Zero Waste in Queenstown & Arrowtown

Zero Waste in Queenstown & Arrowtown

This guide covers Queenstown & Arrowtown businesses only. For other parts of Queenstown-Lakes District or to read about district-wide council and community services, or city-wide shopping options, please refer to the Zero Waste in Queenstown-Lakes District homepage.

NB: All our regional guides cover as many low-waste options as we could find for food, drink, kitchen and food packaging, cleaning products and bathroom products – scroll down to view each category.

FOOD OPTIONS (I.E. STORES THAT OFFER LOOSE ITEMS WHICH YOU CAN PUT, UNPACKAGED, INTO YOUR OWN BYO BAGS/CONTAINERS)

Wholefoods

Unfortunately, there is a real lack of stores in Queenstown stocking affordable pantry foods unpackaged/in bulk bins that you can put into your own bags/containers (or which at least have an option for you to avoid unnecessary packaging). We’ve heard through the grapevine that there may be an organic store with bulk bins opening sometime next year in Queenstown, but haven’t been able to confirm from the horse’s mouth! In the meantime, what to do? We’ve identified some stores that have the potential to move into the unpackaged wholefoods space for the Queenstown community, but it will require locals to keep asking them!

  • Organic Co-op ZQN – This is an organic co-op, which anyone in Queenstown could join. The group bulk buys wholefoods from organics suppliers such as Ceres. At the moment the co-op is not quite big enough to be buying in the really large bags of food (which tend to be more sustainably packaged than the smaller 3kg bulk bags that the group currently purchases). However, the more people that join the co-op, the more this larger bulk buying could be possible (and then people could just put smaller quantities taken out of the big bulk bag into their own bags/containers). So, definitely check this co-op out, if you haven’t already, to see if you can help push the numbers up!
  • Queenstown Organics Wholefoods (formerly Oamaru Organics)9 McBride Street, Frankton, Queenstown – stocks unpackaged organic produce (BYO bags), but all the wholefoods are packaged. At the moment this store is hesitant about stocking some unpackaged wholefood options, but it could be worth a whole heap of people asking them because we reckon this store could go someway towards filling the gap in the unpackaged wholefoods market in Queenstown!
  • Fine Food Brokers, Unit 1, 9 Industrial Place – at the moment, nothing in this store is available unpackaged. However, the store buys in wholefoods in bulk (it just repacks them into plastic bags for sale in its retail shop). It’s quite a big space so there’s heaps of scope for them to put in bulk bins or just big jars to dispense from instead. As the store is a bit out of town, it’s less likely to have the kinds of people looking for ‘convenience’ food (such as tourists), and more likely to attract the kinds of customers who’d be keen to shop from bulk bins. We encourage people in Queenstown to keep asking this business to offer their bulk wholefoods unpackaged – the more people who ask, the more likely you’ll see change.
  • Supermarkets (Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton; FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road, New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown) – these three supermarkets have 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!). Your best bet is to check out the extensive Pak’NSave Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton bulk bin/pick and mix aisle because some of their stock IS reasonably priced – especially look out for what’s on special in this aisle because sometimes the prices for individual ingredients can get pretty cheap!

Butchers/Fishmongers/Cheese/Eggs

Places that sell unpackaged meat, sausages, small goods, seafood, cheese and eggs and are happy for you to BYO container to put the goods in.

  • Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road – this store has a range of unpackaged meats and other deli food at the deli which they are happy to put straight into your own container.
  • Neat Meat, 5/3 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown – lots of unpackaged meat, sausages etc. which the storekeepers are happy to put straight into BYO containers. Also loose/unpackaged spices are available behind the counter with a meat purchase (just BYO jars/bags to have the spices put into).
  • Harbour Fish, 9 McBride Street, Frankton, Queenstown – BYO container for all unpackaged seafood, plus they’re phasing out plastic wrap! They also stock Bay Road peanut butter that does not have the disposable plastic seal around the rim (and you can keep the glass jar for upcycling).
  • Unpackaged live mussels – there are a few stores around town that stock unpackaged live mussels, which we put straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO container rather than the plastic bags the store provides. You can find unpackaged live mussels at FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road, New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown, Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton.
  • Bonjour, 25 Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown – sells cuts of cheese off the wheel (BYO container to have the cuts put into).
  • Queenstown Organics Wholefoods (formerly Oamaru Organics)9 McBride Street, Frankton, Queenstown – stocks loose organic eggs that you can put in a BYO egg carton.
  • Try your luck with BYO containers at the supermarket/FourSquare delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more all unpackaged. Some supermarkets will allow you to BYO container for these goods, while others won’t. It can be hit and miss, often depending on the staff member you talk to. For example, New World supermarkets have a flexible franchise model which means they can usually make their own in store decisions about whether to allow BYO containers or not, whereas pretty much any Countdown will not accept BYO containers. It’s always worth asking though!

