This guide covers Queenstown & Arrowtown only. For other parts of Queenstown-Lakes District, please refer to the Zero Waste in Queenstown-Lakes District 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).
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 unpackaged coffee in other stores (which usually have in-store grinders also). Here are the spots we found that offer these options:
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 Vudu Cafe, 16 Rees Street, Queenstown; Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road; Countdown Frankton, 30 Grant Road, Frankton; Queenstown Natural Health, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32 Grant Road, Frankton; Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Road, Frankton; Mooch, 19 Grant Road, Frankton; Gibbston Valley Gift Shop, 1820 Gibbston Highway; and Mrs. Woolly’s General Store, 64 Oban Street, Glenorchy.
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. Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, Queenstown; and Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown stock Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes.
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 get yourself 100% cotton produce and/or bulk bin bags at Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, Queenstown; FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road, Queenstown; The Outpost, 3 Beach St, Queenstown; Soul Food Organic Queenstown, Shop B/05, 19 Grant Road, Frankton; Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Road, Frankton; and Mooch, 19 Grant Road, Frankton.
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 straw, you can get them from The Outpost, 3 Beach Street, Queenstown (metal); Alpine Four Square, corner of Stanley & Shotover Streets, Queenstown (metal); Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, Queenstown (metal); Countdown Frankton, 30 Grant Road, Frankton (metal, bamboo & silicone); Queenstown Natural Health, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32 Grant Road, Frankton (metal); Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Road, Frankton (bamboo & metal); Soul Food Organic Queenstown, Shop B/05, 19 Grant Road, Frankton (metal); Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown; and Mooch, 19 Grant Road, Frankton (glass, metal & silicone).
The following stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers!
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, Queenstown
Alternatively, you can find Go Bamboo veggie brushes (which can also be used as a dishbrush, and is home compostable) at Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton; Queenstown Organics Wholefoods, 9 McBride Street, Frankton; and Soul Food Organic Queenstown, Shop B/05, 19 Grant Road, Frankton.
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:
Find at Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown; Soul Food Organic Queenstown, Shop B/05, 19 Grant Road, Frankton; and the Gibbston Valley Gift Shop, 1820 Gibbston Highway.
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% stainless steel 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 (you can get the Ethique, Dirty Hippie, or Global Soap shaving bars in Queenstown (see above)). Finally, you’ll need a shaving brush to use with the shaving soap bar. You can buy safety razors from Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown, and get your shaving brushes from The Outpost, 3 Beach St, Queenstown; and Unichem Summerfield’s Pharmacy, 2/1091 Frankton Road, Frankton.