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Zero Waste in Northland

Zero Waste in Northland

Te Tai Tokerau is not just a stunning part of the country; there are active waste-conscious people and projects at every turn. In fact, legend has it that the idea of zero waste was born in the Far North of Aotearoa thanks to Warren Snow (and his Australian counterpart, Gerry Gillespie). This legacy is strong in a swathe of both older and newer generations of waste-conscious individuals, groups and businesses across Northland.

One of the main challenges confronting people of Northland who want to reduce household waste is a lack of shopping options and services in some areas, such as Hokianga. While this guide will still be useful for these people (e.g. stocking up on low-waste groceries during trips to other areas), it’s always worth reminding everyone that zero waste is about much more than just where to shop; it’s about refusing and reducing those things that cause us to produce waste in the first place, and finding solutions and support within your community to enable less wasteful living. At the end of each district in this guide, we’ve added lists of groups who can help you start and/or progress waste reduction in your local area.

It’s also worth noting that in areas where there are fewer options for low-waste shopping, signing up to/starting a co-op, where food can be bought in in bulk amongst a group of friends or like-minded people, is a good way to reduce waste. The Whangārei Food Coop, or even Brown Owl Organics in Rotorua, would be good coops to talk to if you want some support with the set-up (even if you didn’t intend to be as huge and public-facing as these co-ops).

However, we have done our best to find options even in very remote areas, like the amazing Bush Fairy Dairy in Peria, to show what is possible off the beaten track! Of course, we won’t have found everything, so as always, please get in touch if you know of shops, businesses, growers and craftspeople who we might have missed.

The guide is divided into the three districts of Northland: Kaipara, Whangārei and Far North.

Kaipara

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

  • Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One – you can buy cheese cut off the round here, so just BYO container. Also sells Trade Aid chocolate and Ceres Organics Raw bars (both of which are wrapped in Econic home-compostable packaging).
  • Jaques Four Square, 1 Mangawhai Road, Kaiwaka – not much without packaging here, but you can get shellfish and bread unpackaged, just BYO bags and containers.
  • Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai – a newly opened organic store with a range of exciting goods (and delicious food made in-store!). Sells nuts, seeds, flours, grains, beans/legumes, dried fruit, and even cacao butter in bulk bins. They also stock liquid foods (some of which they make in store) such as nut butters, maple syrup and tahini, which you can refill in your own glass bottle/jar.
  • Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street – not the only market in the Mangawhai area, but we attended this one and were amazed by the low-waste options available! Lots of unpackaged produce (even greens), of course, but you can also get refills of Silverhill Olive Estate‘s amazing olive oil for a very good price (cheaper than buying pre-bottled!), cheese cut off the round into your own container, and locally baked bread unpackaged.
  • Bennetts Chocolatier, 52 Moir Street, Mangawhai – sells truffles and some blocks of chocolate unpackaged.
  • Kakariki Health and Wellbeing, 52 Moir Street, Mangawhai – stocks some nuts in bulk (jars of the nuts kept behind the counter, ask to have put in BYO bag/container).
  • Mangawhai Deli, 3/7 Wood Street, Mangawhai Heads – BYO containers and bags for the deli’s nice range of meats, cheeses, pickle, salads and breads.
  • Wild Tiger, Shop 2/45 The Centre, Waipu – stocks Trade Aid chocoloate (which comes in home compostable packaging), Trade Aid sugar (which comes in brown paper bags that are great to upcycle for bulk refills, but which are also home compostable) and Trade Aid coconut oil (which comes in a glass jar without the plastic seal around the outside rim). Also stocks yummy unpackaged nougat and bliss balls, just BYO bag/container.
  • Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto – this beautiful organic store and cafe is transitioning toward bulk bins and away from packaged foods – yay! They may not have everything in bulk yet, but currently offer nuts, dried fruit, seeds, grains, flours and beans/legumes. They also sell Trade Aid chocolate, which comes in home compostable packaging.
  • Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville – not just a soap shop and florist… but a mini-shop that offers a wide range of low-waste goods and strives to have something new each time you visit! You can refill your olive oil and apple cider vinegar here, as well as some spices and dried herbs behind the counter, and sweets too! They also run Good Life Veg Box Delivery, a great way to get local fresh fruit and veges – just specify when signing up that you would like to have your fruit and veges delivered to you unpackaged/without plastic.
  • Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville – sells spelt flour in brown paper bags (not ideal, but better than plastic), as well as Trade Aid chocolate, which comes in home compostable packaging. They do repack a range of bulk goods into plastic bags, so it might be worth asking them if they could repack into your own bags rather than their plastic ones.
  • Dargaville Book Exchange & Crafts, 95 Victoria Street, Dargaville – despite being a book store, you can buy locally made preserves here and they encourage you to return the jars and bottles for sterilisation and reuse!

