This guide covers Porirua only. For other parts of the Greater Wellington Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Greater Wellington Region 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!
- Bin Inn Porirua, Unit 4, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City – 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, liquid foods (including vinegars, oils, syrups and tahini, which are stored in beautiful large glass containers instead of the usual plastic), and plenty of sweets and treats. They also both have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! Also, all Bin Inns across the country now offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers.
- IndoKiwi Grocers, 2/14 Cobham Court, Porirua City – stocks a wide range of unpackaged dried food in bulk bins, including grains, flours, legumes, nuts, seeds, spices and more.
- Supermarkets – all major supermarkets in Porirua 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 Commonsense Organics or IndoKiwi.
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!
- Preston’s Master Butchers, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City – happy to put unpackaged cuts of meat into a BYO container (in fact, encourage it), but they do note that once something has been placed in a container, it can’t be taken out again (so no changing your mind about the weight you want at the last minute!!)
- Porirua Seafoods, 2/4 Norrie Street, Porirua City – get unpackaged seafood into clean BYO containers here
- Unpackaged live mussels/whole fish – there are a few stores around town that stock unpackaged live mussels and/or whole fish at self-serve counters. We put them straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO containers rather than the plastic bags the stores usually provide. You can find mussels and fish at PAK’nSAVE Porirua, 12 Parumoana Street, Porirua City; and just mussels at Countdown Porirua, corner Parumoana Street and Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City; and New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City.
- Supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering unpackaged meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more. All Countdown, New World and PAK’nSAVE supermarkets officially allow you to BYO container for these goods!
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).
- Brumby’s Bakery, 56 Parumoana Street, Porirua City
- North City Bakery, 18 Mungavin Ave, Porirua East
- Moore Wilson’s, 65 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua City – stocks a range of locally baked bread unpackaged.
- 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 – No two ways about it, if you want to get a good source of unpackaged (often locally grown), produce, markets are the place to go! BYO bags to get fresh produce and more from the Porirua Saturday Market, every Saturday from 4am-12noon, rear car park of Waitangirua Shopping Mall, 3 Niagara Street. By and large, we’ve found that markets, where you can meet the grower/producer face-to-face, are really great for starting fruitful conversations about waste-free food, and developing relationships and systems that enable you to get your favourite fruit, vege and preserves without the packaging. Many of the Wellington markets have local producers of pre-made foods like tofu, noodles, preserves 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.
- Veggie boxes/co-ops – there are lots of fruit, veg + food co-ops around town from whom you can order your veggies each week. Around the country we’ve found that unless these co-ops have a zero waste policy, the fruit and veg will usually be pre-packed, so it’s essential to contact them before ordering and have a conversation about whether the co-op is willing to use reusable bags for your box, or to leave things unpackaged (you may be the first person who’s ever asked, so always good to plant the seed!). Generally, if it’s a local operation, it should be possible to arrange this. If it’s not possible to arrange, we recommend looking elsewhere or simply getting unpackaged fruit, vege and other staples from markets and other stores. Some box and/or co-op schemes to look at are Wairarapa Eco Farm or the organic Bounty Box by Harriet & George in Linden.
- 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. You can get Trade Aid sugar at New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City.
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 some spots we found:
- Bin Inn Porirua, Unit 4, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City
- Elemental Coffee, 790 Moonshine Road, Pauatahanui – we haven’t asked whether you can get unpackaged whole/ground coffee into BYO containers, but it’s worth a try if you’re in the area!
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:
- Uh-oh! We didn’t find anywhere in Porirua where this was possible – have we missed somewhere?
- Bell‘s loose leaf tea comes packaged only in cardboard and paper and is readily available in most supermarkets, Four Squares and dairies.
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:
- Cow’s milk delivery in reusable glass bottles – You’ve got TWO options!
- Eketahuna Country Meats do home delivery of milk in reusable glass bottles (just like the old days!) across the Wellington Region – to check out which day they deliver to your area, you’ll need to begin the registration process on their website. You’ll have milk delivered to your door in reusable glass bottles (just like the old days!) – leave your empty bottles out on the next delivery day so they can be returned to Eketahuna Country Meats for sterilisation and refill. YAY!
- MannaMilk is a raw milk company delivering raw milk all across the Lower North Island, including drop-off points throughout Wellington. The milk is delivered in single-use plastic bottles, which isn’t zero waste. HOWEVER, you can request that the milk be dropped-off in a reusable 10L pail, which you can pour into BYO bottles. As this is a large quantity of milk, you can either get a lot and freeze some, or go in with a group of others and share the milk and the cost between you. You can see MannaMilk’s delivery routes, days and drop-off points here.