Bakeries/unpackaged bread

Stores that bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods – just BYO bag. Some places will bag up their bread later in the day, so be sure to get in there early enough (i.e. before 1pm).

  • Fergbaker40 Shotover Street, Queenstown – bakes and sells heaps of unpackaged bread (including Sourdough) and lots of unpackaged bakery goods (just BYO bags/containers)
  • Ma Boulangerie, 12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown – bakes and sells unpackaged bread and bakery goods (just BYO bags).
  • Arrowtown Bakery & Cafe, 1 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown – sells unpackaged cheap bread (BYO bags).
  • Provisions of Arrowtown, 65 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown – bakes and sells unpackaged bread.
  • Bonjour, 25 Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown – sells unpackaged baguettes (BYO bags).
  • The following supermarkets stock unpackaged bread and/or bakery goods, just BYO bags: Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown, Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton

Other stuff

Sweets, specialty foods, pet food, innovative packaging and markets.

  • Markets – there’s nothing like going along to your local market to find packaging-free food (and also all kinds of other local creations). Shopping local is a great way to reduce waste because the food and goods don’t have to be packed up for travelling long distances and because you can have direct one-on-one conversations with the grower or producer, explaining that you don’t want their beautiful product in a packet, and brainstorming alternatives together (a kind of conversation/collaboration that is very difficult to have with a supermarket!!) For example, even if the seller has already packaged-up the goods, often you can ask to have them transferred to your own bag/container and have the seller keep their bag/container for reuse. Or ask the seller if they ever take back returned empties (whether glass jars for preserves or glass pottles for cosmetics/beauty products) for sterilisation and refill. You’ll perhaps be surprised by how often the answer is yes (and if it isn’t, you’ll have planted a seed!) Some great local markets include the Arrowtown Farmers’ Market, the Remarkables Market and the Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market. Aside from great stalls and local wares, the Remarkables Market also runs a cup library system so that people who attend the market, forget their reusable coffee cup, but want a coffee as they walk around, can simply borrow one of the mugs provided on cup stands all around the market (to seal the deal, whoever uses one of these mugs gets 50c off their hot drink – whoop!). For other markets further afield, you can also head over to the Cromwell Farmers’ and Craft Market.
  • Trade Aid products – Trade Aid’s entire chocolate range comes in 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. You can find all these products at Orphans Aid International, 1092 Frankton Road, Frankton. You can also find Trade Aid chocolate at Quality Convenience, 93 Beach Street, Queenstown, and New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown. The 2kg bags of Trade Aid sugar are also stocked at New World Wakatipu and FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road.
  • Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton – stocks Ceres’ Raw Goodness bars (which come in Econic home compostable packaging)
  • Patagonia Chocolates,  50 Lakefront, Beach Street, Queenstown – plenty of (fancy) chocolate treats unpackaged, just BYO container to have them put into.
  • Night ‘n Day, 48 Shotover Street and corner of Church and and Camp Streets, Queenstown – stocks loose/unpackaged sweets, chocolate and fudge, and unpackaged rolls, buns and croissants (just BYO bags/containers).
  • The Remarkable Sweet Shop, 39 Beach Street, Queenstown and 27 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown – sells some unpackaged sweets, truffles and fudge (you’ll need to ask whether BYO bags/containers are OK).
  • Provisions of Arrowtown, 65 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown – sells some unpackaged dog treats (BYO bags/containers).