Drink options

  • Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell loose coffee beans/grounds and have them put in BYO bags/containers. On the Eastern side of Kaipara, you can go direct to Rush Coffee at the Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street, where they will happily refill your bags with their locally roasted beans. On the Western side of Kaipara, your best bet is to get whole or ground beans in your own bag or container at Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville. Otherwise, the next best option is to look out for places that sell coffee in home compostable packaging by Econic. For example, Fresh at 3a Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai, stocks Kokako coffee, which is packaged in Econic packaging. Or, if you are after instant coffee, Kaiwaka Cheese Shop at 1957 State Highway One, stocks Trade Aid‘s instant coffee, which comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
  • Tea in the East, you can buy Herbal Potential teas (which come in unlined brown paper bags) at Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai. In the West, check out Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville, for their yummy range of unpackaged teas you can put in your own bag/container.
  • Milk Raw Milk Mangawhai, 66 Bagnal Road, is a lovely ethical dairy farm, where the cows live out their full lives and calves are not separated from their mothers. They run a glass bottle swap, where you take fresh bottled milk from the fridge and leave last week’s bottles in the shop for cleaning and reuse. They also offer refills of vinegar, coconut oil with no plastic seal, and a few jams and preserves for sale. For those who don’t/can’t have dairy, Our Local Organics makes and sells their own nut milks – see if you can organise to BYO bottle for that.
  • Drinking chocolate – your best bet is to keep an eye out for Kokako drinking chocolate (packaged in home compostable packaging). We found it stocked at Fresh, 3a Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai, and Wild Tiger, Shop 2/45 The Centre, Waipu.
  • Kombucha – Mangawhai is into its kombucha! You can get Nutrition by Nature kombucha, made from organic fair trade ingredients, at the Mangawhai Village Market, or else, Our Local Organics has a refillery in store – just BYO bottle.

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One – stocks wooden dishbrushes with the replaceable, home compostable heads.
  • Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai – stocks Rethink organic cotton produce and bulk bin bags, beeswax wraps, reusable metal straws, and Keep Cups (a reusable, takeaway coffee cup).
  • Fresh, 3a Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai – stocks Kuitukuu cotton and cellulose dishcloths that are home compostable.
  • Kakariki Health and Wellbeing, 52 Moir Street, Mangawhai – stocks Ecostore wooden dishbrushes with replaceable, home compostable heads.
  • Meant to Be, 8 Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai – stocks reusable shopping bags.
  • Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street – if you’re on the lookout for those endlessly reusable silicone pot/bowl covers as an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil, look out for the stall inside the hall that has a huge range, of all different shapes and sizes! Beeswax wraps are also on sale at the market, as are wooden dishbrushes with the replaceable, home compostable heads.
  • Raw Milk Mangawhai, 66 Bagnal Road – stocks beeswax wraps.
  • Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto – stocks Pukka reusable takeaway coffee cups made from bamboo fibre, and beeswax candles which could be melted down to make beeswax wraps with.
  • Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville – stocks beeswax candles which could be melted down to make beeswax wraps with, and reusable produce bags.
 Cleaning Products
  • Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One – you can get refills of Ecostore cleaning products here – just BYO bottle for the refills.
  • Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto – this is the home of Prana+Therapy, which is so much more than a cleaning product, but does have a cleaning function! Refill your bottles of this miracle remedy here at the replenish station! The store also offers bulk refills of Ecostore dishwashing and laundry liquid, and stocks SoapNuts, which come in a cardboard box only (no inner plastic lining), and wooden clothes pegs.
  • Paparoa General Store, 2024 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa – stocks Go Bamboo wooden clothes pegs.
  • Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville – stocks washing soda, baking soda, bentonite clay and epsom salts in bulk if you would like to make your own cleaning products.
  • Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville – stocks bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap which can be used as a base for homemade laundry and dishwashing liquid.