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:
- Moore Wilson’s, 65 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua City
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).
- Drinking chocolate/cocoa in bulk bins – Bin Inn Porirua, Unit 4, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City
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 Paper Plus, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City;
There are heaps of options to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Porirua:
- Glass cups, such as Keep Cup, are sold at @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; and Moore Wilson’s, 65 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua City
- Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup (plastic) at Paper Plus, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City
- Cups made of a bamboo fibre/plastic composite are sold at Paper Plus, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; Life Pharmacy North City, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City.
- Ceramic cups with silicone lid are sold at @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City
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 at New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City. For an alternative to a plastic shopping bag, get 100% cotton bags at @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City
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 @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; and metal, bamboo and silicone straws at Countdown Porirua, corner Parumoana Street and Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wrap
- Purchase at – Life Pharmacy North City, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City
- 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 in other parts of Wellington – check our other guides.
- 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 stretchy and firm ones at @cquisitions, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City
Refills of cleaning products
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:
- Get Fixed Bicycle Cafe, Harbours Edge, 16 Parumoana Street
- Bin Inn Porirua, Unit 4, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City
We didn’t find anywhere in Porirua where you can get dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads – check out our guides for other parts of Wellington.
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 – use old cotton rags, or check out other sections of our Wellington region shopping guides for where to buy!
- Eco Planet and Earthwise laundry powders come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop (or no scoop at all for Earthwise!) – no plastic lining! You can get both at New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City; or just Earthwise at Countdown Porirua, corner Parumoana Street and Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City; and PAK’nSAVE Porirua, 12 Parumoana Street, Porirua City.
- You can also get Living Green laundry powder, which is in just cardboard and brown paper (also septic tank safe) with a bamboo scoop, from (almost) any Countdown supermarket.
- Non-plastic clothes pegs – bamboo pegs are available at New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City.
INGREDIENTS FOR DIY CLEANING PRODUCTS
- Baking soda – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Bin Inn Porirua, Unit 4, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City
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 New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City; Life Pharmacy North City, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; Countdown Porirua, corner Parumoana Street and Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City; and PAK’nSAVE Porirua, 12 Parumoana Street, Porirua City.
- Dental Floss – Countdown Porirua, corner Parumoana Street and Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City 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 dogooder.co.nz – just pop the refill into your original metal/glass dispenser.
Unpackaged Bars of Soap
- Bin Inn Porirua, Unit 4, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City
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!
- Many places stock 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): Life Pharmacy North City, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; Farmers, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City
- Check out local company Underground Soapery who make shampoo bars (among other things) – you can buy their products online, or find them at one of the markets in the Wellington region.
- Get deodorant, dry shampoo, lip balm and/or sunscreen in compostable cardboard tubes. No.8 Essentials deodorant and lip balm is sold at Life Pharmacy North City, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City.
Reusable Menstrual Products
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads.
- Menstrual cups – stocked at Life Pharmacy North City, North City Shopping Centre, 2 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; Health 2000, North City Shopping Centre, 209 Titahi Bay Road, Porirua City; and PAK’nSAVE Porirua, 12 Parumoana Street, Porirua City.
Liquid Toiletries on Tap
The following stores stock a range of liquid bathroom products on tap that you can refill your own bottles with:
- Get Fixed Bicycle Cafe, Harbours Edge, 16 Parumoana Street
- Bin Inn Porirua, Unit 4, 16 Parumoana Street, Porirua City
- Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City.
- Toilet Paper – New World Porirua, Lyttelton Ave, Porirua City stocks Greencane toilet paper (which comes in fully home compostable packaging). Also, most Supermarkets now stock EarthSmart toilet paper that comes in paper packaging.
Reuse and Recycle
- Food waste and composting – food waste in a bin gets sent to landfill where it breaks down anaerobically, producing methane (a potent greenhouse gas). No! Here are some alternatives:
- Home composting/worm farms/bokashi – Having a composting, worm farm or bokashi bin system at home is the best and cheapest way to deal with your food scraps. If you’d like help setting one up or working out what the best system would be for you, organisations like Sustainability Trust in Wellington City, Cannons Creek Community Pantry in Cannons Creek, the Green Gardener in Kāpiti, and various community gardens around the region offer composting workshops.
- Food scrap collections – If you’re in Wellington City, consider signing up to have your food waste picked up by Kai Cycle for a fee (your compost will then be taken to Workerbe Oasis, that grows food that gets redistributed to people in the city that need it most). If you are a business, you can sign up to Kai Cycle too, or you can also sign up to have your food waste picked up by Kai to Compost or Organic Waste Management, both of whom take the food scraps to be commercially composted at the Southern Landfill (not dumped in the big hole in the ground!). Organic Waste Management services Lower Hutt and Porirua as well as Wellington City.
