own containers and then they’ll keep and reuse their container. Another option is to ask if the local producer is willing to refill the container you buy when you run out, rather than you having to buy a whole new container. You’ll be amazed how willing people will be to find zero waste ways for you to get their wonderful creations. At markets, the trick is just to ask stallholders about the options because you never know what you might find – that particular stallholder might have spent the whole day wishing for a waste-conscious customer – so don’t be shy 😉 Nelson has three excellent markets that are prime spots for unpackaged goodies and fruitful conversations – the Nelson Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays (8am-2pm) @ Maitai Boulevard, the Nelson Saturday Market on Saturdays @ Montgomery Square, Nelson and Monty’s Sunday Market on Sundays @ Montgomery Square, Nelson. We asked quite a few stallholders to test the waters, and can confirm that peeps are open-minded here! For example, you can get cheese cut off the round into your own containers from various cheese stalls (including Wangapeka Cheeses and Cheese Shop). Furthermore, if you’re into meatless meats, usually you can only find these hermetically sealed in about ten layers of plastic, but not at the Nelson Market, where you can get faux meats put into your own containers from The Vegetarian Butcher. You can also get your own bags and containers filled with muesli from Muesli & Co (they’ll pour it from their own bag into your container, and then they’ll keep the bag for reuse), and the Pic’s Peanut Butter stall will give you a discount on future large jars of peanut butter if you bring back your old empty jar for refill, and they’ll also take back any of their smaller jars (which you may have bought at the market or in other retailers stocking Pic’s) to donate to others making preserves etc. with your deposit going to charity – yeee! If you love Urban Hippie’s Miso, then you’re in luck because the owner will take BYO containers, fill them up for you, and then bring them to the market the following week. Is there no end to the benevolence of the Nelson Market??
  • Fresh2U Organic Food Delivery – organic, locally-grown fruit + vege boxes with NO packaging delivered to your door, anywhere in Nelson in an upcycled cardboard box! The odd item might occasionally come in plastic, if you don’t want this, simply say that you want a 100% plastic-free/packaging-free box when you set up your order and the business owner and packer, Lucy, will ensure no plastic gets in your box. If you’re looking for local, hassle-free organic produce that is zero waste, Fresh2U is absolutely one to check out!
  • Trade Aid Nelson, 148 Hardy Street, Nelson – 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. Apart from the Trade Aid store itself, you can also get the chocolate and sugar at FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street; or just chocolate at New World Nelson City, 73 Vanguard Street, Nelson, The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street, and Benge & Co Green Grocers, 60 Montgomery Square, Nelson; 520 Main Road, Stoke.
  • Other goodies in home compostable packaging – get Loving Earth Chocolate at FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street and Benge & Co Green Grocers, 60 Montgomery Square, Nelson; 520 Main Road, Stoke; or Ceres Organics “Raw Goodness” bars (which come in Econic home-compostable packaging) at Bin Inn; or both Loving Earth and Raw Goodness bars at Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street.
  • You can also get unpackaged She Universe chocolates at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street.