DRINK OPTIONS

  • Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged and have them put in BYO bags/containers. In Queenstown you can get the locally roasted Octane Coffee at The Coffee Hatch, corner Camp and Shotover Streets, Queenstown (which has grinder out back) and also at Arrowtown Bakery & Cafe, 1 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown. Just go to these stores with your own bag/container and get the beans/grinds put straight in. Octane Coffee are doing their best to reduce waste, including supplying cafes with their coffee beans in bags that are returned to the roastery and reused – nice! You can also get unpackaged coffee beans put into your own bags/containers at Bean Around the World, 11 Athol Street, Queenstown. As a third option, you can also buy Caffe Prima coffee (which is wrapped in Econic home compostable packaging) at New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown. If you prefer instant coffee, get the Trade Aid variety (which comes in, you guessed it, Econic home compostable packaging) from Orphans Aid International, 1092 Frankton Road, Frankton, and FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road.
  • Milk – You’ve got two options for zero waste milk in Queenstown. The first is to get Windy Ridge Farm milk in reusable glass bottles from Queenstown Organics Wholefoods (formerly Oamaru Organics), 9 McBride Street, Frankton, Queenstown. Windy Ridge Farm uses glass milk bottles which you bring back when empty (to Queenstown Organics Wholefoods) to be returned to Windy Ridge Farm for sterilisation and reuse – so the bottles just go around and around. When you buy your first bottle, you pay slightly more to cover the deposit on your bottles. When you’ve finished the milk, return the empty bottles(to Queenstown Organics Wholefoods) and you can either have your deposit refunded or just buy your next bottle of fresh milk (at a lower price the second time). The second option for zero waste milk is to order from Go 2 Raw Milk, a raw milk producer in Otautau who deliver milk in reusable glass bottles straight to your door – you leave out the empties from the week before, which they take back for sterilisation and reuse (just like the old days!!)
  • Beer – look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. We found a range of both craft and non-craft beers on tap at Liquor King Queenstown, 58 Stanley Street, and Arrowtown Wine Store21 Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown. If you’ve forgotten to bring your rigger with you to the bottle stole, remember 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) so that the bottles can then be sterilised and reused (a better outcome for glass bottles than recycling because reusing the same bottle over and over requires way less energy and resources than recycling – and anyway, in Queenstown your glass recycling gets landfilled, so if you can get products in reusable glass bottles, or avoid the bottles entirely with a BYO system, then that’s ideal).

KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES

Reusable drinking vessels (cups and water bottles)

Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Find the Keep Cup brand of reusable takeaway coffee cups at Life’s a Grind, 52 Stanley Street, Queenstown, Vudu Cafe & Larder, 16 Rees Street, Queenstown, Bean Around the World, 11 Athol Street, Queenstown, Patagonia Chocolates, 50 Lakefront, Beach Street, Queenstown, Provisions of Arrowtown, 65 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown, and Unwind Cafe & Bar, 4/14 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown; or the Joco brand at Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, and Ma Boulangerie, 12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton; you can buy other glass reusable coffee cups at Mooch, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre, Frankton, and Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown; and buy the Cuppa Coffee Cup brand at the Gibbston Valley Gift Shop, 1820 Gibbston Highway. Get reusable metal water bottles at Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Road, Frankton, Mooch, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre, Frankton, and Gibbston Valley Gift Shop, 1820 Gibbston Highway.

Reusable lunch boxes/containers

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. Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown stocks Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes.

Reusable straws

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 The Outpost, 3 Beach Street, Queenstown, Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Road, Frankton and Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown.

Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil

  • Beeswax wrap – find the Honeywrap brand at Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown and Off The Wall Gallery and Store, 18 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown; and the Bee Wrapt brand at Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Road, Frankton and Gibbston Valley Cheese, 1820 Gibbston Highway. Meanwhile, Mooch, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre, Frankton sells Bee’s Wrap (made in Vermont, USA…) and a locally made version by Adrienne the lunch wrap lady – you know which one to choose! NOTE: making your own beeswax wrap is much cheaper than buying it pre-made. To make it yourself you need to get natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. The Stitching Post, 25 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown is a great spot to get offcuts/discounted cotton fabric with pretty patterns. You can get beeswax candles at The Outpost, 3 Beach St, Queenstown (which you could potentially melt down for the wraps), or proper unpackaged beeswax at Gibbston Valley Cheese, 1820 Gibbston Highway.
  • Silicone pot/bowl covers – these covers form a vacuum seal over whatever pot/bowl/tray they’re placed over and they can withstand heat up to 220 degrees. So they’re 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. Find at Mooch, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre, Frankton.