- Dropping off your food scraps somewhere – If you’d like to break the food down yourself but haven’t got a garden to put into, you can buy your own bokashi bin and deliver the juices yourself to Workerbe Oasis, for free. OR, check if you can drop food scraps off at the compost bin in your local community garden. For example, if you live in Mount Vic, you’re welcome to drop your food scraps off to the compost at Innermost Gardens, or in Hataitai you can drop your scraps at the Hataitai Community Garden at the old Hataitai Bowling Club. There’s also a community compost at Aro Valley.
- Edible business food waste – food that is still edible that goes to waste is a crying shame. Across the Wellington region there are some really excellent food redistribution services that are rescuing food from businesses that is not good enough to sell, but is still good enough to eat, and redistributing it to social justice organisations who can pass it on to people who need it most. These excellent organisations include Kaibosh (Wellingon City and Lower Hutt), The Free Store (Wellington City), The Share Shack (Aro Valley), Kiwi Community Assistance (Tawa) and Waiwaste (Wairarapa). So if you’re a business with extra food at the end of the day, consider getting in touch with one of these organisations. Also, a shout out to The Free Store, which is working on making its operation zero waste (!) – businesses that work with The Free Store can help them achieve this goal by not repackaging up the food they donate to the organisation.
- E-waste – electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, with huge environmental implications because of the toxins that can be leached from this waste, but also the loss of incredibly precious resources embedded in these items that are not recovered when the waste is dumped in landfill.
- Repair – Rather than throwing you broken electronics out – have you considered trying to get them repaired first? You could pay someone to do it. For example, LT Campbell, 128 Tory St are excellent for appliance repairs. Looking for parts? The Recycle Centre and Second Treasures Shop takes apart broken gadgets and appliances and sells them or their usable parts on their Trademe account – it’s worth a good look! Also Selwyn Andrews in Kelburn (email@example.com) repairs various stereo items, does PAT testing and iPhone screen replacements, in addition to general appliance repairs, at very competitive rates. If you’d like to try your own hand at repairing your things, consider going along to a Repair or Fix-it Cafe where experts donate their time to fix people’s broken items for free at a designated repair event (usually run by community centres, churches or councils). The Newtown Tool Library runs these semi-regularly, as does the Carterton Fix It Lab.
- Recycle – If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to be recycled responsibly. You can do this at the Sustainability Trust‘s EcoShop, 2 Forrester’s Lane, Te Aro, Wellington; the Recycle Centre and Second Treasures Shop, at the Wellington Southern Landfill; Trash Palace, Broken Hill Road, Porirua; Earthlink, 25 Peterkin St, Wingate, Lower Hutt; Masterton, Carterton & Martinborough Transfer Stations (these drop-offs are FREE); or Wairarapa Resource Centre, 8 King Street, Masterton. For some of these items, you will have to pay to recycle them (until the Government starts to regulate manufacturers of these products), but it’s a small cost relative to damage these items otherwise cause in landfill. E-waste drop offs for recycling is FREE at the Masterton, Carterton & Martinborough transfer stations.
- Tip Shops/Recycling + Reuse Shops – For all your recycling and reusing needs, look out for reuse shops at local landfills. There’s the Recycle Centre and Second Treasures Shop, at the Wellington Southern Landfill, Landfill Road (off Happy Valley Road); Trash Palace, Broken Hill Road, Porirua; Earthlink, 25 Peterkin St, Wingate, Lower Hutt; and Wairarapa Resource Centre, 8 King Street, Masterton. If you’ve got a hard-to-recycle item or something that’s still functional but which you no longer want, rather than chucking such things out, take them to one of these reuse shops and see if they’ll accept them. The Second Treasures Shop has loads of great items for sale on their Trademe account – it’s worth a good look! Furthermore, if you’re ever in need of a new one-off purchase – from materials for a home fit-out, cuts of wood, building materials, through to cutlery, appliances, furniture or other knick knacks – consider coming to shop here first, before going to buy something new. You might be amazed by what you find (and the low cost)…
Zero Waste Information and Support Networks
- Waste-ed – a local social enterprise formed to educate and advocate around waste consciousness in Wellington City. Waste-ed runs heaps of workshops, events, information sessions, and campaigns that provide information and solutions for Wellington’s waste, as well as actions individuals can take to reduce waste in their own lives. Waste-ed also has an online shop selling locally-made products that help with low-waste living (like reusable snack bags, cutlery wallets and beeswax wraps). Check out their website, which has heaps of resources and listings for upcoming waste-related events.