DRINK OPTIONS

  • Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged and have them put in BYO bags/containers. Thankfully, Nelson has plenty of roasters/coffee suppliers that allow you to do this! These are: Kush Coffee, 5 Church Street, Nelson; Sublime Coffee Roasters, 211 Haven Road, Stepneyville, Nelson; Pomeroy’s Coffee and Tea, 105 Montgomery Square, Nelson; The Coffee Factory, 16 Elms Street, Wakatu Estate Nelson; Raglan Roast, The Sands, 623 Rocks Road, Tahunanui (which also has a combo deal where you can get 200g of coffee beans/grinds AND a freshly made barista coffee for $10); Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; and FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street. If you’re into instant coffee, Trade Aid’s instant coffee comes in Econic home compostable packaging (you can find this at Trade Aid, 148 Hardy Street, Nelson; FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street; or New World Nelson City, 73 Vanguard Street, Nelson).
  • Tea – as most tea bags have plastic in them, we drink loose leaf teas. So we’re always on the lookout for loose leaf teas that you can get unpackaged. Usually this is not very easy in New Zealand. However, in Nelson you have options! You can take your own bags/containers to fill up with loose leaf teas at The Hollow, 144 Bridge Street, Nelson; Pomeroy’s Coffee and Tea, 105 Montgomery Square; The Coffee Factory, 16 Elms Street, Wakatu Estate Nelson; Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street. If you want tea that is not only unpackaged, but so local it’s virtually carbon neutral, then bring your own bags and containers to the Nelson Saturday Market to get Emma Heke’s locally-grown Heke Homemade Herbals tea – NOTE, you should email Emma beforehand to let her know what, and how much, you would like, so she can bring it unpackaged for you. She also prefers if you pay when you order.
  • Milk – the gold standard of zero waste success is being able to access milk in reusable glass bottles. Again, this is not something that is easily accessed across most of New Zealand. As many Nelsonians are probably aware, Nelson has a lot to be proud of when it comes to milk because the district has a combination of milk vending machines, milk on tap, bottle swap systems in retail spaces, and milk delivery in refillable glass bottles (just like the old days) – woah! So, when it comes to vending machines, you can buy a reusable glass bottle and refill it endlessly with pasteurised but non-homogenised A2 milk at vending machines run by Oaklands Milk (machines found at the top of the Saxton Field car park in Stoke; the back of Vanilla Cafe, Bridge Street, Nelson; River Kitchen (Millers Acre), 81 Trafalgar Street, Nelson; or Mean Greens, 117 St Vincent Street, Nelson) or you can sign up to Ratabank Farms herd share and use their vending machine to get raw milk at 140 Glen Road, Glenduan. You can get Wangapeka Milk (pasteurised but non-homogenised, A2 milk) on tap in a BYO bottle at The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke, or you can go in with a group of friends and get 10L refillable buckets of milk directly from Wangapeka Milk. If you would like milk delivered straight to you in glass bottles (and then have the empties taken from you for refill in an endless cycle of wonderousness), then you might be interested in signing up to Milk & More, who will deliver Oaklands Milk to you (FYI that they deliver other products that are not in refillable glass, so make sure you specify that you want the glass refill system). If it floats your boat, you can also get unpackaged milk powder from Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street, Nelson.
  • Drinking chocolate – you can get cocoa powder and/or drinking chocolate loose at a variety of stores, including Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street, Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke; FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street. You can also get Kokako‘s drinking chocolate, which comes in Econic home compostable packaging, at The Kitchen, 111 Bridge Street, Nelson.
  • Beer/cider – look out for places that sell these drinks on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Some places that we found were: Craft Beer Depot, 70 Achilles Avenue, Nelson; Sprig & Fern Taverns, 134 Milton Street, The Wood, 280 Hardy St, Nelson CBD, and 13 Beach Road, Tahunanui; Park Life Brewing Co, 87 Atawhai Drive, The Wood, Nelson; Liquor King, corner of Hardy and Collingwood Streets; Liquorland Turf, 228 Songer Street and Liquorland Stoke, 4/675 Main Road, Stoke. Bays Brewery, 89 Pascoe Street, Annesbrook, Nelson has beer on tap, but also cider and alcoholic ginger beer – yum!
  • Non-alcoholic drinks and kombucha – you can get alcoholic and non-alcoholic ginger beer, and old-fashioned lemonade at Bays Brewery, 89 Pascoe Street, Annesbrook, Nelson (woohoo!). If you’re into kombucha, look out for  Renegade Ferments, which will give you refills of their delish kombucha, into any BYO bottle – find them at Craft Beer Depot, 70 Achilles Avenue, Nelson or the Nelson Farmers’ Market on Wednesday (8am-2pm) @ Maitai Boulevard. You can also get MamaZing kombucha on tap at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street – BYO bottle (or buy a refillable pop-top bottle there).

KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES

Reusable drinking vessels (cups and water bottles)

Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street (metal); The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street (metal); Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson (metal); Pomeroy’s Coffee and Tea, 105 Montgomery Square, Nelson (metal); Health 2000 Nelson, Shop 7 City Centre Arcade, 219 Trafalgar Street, Nelson; The Kitchen, 111 Bridge Street, Nelson (metal); .

There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Nelson:

  • NZ-made Ideal Cup at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; and Kush Coffee, 5 Church Street, Nelson (Kush logo).
  • The Keep Cup brand is sold at Pomeroy’s Coffee and Tea, 105 Montgomery Square, Nelson; Caffe Roma, 3/11 Church Street, Nelson; The Kitchen, 111 Bridge Street, Nelson; Steven’s, 100 Bridge Street, Nelson
  • A stainless steel cup by Fressko is sold at Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street.
  • Both Zuperzozial and Oasis coffee cups are stocked at Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson, and Pomeroy’s Coffee and Tea, 105 Montgomery Square, Nelson.
  • JOCO glass coffee cups are sold at Red Art Gallery/Cafe, 1 Bridge Street, Nelson; and Strangers Collective, 192 Trafalgar Street, Nelson.
  • Ceramic cups with fitting silicone lids are sold at Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson

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 the high quality Meals in Steel (who are a living wage employer) stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street. Alternatively, you can get unbranded tiffins (stainless steel, multi-tier lunchboxes that are also excellent for getting takeaways in) at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street.