Bathroom Products

  • The Well of Health, 1929 State Highway 1, Kaiwaka – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles, and unpackaged bars of soap.
  • Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One – stocks unpackaged bars of soap.
  • Mangawhai Four Square, 43 Moir Street, Mangawhai – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles.
  • Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai – stocks reusable/washable pads.
  • Meant to Be, 8 Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai – stocks bars of unpackaged soap.
  • Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street – lots of unpackaged soap available at the market. Also, if you see cosmetics on offer, ask the vendor whether they will accept empty containers back for refills (often the answer is yes!)
  • Wild Tiger, Shop 2/45 The Centre, Waipu – stocks Greencane toilet paper, which comes in home compostable wrapping/packaging.
  • Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto – stocks Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds, Greencane toilet paper, which comes in home compostable wrapping/packaging, Dirty Hippie shampoo bars, and unpackaged bars of soap.
  • Empire Art and Collectibles, 1994 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa – stocks Dirty Hippie shampoo bars and unpackaged bars of Good Life soap.
  • Paparoa General Store, 2024 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles, Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds, and unpackaged bars of soap.
  • Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville – the owner of this store makes beautiful soaps, which she sells unpackaged, from the milk from her goats! You can get unpackaged soap off-cuts for cheaper as well. She also makes a variety of other cosmetics which you can buy in-store in small jars – bring the jar back once you’ve finished, and they will be sterilised and refilled. The store also stocks washing soda, baking soda, bentonite clay and epsom salts in bulk if you would like to make your own bathroom products.
  • Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles, home compostable cotton buds, and menstrual cups.

Community groups and supportive networks

  • Love Kaipara – a wonderful organisation, trailblazing with the zero waste message throughout Kaipara, providing interactive education modules in schools, supporting zero waste events, hosting workshops and presentations, and offering tips and resources to homes, events and businesses for waste reduction. Definitely check out their website for tips, upcoming events, or if you’d like to book a talk for your school. They’ve also produced a really useful guide to recycling in the Kaipara area.
  • Plastic Free Mangawhai – this organisation of dedicated volunteers is really flying the flag for waste reduction in Mangawhai. They run workshops to make reusable bags out of upcycled t-shirts, but they also run a range of events. They have a goal of no more single-use plastics in Mangawhai by July 2018 – woah!

Whangārei

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

  • Bin Inn Kamo, 386 Kamo Road and Bin Inn Whangarei, 75 Walton Street – offer 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, syrups and tahini), and sweets and treats.  They also both have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! The Kamo store even has gluten-free pasta in bulk, a real rarity! Also, all Bin Inns across the country now offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers!
  • Putiputi Ra, 79 Walton Street – stocks a small range of organic bulk bin dried goods including grains, pulses/legumes, seeds and flours, as well as organic fresh fruit and veges. BYO bottles to refill with organic sunflower oil, tamari and apple cider vinegar. They also stock Loving Earth’s chocolate range (which comes in home-compostable packaging).
  • Rasheeds Shop’n Save, 3 Maunu Road – 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.
  • Fruit and Vege Warehouse, 28 Maunu Road – stocks a range of bulk bin dried goods, including spices, grains, pulses/legumes, nuts, seeds and flours.
  • Whangārei Food Coop/Whole Food Hub/Northland Natural Food Coop, 1 Woods Road – Whangārei has an absolutely humming food coop running out of Woods Road where you can get all kinds of dried and liquid foods in bulk, including flours, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, oils, vinegars, tamari, tahini and syrups. Well worth signing up!
  • Trade Aid, Corner of Vine Street and The Strand Shopping Centre – 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.
  • Kamo Health Shop, 523 Kamo Road – sells Trade Aid chocolate, which comes in home compostable packaging, and Trade Aid sugar (in brown paper bags that are home compostable, but also great upcycled as bulk bin bags).
  • Whangarei Gourmet Meats, 167 Kamo Road – this butcher is happy to put cuts of meat into your own container.