- Zero Waste Wellington, Zero Waste Wairarapa, Waste Free Kapiti Facebook pages/groups – these are great forums for sharing ideas about low-waste living in the local area, seeking tips or recommendations, or staying on top of local activities and actions that you might like to be a part of. Worth signing up to if you are a Facebook user.
- Plastic Free Kāpiti – a Facebook page set up by Paekākāriki local Rachel Benefield who lives plastic free with her family of 5. The page intends to support households and individuals aiming to live without plastic.
- 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 Upoko o te Ika is Te Kawa Robb – if you’re keen for some awhi with waste reduction, he’d be stoked to hear from you 🙂
Share and Exchange
- Toy Libraries – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys and save money by joining a toy library! Check out this guide to find the nearest Toy Library to you.
- Tool Libraries – no need for every person and his or her dog to own a set of tools when we can all share them and reduce the over-duplication of resources. There’s a tool library in Newtown, and a tool library in Cannons Creek run by the Cannons Creek Community Pantry.
- The Share Shack in Aro Valley – as well as a place you can get free rescued food that’s still good to eat, The Share Shack has a bunch of stuff for free like clothes, books, toys and lots of other household items and bits and bobs. There’s even a wall of ‘boomerang’ tools – just borrow and bring back. You can donate unwanted items in good condition to The Share Shack too.
- Crop Swap – At a crop swap, individuals who have veges or seedlings they’ve grown, preserves or baking they’ve made (or similar), or even home-made knitting/crochet (etc.) crafts (anything made or grown by your hands), come together once a fortnight or once a month, to trade their offerings without any money changing hands – all free! Just bring something to share and let the swapping begin! Trading homegrown or home created goodies with friends and locals means you can avoid all that packaging that often comes with a store setting. You can also have friendly chats about how to share goods without the waste. There’s a monthly crop swap in Wellington at the Newtown Cultural and Community Centre.
- Timebanking – Through timebanking you can share skills and services without the exchange of money, making it a great way to reduce waste on a budget because you can harness skills of creating and repairing that exist in your community (repairing broken clothes or electronics, for example), or having someone pass these skills on to you (how to garden, how to build). Perhaps you have some of these skills already that you could pass on to someone else for time credits? The Wellington Timebank is thriving and well worth getting involved with, if you aren’t already! There are also timebanks in Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt, Wairarapa and one running out of the Common Unity Project Aotearoa in Epuni.
- The Sharing Shelf (outside The Petone Depot, 8/193 Jackson Street, Petone) – a wee shelf where anyone can come down and drop off produce, a book or some other useful item for someone else to take, for free! Likewise, anyone can take something they fancy. You don’t have to drop something off every time you pick something up – there are no formalities. The wonderful art of sharing means that excess produce doesn’t go to waste. Furthermore, items can be shared without excessive amounts of packaging.
Skills and Resourcefulness in Communities
- Community gardens/urban planting – community gardens are an excellent way for residents to get kai without packaging, and to learn skills of growing food and setting up composts – both very useful skills for low-waste living. There are some great community gardens around the Greater Wellington Region, including 16 throughout Wellington City, 9 on the Kāpiti Coast, 9 in Lower Hutt, and about 5 in Upper Hutt! Another gem is the Petone Food Gardens Network which is guerilla gardening and planting edible food all around Petone – yay! Community gardens are always looking for volunteers to help out and come along to working bees, so if you are interested in picking up gardening skills, or if you are already a keen gardener and would like to have the opportunity to share your skill with others, consider getting involved with your local community garden.
- Menzshed – there are Menzsheds throughout Wellington Region. Menzshed provides a great opportunity for men of all ages to share tools and a workspace (reducing the wasteful overduplication of these resources) and to pass on skills of woodworking and other trades. Menzsheds frequently offer communities the service of repairing broken items like furniture (at a small cost), work with upcycled material that might otherwise go to waste, and also create bespoke items for community and charitable purposes. Definitely look up your local!