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 and/or bulk bin bags by either The Green Collective Loot and/or Rethink at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; Craig Potton Gallery and Store, 255 Hardy Street, Nelson; or 100% cotton reusable bags made by HappBee Planet from Prego Mediterranean Foods, 90 Collingwood Street, Nelson. As well as 100% cotton produce bags, The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke also stocks bags made by Boomerang Bags Nelson.

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 metal straw instead. If you’re keen on a reusable metal straw, you can get them from Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; and Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street

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

  • Beeswax wrap 
    • Purchase at – The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street (HappBee beeswax wraps made by local business HappBee Planet using local beeswax); Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street (local Tasman Gold brand); Ecomoon, 26 Gloucester Street, Nelson (Munch); Fibre Spectrum Handweaving and Fibre Artists Co-operative, 280 Trafalgar Street, Nelson; Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson.
    • DIY – it’s way cheaper! 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. Get unpackaged beeswax at Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson, The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street, The Windmill Gift Shop at Founders Heritage Park, and the Mountain Valley Honey and Norb’s Gold stalls at the Nelson Saturday Market – yay! FYI, the beeswax at The Windmill Gift Shop and Norb’s Gold is organic.
  • Reusable sandwich bags – Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson stocks beeswax coated sandwich bags by KITPip Pottage Designs create gorgeous reusable lunch-bags made by Nelson local Pip Pottage (she even designs the fabric patterns, which are stunning!). While you can choose from lunchbags made from various materials, what caught our eye is the 100% natural fibre lunchbag (the organic cotton bag) – this is pretty unusual in the NZ reusable lunch bag market, so definitely check Pip’s site out – you can order directly from her website or go to one of her various stockists around Nelson (just have a look on her website for locations). Also, CoopJam is an awesome local upcycler that makes a range of upcycled products, including quite amazing reusable sandwich/cheese/lunch wraps. Woohoo! You can order these from CoopJam’s Facebook page. Otherwise reusable lunch wraps/sandwich bags by Ginger Pye and Woohoo NANA are sold at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street, or just Woohoo NANA at The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke. Get Keep Leaf reusable sandwich bags/lunch wraps at Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street. Munch reusable sandwich bags and/or wraps are available from Ecomoon, 26 Gloucester Street, Nelson
  • 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 Prego Mediterranean Foods, 90 Collingwood Street, Nelson; Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson;

Low-waste dishwashing

You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; Prego Mediterranean Foods, 90 Collingwood Street, Nelson; Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson (the Dishy brand – BEWARE of the other brand of wooden dishbrush in store because the heads on these are not natural fibres so are not home compostable);

Also, you can get wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; and Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street.

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 SPRUCE or Wet-it! 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life and won’t leach microfibres throughout their useful life either!) which are available at Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Benge & Co Green Grocers, 60 Montgomery Square, Nelson; 520 Main Road, Stoke; Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson; Red Art Gallery/Cafe, 1 Bridge Street, Nelson; Craig Potton Gallery and Store, 255 Hardy Street, Nelson
  • Alternatively, find 100% cotton/muslin cloths that can be used as dishcloths at Ecomoon, 26 Gloucester Street, Nelson; Red Art Gallery/Cafe, 1 Bridge Street, Nelson
  • Cotton/linen hand woven dish cloths are sold at Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson (some have acrylic in them – a synthetic/plastic fibre – so make sure to avoid those ones!)
  • If you’re after a coarser scrubbing/scouring cloth, you can get the Safix 100% coconut fibre scourer from Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street, and Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; or corn/soy coarse scourers from Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

Refills of cleaning products

  • Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street, Nelson – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with. Note these aren’t eco cleaners.
  • The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street – bulk refills of Ecostore’s liquid cleaning products (BYO bottle).
  • Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street – bulk refills of Goulter’s Vinegar Products‘ Citrogar Cleaner (a multipurpose cleaner).