Drink options

  • Coffee – Bin Inn Kamo, 386 Kamo Road and Bin Inn Whangarei, 75 Walton Street both sell coffee beans in bulk, with a grinder on hand if you need it. Kamo Health Shop also stock Trade Aid instant coffee (packaged in home compostable packaging). Local roaster Ovenbird told us over the phone that their coffee is packaged in brown paper bags that are totally home compostable. They assured us the bags did not have an inner plastic lining. We have not had a chance to look at the packaging, but have taken them on their word!
  • Beer – look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. We found beer on tap at Liquorland Whangarei Central, 132 Dent Street and Liquorland Kensington, 3/5 Kensington Ave. Keep an eye out for other liquor stores or breweries that might also offer this option.

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • Aisle Blue, behind the boat sheds on Riverside Drive (on ‘The Loop’) – this amazing zero waste pop up store stocks essential zero waste items for food and kitchen, including wooden dishbrushes with the replaceable, home compostable heads, beeswax wraps, reusable metal straws, stainless steel reusable water bottles, Meals in Steel containers and Rethink produce + bulk bin bags.
  • EcoSolutions shop, opening soon at Loop De Loop Cycle Hire, Reyburn House Lane – sells several items that help reduce household waste, including 3 types of reusable takeaway cups: Cuppa Coffee Cups, Ideal Cups and ceramic ones, also Rethink organic cotton produce + bulk bin bags, beeswax wraps, and Munch reusable sandwich bags.
  • Putiputi Ra, 79 Walton Street – stocks reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (a great alternative to glad wrap and even tin foil for roasting), and wooden dishbrushes with the replaceable, home compostable heads.
  • Gifted at the Basin, 20 Quayside – stocks reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil), Wet It cotton + cellulose dishcloths that are home compostable, and reusable takeaway coffee cups made with bamboo fibre.
  • Gifts on Rathbone, 10 Rathbone Street – sells reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil), and ceramic and Cuppa Coffee Cups reusable takeaway coffee cups.
  • Intec Interiors, 14 Rathbone Street – sells reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil), both ceramic + bamboo fibre reusable takeaway coffee cups, and reusable water bottles.
  • Tuatara Design Store, 29 Bank Street – sells Cuppa Coffee Cups reusable takeaway coffee cups as well as ones made with bamboo fibre, reusable water bottles, and beeswax wraps.
  • Kamo Bookshop, 519 Kamo Road – sells Honeywrap beeswax wraps.

Cleaning Products

  • Aisle Blue, behind the boat sheds on Riverside Drive (on ‘The Loop’) – at this amazing zero waste pop up store, you can find most of your cleaning needs available in bulk – just BYO bottles/containers – including locally made cleaning products in glass bottles, refill Earthwise detergents (such as laundry and dishwashing liquid), and Earthwise dishwashing tablets in paper bags.
  • Putiputi Ra, 79 Walton Street – stocks bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap (which you can use as the base for homemade dishwashing/laundry liquid), bulk Eco Store detergent refills and SoapNuts that come packaged only in a cardboard box without a plastic bag lining the inside).
  • Bin Inn Kamo, 386 Kamo Road and Bin Inn Whangarei, 75 Walton Street – stock a range of cleaning products in bulk containers which you can fill into your own containers. Bin Inn Whangarei stocks SoapNuts that come packaged only in a cardboard box without a plastic bag lining the inside.
  • Whangārei Food Coop/Whole Food Hub/Northland Natural Food Coop, 1 Woods Road – if you’re signed up to this excellent coop then you can get a whole range of eco cleaning products in bulk from here, as well as bulk epsom salts and aluminium-free baking soda.

Bathroom Products

  • Aisle Blue, behind the boat sheds on Riverside Drive (on ‘The Loop’) – for the bathroom, Aisle Blue stocks reusable metal shaving razors as well as the razor blades, Go Bamboo toothbrushes with the wooden, home compostable handles, home compostable cotton buds, Smart Ass toilet paper (wrapped in home compostable packaging), Dirty Hippie shampoo bars, menstrual cups, and reusable baby products.
  • EcoSolutions shop, opening soon at Loop De Loop Cycle Hire, Reyburn House Lane – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes with the wooden, home compostable handle, and home compostable cotton buds.
  • Putiputi Ra, 79 Walton Street – unpackaged EcoStore soap, Grin + Go Bamboo toothbrushes that have wooden, home compostable handles, menstrual cups, and Greencane toilet paper (wrapped in home compostable packaging).
  • Bin Inn Whangarei, 75 Walton Street – stocks unpackaged bars of soap.
  • Bin Inn Kamo, 386 Kamo Road – stocks Greencane toilet paper (wrapped in home compostable packaging).
  • Kamo Health Shop, 523 Kamo Road – stocks menstrual cups.
  • Whangārei Food Coop/Whole Food Hub/Northland Natural Food Coop, 1 Woods Road – if you’re signed up to this excellent coop then you can get various bathroom products in bulk from here, including handwash and shampoo.

Tricky Things

  • EcoSolutions, 1 Woods Road – Whangārei is lucky to have an excellent environment centre that provides all kinds of assistance with low-waste living for homes and businesses, including waste audits, and support for events wishing to be ‘zero waste’ events. You can also bring your batteries to Ecosolutions for recycling. While Ecosolutions does not currently accept e-waste for recycling from individuals, if, for whatever reason, you have a larger amount of e-waste, they may be able to help you out (just get in touch!)
  • Food waste – As we mention in our talks, food waste to landfill creates methane. It is far preferable to deal with it at home with a composting, worm farm or bokashi system. If this all sounds confusing or expensive, we recommend looking out for the wonderful Compost Connection workshops run by Ecosolutions (who also stock worm farms and bokashi systems in their EcoShop). If you attend one of their workshops you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a heavily discounted worm farm – it’s worth it for that alone!!
  • SewGood Whangārei – interested in learning to sew, repairing clothes, or sharing your sewing skills with others? Sewing is a key skill for reducing textile waste and SewGood Whangārei is an excellent way for new and seasoned sewers to get together through their sewing bees at The Pacific Island Trust, 152 Cameron Street, Whangārei (next door to Tyrepower).
  • Plastic Bag Free Northland and Boomerang Bags Whangārei are doing great work to try and eliminate single use plastics in Whangārei and Northland generally. If you’re interested, get in touch as they are always keen for more volunteers!

Far North

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

  • Kerikeri Organic, 1188 State Highway 10 (7km south of Kerikeri off State Highway 10, 2.5km south of the Kerikeri Crossroads) – this small countryside organic shop runs on an honesty box system. Alongside fresh organic fruit and veges, eggs etc. they also have a range of bulk bins for grains, beans/legumes, flour, seeds etc. on rotation (the owners are open to buying in requested goods, so get in contact if you’d like to see them stock something that isn’t there when you go in).
  • Kerikeri Bulk Foods Store, 92 Kerikeri Road – 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, and a broad selection of liquid foods (including vinegars, oils and syrups).  They also both have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! Also, this store gives a 10% discount if you bring your own bags and containers!
  • Nosh Food Market Kerikeri, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa – BYO container for meat, cheese, salad, olives etc from the deli, and keep an eye out for a refillery station for oils and vinegars! The owner/operator is passionate about environmental sustainability and reducing waste, and has incorporated those values into every level of the business (the products that he stocks, working with suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging, not offering plastic bags, and using recycled wood for shelving and interior decor).
  • Churchill’s Fine Meats and Deli, 81 Kerikeri Road – happy to put meat and deli food into BYO containers.
  • The Sound Lounge, 75 Kerikeri Road (in the town centre) – stocks Trade Aid chocolate, which comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
  • Living Nature, 1246 State Highway 10 – stocks Trade Aid chocolate, which comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
  • Crave, Unit C5, 2 Cobham Road, Kerikeri – unpackaged gourmet popcorn – yus! Just BYO bags or containers. Hardly an essential zero waste item, but not always easy to find!
  • Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – sells unpackaged sweets.
  • Bush Fairy Dairy, 1195 Oruru Road, Peria – an absolute gem way off the beaten track in the Far North! Stocks a range of dried foods in bulk bins, including flours, grains, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds and spices. Offers refills of vinegar and tamari, and even has a peanut butter extruder with organic peanuts! Anything packed in little plastic snaplock bags (e.g. dried fruit and baking soda) can be transferred to your own bag at the counter and then the shop will reuse the little bags.
  • It’s Healthy Wholefoods, Shop 8 Plaza North, 210-222 Commerce Street, Kaitaia – a small organic shop, stocking dried bulk grains, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, flours and tea. Offers refills of tamari, olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Also stocks Trade Aid and Loving Earth chocolate, both of which come in home compostable packaging.
  • Whānau Meats, 137 Commerce Street, Kaitaia – this butcher is happy to put cuts of meat in a BYO container.
  • Pak’nSave, 111 North Road, Kaitaia – normally we wouldn’t recommend supermarkets, but the Pak’nSave in Kaitaia has a decent range of loose, unpackaged goods in the bulk section, including grains, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, sweets, and even veggie chips and other snacks. Also, like many supermarkets, offers fresh live mussels that you can put into your own container, and the usual deli and seafood section where you can get goods straight into BYO containers.
  • Farmers’ Markets: Kaitaia Farmers Market, Saturdays 7am-12pm, 11 Matthews Ave; Bay of Islands Farmers’ Markets, Thursdays 1.30-4pm at the Village Green in Paihia, and Saturdays 8.30am-12pm at the Post Office Carpark, Hobson Ave, Kerikeri. Check out your local farmers’ market for fresh, local produce, bread, preserves and much more – don’t forget to BYO bags and containers, and make sure the stallholders know you are keen to avoid unneccessary packaging! Many stallholders will also be happy to take back their jars/containers when you have finished with them, for sterilisation and refilling – you just have to ask.

Drink options

  • Tea – It’s Healthy Wholefoods, Shop 8 Plaza North, 210-222 Commerce Street, Kaitaia – sells various loose-leaf teas in bulk.
  • Coffee – look out for places where you can get loose coffee beans/grounds put into your own bag/container. For example, Max Coffee Roasters, 29 Mill Lane, Kerikeri; Kerikeri Bulk Foods Store, 92 Kerikeri Road; and The Gecko Cafe, 71 Commerce Street, Kaitaia. Otherwise, look out for Ikarus Coffee Roasters at your local farmers’ market (we saw them at the Kaitaia Farmers’ Market). Ikarus coffee is amazing in many ways: first, they sell their roasted beans in Econic home-compostable packaging; second, they are growing some of their own coffee beans in Pekerau Hills, Doubtless Bay! It’s early days, so home-grown stock is limited (get in quick!).
  • Milk – in Waipapa you can get milk from a vending machine into reusable glass bottles at Nosh Food Market Kerikeri, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa – yus!
  • Beer/Cider: Liquor King Kaitaia, 195 Commerce Street – BYO bottle to get beer and cider on tap, but only in summer. Keep an eye out for other liquor stores or breweries that might also have beer on tap.

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • Gold ‘n’ Gifts, 13 Williams Road, Paihia – sells Cuppa Coffee Cups (reusable takeaway coffee cups).
  • Barrow Boys Coffee, 94 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – sells reusable takeaway coffee cups by both Joco and Keep Cup.
  • The Scullery, 3 Fairway Drive, Kerikeri – stocks ceramic reusable takeaway coffee cups, as well as Zuperzozial‘s coffee cups made of bamboo fibre. Also sells reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (a great alternative to glad wrap and even foil for roasting), reusable water bottles, and Wet It cotton/cellulose dishcloths that are home compostable.
  • Hardy’s, 69 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – sells Ecostore wooden dishbrushes and replacement (home compostable) heads, and reusable water bottles.
  • Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – a historic site that also sells a few useful bits and bobs, including a wide range of brushes and kitchen utensils made from wood and natural materials (although none with replaceable heads – perhaps something worth asking for?), reusable water bottles and beeswax wraps (though the wraps are packaged in plastic…). Though they do sell beeswax candles which you could use to make your own wraps!
  • Nosh Food Market Kerikeri, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa – stocks Wet It cotton/cellulose dishcloths that are home compostable, Keep Cup reusable takeaway coffee cups, reusable metal straws, reusable produce bags, and wooden dishbrushes with the replaceable, home compostable heads.
  • Sarah’s Veg – Lettuce Supply You, Kerikeri – if you’d like locally-made produce bags, look no further than Sarah from Kerikeri, who makes excellent, durable produce bags, and sells them alongside her homegrown veg.
  • Flax Bush, 50 Waterfront Road, Mangonui – sells Flax Bush branded Ideal Cups.
  • EcoCentre Kaitaia, 8 South Road – sells locally-made beeswax wraps, locally-made cotton dishcloths, and locally-made produce bags and shopping bags. All the items for sale at the EcoCentre are super affordable and the staff and volunteers are really on to it when it comes to low-waste living, so a must to visit!
  • Essentially Flowers, 79 Commerce Street, Kaitaia – sells porcelain reusable takeaway coffee cups.
  • CBEC shop, 190 Pukepoto Road, Kaitaia – stocks organic cotton dish cloths.
  • Mana Kai Honey, 76 State Highway 1, Awanui – here you can get unpackaged beeswax, so you can make your own beeswax wraps at home!

Cleaning Products

  • Kerikeri Bulk Foods Store, 92 Kerikeri Road – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
  • Hardy’s, 69 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – sells bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap (which you can use as the base for homemade dishwashing/laundry liquid).
  • Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – sells bars of laundry soap that come with a nifty wooden brush.
  • CBEC shop, 190 Pukepoto Road, Kaitaia – CBEC’s eco shop has a few EcoStore detergents in bulk containers for you to refill your own bottles with.

Bathroom Products

  • Kerikeri Bulk Foods Store, 92 Kerikeri Road – stocks unpackaged bars of soap.
  • Hardy’s, 69 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles, menstrual cups, and unpackaged bars of EcoStore soap.
  • Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri – sells Humble Brush bamboo toothbrushes, with home compostable handles.
  • Nosh Food Market Kerikeri, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa – stocks a great range of low-waste bathroom products, including Greencane toilet paper (wrapped in home compostable packaging), Go Bamboo toothbrushes (with home compostable handles) and home compostable cotton buds, menstrual cups, as well as the full range of Nature Body products (e.g. sunscreen and deodorant) that are packaged in either unlined cardboard (which is home compostable), or in glass pottles which can be returned to Nature Body to be refilled (and you’ll get $1 off your next purchase for every returned jar!).
  • Bush Fairy Dairy, 1195 Oruru Road, Peria – sells unpackaged bars of soap.
  • EcoCentre Kaitaia, 8 South Road – sells very, very cheap baking soda (which is useful for various homemade products like toothpaste and deodorant) in upcycled glass jars (bring them back for refills), and menstrual cups.
  • It’s Healthy Wholefoods, Shop 8 Plaza North, 210-222 Commerce Street, Kaitaia – sells Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles.
  • CBEC shop, 190 Pukepoto Road, Kaitaia – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes (with home compostable handles) and cotton buds.
  • Boatshed Cafe, 8 Clendon Esplanade, Rawene – great cafe that also sells Go Bamboo compostable toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles, home compostable cotton buds, and Samoa Heritage coconut oil (good for various homemade products like toothpaste and deodorant), which has no plastic seal around the lid.
  • Hokianga i-SITE, 29 State Highway 12, Opononi – sells locally-made unpackaged bars of soap.
  • Omaparadise, 328 State Highway 12, Omapere – a cafe that also sells Samoa Heritage coconut oil (good for various homemade products like toothpaste and deodorant), which has no plastic seal around the lid.

Tricky Things, Community Groups and Supportive Networks

  • EcoCentre Kaitaia, 8 South Road – Kaitaia’s environment centre is truly excellent for supporting individuals to live with less waste without breaking the bank, it’s even produced its own zero waste shopping guide for Kaitaia. The centre is also the home of the Kaitaia Timebank. Among other benefits, Timebanking is a great way to share skills and resources within communities, building resilience and independence from corporations, which ultimately reduces waste.
  • CBEC, 190 Pukepoto Road, Kaitaia – CBEC is practically the home of zero waste in New Zealand (and perhaps even the world), and has been going since the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the Far North District Council recently decided not to renew CBEC’s contract to manage Kaitaia’s waste, and this has now passed to Northland Waste. This is a huge loss for Kaitaia but it can only be hoped that things will revert back next time the tender comes up. At the CBEC headquarters, there’s a shop to help with day-to-day waste reduction. CBEC is also the umbrella organisation for Ecosolutions, which supports communities across Whangārei and the Far North to live sustainably, including with low-waste living. At the moment, Ecosolutions is running a battery recycling scheme, so you can bring your unwanted batteries to CBEC for recycling!
  • Gardening and food waste – check out Te Hiku Māra Community Garden, Kaitaia if you’re interested in learning about gardening or in helping out with a community garden. When it comes to food waste, as we mention in our talks, food waste to landfill creates methane. It is far preferable to deal with it at home with a composting, worm farm or bokashi system. If you’re in Kaitaia, look out for workshops run by Te Hiku Māra Community Garden or the Compost Connection workshops run by Ecosolutions across the Far North. If you attend one of Compost Connection‘s workshops you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase a heavily discounted worm farm – it’s worth it for that alone!!
  • Para Kore – Para Kore is an amazing organisation working with marae, kura and Māori institutions and businesses to transition towards zero waste. Their resources/services are free and their regional kaiārahi are totally fabulous. Para Kore’s Kaiārahi for Te Hiku o Te Ika (the Far North) is Jared Hiakita and he rocks, so if you’re keen for some awhi with waste reduction, he’d be stoked to hear from you 🙂
  • Plastic Free Kaeo – another great local, community-driven initiative to rid Kaeo of single use plastics by 2020. They run sewing bees and produce beautiful reusable shopping bags. A great group to be a part of if you live nearby!
  • Russel Recyclers – this excellent organisation has been allocated a space of land near the Transfer Station at Russel to carry out recycling operations and divert as much waste from landfill as possible. Once this is up and running, the people of Russel will be able to take a variety of hard to recycle items there. Russel Recyclers’ ultimate goal is to gain the waste management contract for Russel – this would be a huge win for the community if it goes ahead! Watch this space…
  • Hokianga Environmental Protection Group – this group was born to oppose deep sea oil drilling, but its work has since expanded. One of the topics that it is taking action on is reducing plastic consumption in Hokianga and to raise awareness about the problem of plastics, particularly for the ocean. If you are interested in supporting their mahi, you may like to attend one of their meetings to find out how you can be involved.


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