- Common Unity Project Aotearoa, 310 Waiwhetu Road, Epuni, Lower Hutt – the legend of CUPA spreads far and wide. We can say that it certainly goes above and beyond its reputation in real life. Community Unity Project Aotearoa is an absolutely incredible community centre that runs a huge range of projects that achieve many positive social outcomes, but which also advance zero waste ideas. The membership owned, on-site bulk store Common Grocer is a great example. The centre also runs a range of repurposing projects, rescuing materials that might otherwise go to waste and putting it to good use, for example, rescued timber which is available for purchase from the wood workshop for $1 a metre; and the Sew Good project that repurposes waste fabric into all manner of useful items (any person who is running a community project is welcome to come and take fabric from the fabric bank for a koha too). CUPA also raises organic seedlings which are available for purchase and is home to a seedbank, and they take care of a variety of community gardens, harvesting the goods and working with schools to use the produce for kids’ lunches! There’s also a bike workshop on site and a range of repurposed bicycles available for hire (either for koha or for an exchange of volunteering hours) and a sharing shed that will soon be home to things like camping gear that people can borrow (rather than having to buy new equipment). There are a thousand and one other projects that CUPA runs that achieve multiple positive outcomes, bringing the community together, sharing skills, having fun AND reducing waste. No wonder people all over the country are abuzz about this place! Definitely check it out
- The Petone Depot, 8/193 Jackson Street, Petone – an awesome social enterprise in the heart of Petone that’s getting behind some great reducing initiatives, from supporting Boomerang Bags and the Petone Food Gardens Network, to hosting the monthly CreateSpace where locals who are into anything creative (including crafts, growing, repairing, and arts) can get together to share projects, brainstorm new ones, or have a chance to take part in one of the community’s creative projects (including sewing and growing).
- Good House Keeping, 287 Cuba Street, is a great store focused on fostering DIY, mending and repairing. The store stocks all manner of items to help you get good at making and mending, to become more resourceful and chuck less stuff out! They’ve really thought about sustainable options in great detail (even supplying bike oil on tap – so you can refill BYO bottles!) Definitely check this store out next time you’re in town, and have a yarn with the owners Lisa or Mark about their tips for resourceful, sustainable living.
- Mechanical Tempest, 224-234 Riddiford Street, Newtown – got a bike that needs fixing? Found a beat up bike somewhere that looked like it might be get chucked out if not for some TLC? Want to do a bike up to save it from landfill? Have no idea what to do or where to start? Check out Mechanical Tempest – a not-for-profit bike workshop space. Anyone can come and work on their bike here and learn the essential skills for doing so with the support of knowledgeable on-hand volunteers. Sharing tools and a space reduces waste, and getting up to scratch on bike repair techniques will save you money, and potentially also a bike that would otherwise get biffed.
- Vinnies Re Sew, 32 Rongotai Road, Kilbirnie – a textile recycle/upcycling initiative running out of St Vincent De Paul’s in Kilbirnie. Re Sew takes donated clothing which is not good enough to sell from the Vinnies op shops across Wellington and salvages it as fabric and/or upcycles it. Apart from helping to divert tonnes of textiles from landfill, the programme also provides a place for anyone to come to learn how to sew or to hang out and be creative or to develop work training opportunities.
- Pins ‘N’ Needles, 6 Perry Street, Masterton – got some broken clothes but not sure how to repair them? Bring them into Linda at Pins n Needles for repairing! Not only will your clothes be as good as new, but any waste fabric from the fixing process, Linda will upcycle into a new creation – thus reducing as much textile waste from landfill as possible. Awesome! You can even check out the store to buy upcycled clothing instead of buying new or even secondhand – the clothes Linda makes for children are just divine! If you’re keen to repair your clothes yourself but just need a bit advice, drop in to Pins n Needles because Linda will surely be able to point you in the right direction 🙂
- Resilient Carterton – a fabulous umbrella organisation bringing together groups and people that are taking actions that improve resilience in the Carterton community. By and large, a more resilient, self-sufficient community with a thriving local economy is a less wasteful community that is more resourceful and less dependent on imports of packaged goods and cheap throwaways. Have a look at some of the groups, individuals and projects that Resilient Carterton is supporting and promoting.
- Sewing, crafts, knitting, crochet – We’re of the view that sewing, crafts, knitting and crochet are all key skills for combating waste in our lives (whether it’s the ability to make your own produce bags and beeswax wraps, knit a dishcloth, or repair broken clothes). In Greater Wellington you can find great organisations where you can get involved to either learn or pass on those skills, complete community sewing projects, attend workshops, or simply complete your own sewing projects in the company of others. Great examples are the Sew Good Cooperative at the Common Unity Project Aotearoa, 310 Waiwhetu Road, Epuni, Lower Hutt or Vinnies Re Sew in Wellington City. Thimbles and Threads, 84 Main Street, Upper Hutt also runs lots of affordable sewing classes and is generally very supportive of low-waste, upcycling fabric initiatives! Joining a group that is sewing reusable bags to give out to the community is also a great way to learn to sew while helping to reduce plastic bag consumption and these groups are always looking for volunteers (regardless of whether or not you have prior sewing knowledge). For example, check out your local Boomerang Bags group – there are branches in Wellington City, Petone, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Featherston, and Martinborough.