Laundry

  • Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powder both come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get both from New World Nelson City, 73 Vanguard Street, Nelson; and Eco Planet at FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street
  • Soapnuts – natural nut shells that release saponin (like soap) in water and can be used for laundry. Once spent, the shells can be composted. Ecomoon, 26 Gloucester Street, Nelson stocks soap nuts by Soapnuts NZ which come in a cardboard box with no inner plastic lining.
  • Non-plastic clothes pegs – Go Bamboo pegs available at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street; and The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke. The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street also stocks stainless steel pegs.
  • Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson stocks Studio Star laundry soap bars
  • Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson – stocks stain remover laundry soap bars.

Ingredients for DIY cleaning products

  • Baking soda/washing soda/epsom salts/borax – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke; and just baking soda at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street.
  • White Vinegar – sold in bulk at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street
  • Essential Oils – get refills of essential oils at Aromaflex, 1/280-282 Trafalgar Street, Nelson – a beautiful store with a waste-reducing ethos; the store encourages people to return their bottles and containers to get refills of oils and essential oils (if you do so, you’ll even get a discount!). You can also get essential oil refills at Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson.
  • Bars of soap for dishwash liquid – we make our own dishwashing and laundry liquid using certain bars of soap (see how it works here). In Nelson you can get purpose made dishwashing bars that you can turn to liquid. For example, Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson stocks Studio Star kitchen soap bars, and The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street stocks Korukai dishwash bars – both purpose made for washing dishes! Alternatively, you can use bars of castile soap – get locally made castile soap from Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson. Otherwise, Dr Bronner’s castile bars (made in the USA), are available at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Health 2000 Nelson, Shop 7 City Centre Arcade, 219 Trafalgar Street, Nelson; and The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke.

BATHROOM PRODUCTS

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 Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson; FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street; Collingwood St Pharmacy, 132 Collingwood Street; Life Pharmacy, 191 Trafalgar St, Nelson; The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke; and One Dental, 24 Main Road, Stoke.
  • Dental Floss – The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; One Dental, 24 Main Road, Stoke; FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street; and any Countdown supermarket 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, bamboo and activated charcoal 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 from all stockists listed above – just pop the refill into your original metal/glass dispenser. Do Gooder is an initiative started by Nelson-based dentist, Nicky Francis.

Unpackaged Bars of Soap

It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Nelson. The following stores sell totally naked (or only paper wrapped) bars of soap:

  • Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street
  • The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street
  • Aromaflex, 1/280-282 Trafalgar Street, Nelson
  • Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson – an emporium of soapy wonder! You can get virtually all of Global Soaps amazing handmade soaps at this store without packaging.
  • Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson – cardboard packed 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!

  • 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). You can find them at Life Pharmacy, 296 Hardy Street, Nelson; and Farmers, 219 Trafalgar Street.
  • Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson – an emporium of soapy wonder! You can get virtually all of Global Soaps amazing handmade soaps at this store without packaging, including shampoo, shaving and moisturizing bars (and more).
  • Purple Kiwi Goat Milk Soap – you can get this lovely goat milk soap unpackaged at the Nelson Saturday Market, including their shampoo and shaving bars and at Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street stocks Purple Kiwi goat milk shampoo bars and shaving bars.
  • Korukai bars of shampoo and conditioner are available at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street.
  • Sustainably packaged toiletries
    • Deodorant in compostable cardboard tubes – available at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street (Bee Fresh) or Unichem Nelson Pharmacy, 131 Hardy Street.
    • Sunscreen in compostable cardboard tubes – available at Little Beehive Co-op, 123 Bridge Street, Nelson (LoveSong brand)

Reusable Menstrual Products

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

  • Menstrual cups – stocked at Ecomoon, 26 Gloucester Street, Nelson; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Health 2000 Nelson, Shop 7 City Centre Arcade, 219 Trafalgar Street; Life Pharmacy Prices, 125 Collingwood Street; Unichem Nelson Pharmacy, 131 Hardy Street
  • Reusable, washable pads are available at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Ecomoon, 26 Gloucester Street, Nelson

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) – note, you’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. Most barbers and hairdressers can get razors, replacement blades and shaving brushes ordered in wholesale, so just ask your local.
 
