This guide covers Northern Auckland only. For other areas of Auckland, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Auckland Region post.
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. These shops stock all manner of pantry foods loose in bulk bins (or operate return & refill systems for their packaging), allowing you to put these goods straight into your own bags, jars, containers and bottles, and skip the packaging!
The following shops sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods and will happily put these straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
The following stores bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods (in some of these stores some items might be pre-packed or wrapped in cling film, just avoid those things!). Simply BYO bread 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 before they do that (i.e. before 1pm).
Look out for places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged, and bring your own bag and container to fill. Going direct to coffee roasters is the best option, but you can also look out for bulk dispensers of coffee in other stores. Here are the spots we found:
We avoid teabags as most have plastic in them, which we don’t want in our tea or our soil. Using loose leaf tea is an easy way to get around this. The trick is to find somewhere that sells loose leaf tea packaging-free, so you can put the leaves straight into BYO jars/containers! You’ll find loose tea leaves in bulk dispensers at:
Sourcing cow’s milk without the plastic bottles or non-dairy milk without the dreaded Tetra-pak is no mean feat! We’ve found the following options:
Look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Breweries are awesome, but lots of liquor stores offer this option too! We found beer on tap at:
Also, don’t forget that most liquor stores do ‘swappa crates’ of beer – i.e. crates of twelve 745ml bottles of classic NZ beer (e.g. Lion Red/Brown, Speights, Tui, Export Gold etc.) which can be returned (when the bottles are empty) and are then sent back to the brewery for sterilisation and refill (a better outcome for glass bottles than recycling because reusing the same bottle over and over requires way less energy and resources than recycling).
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable metal water bottles at Unichem Red Beach Pharmacy, Red Beach Shopping Centre, 42/8 Red Beach Road; Hello Darling, 3 Silverdale Street; Farmers, 75 Silverdale Street, Silverdale Shopping Centre; Stevens, 75 Silverdale Street, Silverdale Shopping Centre; The Design Store, 61 Silverdale Street, Silverdale; New World Whangaparāoa, 584 Whangaparaoa Road, Whangaparāoa; Countdown Whangaparāoa, corner Whangaparaoa & Wade River Road, Whangaparāoa; Two Spoons, 1 Wade River Road, Whangaparāoa; Unichem Hickey’s Pharmacy, 16a Moana Avenue, Orewa; Arcadia Natural Health Store, Riverside Arcade, 62 Queen Street, Warkworth; Hungry Elephant, 615 Matakana Road, Matakana; Tea and Tonic, 5A/2 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana; and Studio Matakana, 12/2 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Tauranga:
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 Hungry Elephant, 615 Matakana Road, Matakana;
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% cotton produce, bulk bin and/or string shopping bags at Floosie, 4/3 Silverdale Street, Silverdale; Hello Darling, 3 Silverdale Street, Silverdale; Unichem Red Beach Pharmacy, Red Beach Shopping Centre, 42/8 Red Beach Road; Countdown Orewa, Moenui Avenue, Orewa; Bin Inn Warkworth, 11 Elizabeth Street, Warkworth; Hungry Elephant, 615 Matakana Road, Matakana; and just the produce bags at Four Square Matakana, 21 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana. You can even get reusable bin liners (if you really need one!) at Bin Inn Warkworth, 11 Elizabeth Street, Warkworth.
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 Stevens, 75 Silverdale Street, Silverdale Shopping Centre; Floosie, 4/3 Silverdale Street, Silverdale; Countdown Whangaparāoa, corner Whangaparaoa & Wade River Road, Whangaparāoa; Hungry Elephant, 615 Matakana Road, Matakana; Tea and Tonic, Shop 5A, 2 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana; Bin Inn Warkworth, 11 Elizabeth Street, Warkworth; or get some glass straws from Harts Pharmacy, 27 Queen Street, Warkworth
The following stores stock a range of liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers that you can fill your own bottles/containers with:
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Floosie, 4/3 Silverdale Street, Silverdale; Hello Darling, 3 Silverdale Street, Silverdale; Bin Inn Warkworth, 11 Elizabeth Street, Warkworth; and Hungry Elephant, 615 Matakana Road, Matakana (we were told by a store keeper that they intended to phase out this product unless locals wanted them to retain it, so might be worth going in and saying you’d like them to retain it!). 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 Warkworth, 11 Elizabeth Street, Warkworth – as these are made only of bamboo and plant fibre, they’re home compostable should they ever wear down.
We also encourage people to move away from using dishclothes, sponges and bench wipes made out of synthetic material (as these leach microfibres and they’re also destined for landfill when they wear down) and to use natural fibre cloths instead:
The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
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!
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads.
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, replacement blades and shaving brushes from Barber Depot, 2/20 Silverdale Street, Silverdale; and Ace of Fades, 7/707 Whangaparaoa Road, Whangaparāoa.
The following stores stock a range of liquid toiletries in bulk dispensers that you can fill your own bottles/containers with: