This guide covers Palmerston North City, and the Manawatū, Horowhenua and Rangitikei Districts only. For other parts of the Manawatū-Whanganui region please refer to the Zero Waste in the Manawatū-Whanganui homepage.
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).
Markets – No two ways about it, if you want a good source of unpackaged (often locally grown) produce, markets are the place to go! At most markets you can meet the grower/producer face-to-face, making them an ideal place to start fruitful conversations about waste-free food, and to develop relationships and systems that enable you to get your favourite fruit, vege and preserves without the packaging. At markets you may also find local producers of pre-made foods like tofu, preserves and sauces etc. Have a chat to see if you can leave containers with the stall holders for them to fill with your desired product for you to pick up from them the following week, or if the stallholder uses glass jars for packaging, ask whether they will take their empty glass jars back for sterilisation and reuse. Check out this list of local markets, though some of our faves are the Hokowhitu Farmers Market, Sundays 9am-1pm, 356 Albert Street, Palmerston North; Feilding Farmers Market, Manchester Square, Feilding and Ashhurst Community Market, Ashhurst Library Grounds.
Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable when they do wear out. Trade Aid’s coconut oil is one of the few on the market that does not have a plastic seal around the lid. You can get these products at Trade Aid, 25 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North. You can also get the coconut oil at Be Free Grocer, Square Edge, 47 The Square, Palmerston North.
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).
NB: you can get lots of zero waste alternatives for common kitchen/food packaging items through In My Kitchen excellent business run from Palmerston North by local Shelley Wilson with an online store where you can buy a range of useful products that are essential to zero waste living, many of which are beautifully made by Shelley herself. If you’re local to Palmerston North, you should be able to arrange to pick-up any purchases from Shelley, to save on postage waste.
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles in Palmy at Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North; Ebony Coffee, 208 Featherston St, Palmerston North; Steven’s, The Plaza, Palmerston North (many different types), and Be Free Grocer, Square Edge, 47 The Square, Palmerston North. In Horowhenua, they’re stocked at De Molen Windmill, 96a Main Street, Foxton; Holly & Ivy, 74 Main Street, Foxton; Not So Shabby, 78 Main Street, Foxton; Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, 22 Harbour Street, Foxton; Farmers Levin, The Mall, 191 Oxford Street, Levin; and New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin. On the other side of the ranges, you’ll find them at Gifts and Souvenirs, 150 High Street, Dannevirke.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups:
Reusable lunch boxes or containers are great to have on you when you’re out and about in case you want to get takeaways, to carry leftovers home with you, or if you find food to forage. You can get Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at Organic Buzz, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North; and Be Free Grocer, Square Edge, 47 The Square, Palmerston North; or Bento Ninja lunchboxes at Petal and Bee Grocers, 68 Main Street, Foxton. Petal and Bee stocks handmade cutlery wraps/holders, and Be Free is also planning to stock them!
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 locally made produce bags and tote bags made from upcycled fabric at Be Free Grocer, Square Edge, 47 The Square, Palmerston North; and at Petal and Bee Grocers, 68 Main Street, Foxton; 100% organic cotton produce bags are available at Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North, New World Levin, 21 Bath Street, Levin and PAK’nSAVE Levin, 508 Queen Street East, Levin. If you’d like to make your own reusable bags, bulk bin bags and produce bags, check out the Levana Fibre Factory Shop, 36/38 Cambridge Street South, Levin and Fox’s Cottage Quilting and Knitting, 1 Purcell Street, Foxton, as both sell cheap off-cuts of 100% cotton fabrics (be careful at Levana though as many of their fabrics have poly, i.e. plastic, in them).
Say “no straw thanks” next time you order a drink out and either use your mouth to drink, or get yourself a reusable metal straw instead. If you’re keen on a reusable metal straw, you can get them (and straw cleaners) from Be Free Grocer, Square Edge, 47 The Square, Palmerston North; Organic Buzz, 337 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North; Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North; Petal and Bee Grocers, 68 Main Street, Foxton; Not So Shabby, 78 Main Street, Foxton; and Farmers Levin, The Mall, 191 Oxford Street, Levin (though these are packaged in plastic unfortunately!).
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 Be Free Grocer, Square Edge, 47 The Square, Palmerston North (also stock a coconut fibre bottlebrush,and a handle-less veggie brush which works really well as a pot scrubber too); Steve’s Wholefoods, 101 Albert St, Palmerston North, Steven’s, The Plaza, Palmerston North, Urban Charm, 49 George Street, Palmerston North; Petal and Bee Grocers, 68 Main Street, Foxton; Healthnuts Wholefoods, 26 High Street, Dannevirke and Gifts and Souvenirs, 150 High Street, Dannevirke (also a coconut fibre scrubby and and other organic scrubbing brushes).
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 Petal and Bee Grocers, 68 Main Street, Foxton – 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:
NB: you can get lots of zero waste alternatives for common bathroom items through In My Kitchen excellent business run from Palmerston North by local Shelley Wilson with an online store where you can buy a range of useful products that are essential to zero waste living, many of which are beautifully made by Shelley herself. If you’re local to Palmerston North, you should be able to arrange to pick-up any purchases from Shelley, to save on postage waste.
It’s easy to get soap without packaging. 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 and replacement blades from Klassic Kuts and Beauty, 16 Broadway Avenue, Palmerston North; or Totally Balmy, Feilding (if you’re local, opt for “local pickup” at the checkout of the online shop to avoid the cost and packaging waste of delivery, or else opt for the “plastic-free” delivery option). Shaving brushes are available through Totally Balmy and most pharmacies.