Other
  • Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson; FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street
  • Toilet Paper The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street and FreshChoice Supermarket Nelson City, 69 Collingwood Street stocks Greencane toilet paper (which comes in fully home compostable packaging).
  • Reusable nappies – a range of different options are stocked at Ecomoon, 26 Gloucester Street, Nelson. Feel free to go in for a chat too if you’re unsure and you’d like to know more!
  • Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
    • Essential oilsAromaflex, 1/280-282 Trafalgar Street, Nelson – the store encourages people to return their bottles and containers to get refills of oils and essential oils (if you do so, you’ll even get a discount!).
    • Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson – here they also do refills of all their facial and body oils, as well as essential oils (the latter are great for homemade toiletries), which is very exciting.
    • You can also get unpackaged beeswax from Global Soap Nelson, 117 Nile Street, Nelson, The Windwill Gift Shop at Founders Heritage Park, and the Mountain Valley Honey and Norb’s Gold stalls at the Nelson Saturday Market – yay! FYI, the beeswax at The Windmill Gift Shop and Norb’s Gold is organic.
    • Baking Soda is an essential ingredient in lots of homemade toiletries such as toothpaste and deodorant, as well as just a great general cleaner when teamed up with vinegar. You can get it unpackaged in bulk from Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke; and The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street.
  • Liquid toiletries on tapThe Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street stocks Ecostore liquid bathroom products on tap e.g. shampoo, conditioner and handwash (just BYO bottles!).


6 thoughts on “Zero Waste in Nelson City”

  • Kia ora. I just heard today that I missed your presentation at the nelson library, and I would have loved it! However I have enjoyed reading your web site with all the wonderful things which we can purchase in our region without using plastics. Hopefully you would have seen our beeswax wraps at Ecoland/ Organic co-op and you have mentioned beeswax wraps in your list of products. It would be especially good if you added that they are called HappBee Wrap, made locally by HappBee Planet using local beeswax. We also make three sizes of reusable bags made from 100% cotton and beeswax which are currently available at Prego and the Saturday Market. Thanks for the opportunity to make this comment. I know I will refer to your web site often. Oh and just remembered, Pestells Butchers will also put meat into customers own containers. Thanks for spreading the zero waste message and inspiring people with your presentation. Jo

    • Kia ora Jo – thanks so much for getting in touch. Yes! We can definitely specify that the beeswax wrap in Ecoland/Organic Co-op is HappBee Wrap (we should have done this already, actually, and apologise that we didn’t specify that they were yours). Also, we have a feeling that some of the other beeswax wraps in some of the stores are yours too (maybe at Fibre Spectrum and Little Beehive, perhaps?) If you’re able to look through the guide and let us know if any of the places with beeswax wraps that we’ve listed are also stockists of HappBee, we’ll happily update all instances. Are you also the beeswax wrap that is in Good Health in Motueka?

      Didn’t see the reusable cotton bags when we were in Prego – will add that in too, but can you just give us some more details – are they reusable shopping bags, or produce or bulk bin bags?

      Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂

      H & L

  • Love your mahi you fullas! You have swept a zero waste wind through Te Tau Ihu, let’s hope the momentum continues, at the very least in connecting zero wasters and inspiring small changes. Thank you for this ace resource. Ngā mihi aroha ki a kōrua!

    • Tēna koe e hoa! We found such a zero waste-friendly community in Whakatū when we arrived, so lots of you have already done heaps of groundwork 🙂 SO exciting that the zero waste community is so strong because you’ve got so many committed peeps to keep the momentum going and to build it up even more. Ka mau te wehi! Arohanui – tino pai te tutaki i a kōrua, ko Carlo. Ko te tumanāko, ka tipu tonu te kaha a Waste No More, nā te mea, he tino ataahua ā koutou whakamiharo 🙂 Keep in touch!!

  • What an awesome list, thank you so much for compiling this! I now know where to buy beeswax in Nelson, (to try your lip-balm recipe) and also didn’t know that Prego will exchange the large Pics peanut butter jars.
    Under Food Options in Nelson, you could add that in New World supermarket on Vanguard street you can also ask for your meat or seafood to be wrapped in paper rather than plastic. In fact last time I shopped there the butcher just used paper only without askin;g; maybe he could tell what I wanted by looking at my trolley full of paper and cloth bags 🙂
    At Countdown on ParuParu Road you can ask for cold meats at the deli to be wrapped in paper only.
    I haven’t yet asked about using containers for other deli foods at either of these 2 supermarkets so I don’t know if they agree to do that or not.

    • Thanks for your comment, Rosey! That’s great that those supermarkets use paper instead of plastic (presumably it’s paper you can put in the compost and not waxed with anything synthetic?) We have been leaving the major supermarkets off for the moment just because they have a nationwide policy of rejecting BYO containers at the delis, which is a bit annoying. Have heard through the grapevine that FreshChoice in Nelson accepts BYO containers at the butchery?

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