Low-waste dishwashing

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. 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. You can get locally knitted natural fibre dishcloths from Mud and Cloth (who have a stall at the Remarkables Market, but you can also get your hands on these cool knits through the peeps at Sustainable Queenstown).  Otherwise, Alpine Four Square, corner of Stanley & Shotover Streets, Queenstown, Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton and New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton all stock the Budget brand 100% cotton dishcloth. You’ll find Jangneus/Swedish Kitchen Culture 100% cotton/cellulose dishcloths (though unfortunately wrapped in plastic) at Mooch, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre, Frankton, and the fancy Bianca Lorenne 100% cotton cloths at Queenstown Interiors, 5 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton. If you’d like to try knitting/crocheting your own dishcloths (a great way to learn!), you can get organic cotton yarn at The Stitching Post, 25 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

  • Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown – stocks Go Bamboo pegs made from bamboo with a metal spring mechanism.
  • Queenstown Natural Health, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32 Grant Road, Frankton – stocks bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here).
  • Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Rd, Frankton – stocks That Red House Organic Soapberries that come only in a cloth and brown paper bag (no plastic). The berries are home compostable when they no longer have any saponin left.
  • FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road, and New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton – both stock Eco Planet laundry powder (which comes in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining!) and Go Bamboo pegs made from bamboo with a metal spring mechanism.
  • Clean Conscience – get your hands on locally-made cleaning products into your own bottles/jars (or bulk ingredients for cleaning products) from local Sacha Marie Wilkins of Clean Conscience. There’ll be a Shopify up soon, but in the meantime just send Sacha a message through the FB page to see how you can get the goods into your own bags and containers 😀

BATHROOM PRODUCTS

  • Low Waste Dental Care – Bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative to plastic toothbrushes because they have wooden, home compostable handles (bristles are still plastic and need to be removed from the handle and put in your rubbish bin). You can get the Humble Brush brand at QT Pharmacy, O’Connells Shopping Centre, 30 Camp Street, Queenstown, The Outpost, 3 Beach St, Queenstown, Life Pharmacy Wilkinson’s, corner Ballarat and Rees Street, Queenstown, Unichem Summerfield’s Pharmacy, 2/1091 Frankton Road, Frankton, Unichem Remarkables Pharmacy, 53/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Blue Moon Rummage, The Arcade, Buckingham Street, Arrowtown and Unichem Arrowtown Pharmacy, 20 Buckingham Street. The activated charcoal-infused Grin toothbrushes are stocked at Life Pharmacy Wilkinson’s, corner Ballarat and Rees Street, Queenstown, Queenstown Natural Health, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32 Grant Road, Frankton, Unichem Summerfield’s Pharmacy, 2/1091 Frankton Road, Frankton and Unichem Arrowtown Pharmacy, 20 Buckingham Street. The Go Bamboo toothbrushes can be found at Alpine Four Square, corner of Stanley & Shotover Streets, Queenstown, Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown, New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton and Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton. Finally, The Eco Brush is sold at FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road.
  • Unpackaged bars of Soap – find at Sherwood Hotel Trading Post, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley Gift Shop, 1820 Gibbston Highway.
  • 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! You can get the popular Ethique range of soap bars from Unichem Remarkables Pharmacy, 53/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton and Unichem Summerfield’s Pharmacy, 2/1091 Frankton Road, Frankton (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging and they make a huge range of bars, from shampoo and conditioner, through to deodorant and shaving bars – yay!). The Gibbston Valley Gift Shop, 1820 Gibbston Highway also stocks unpackaged Global Soap 3-in-1 shower/shave/shampoo bars.
  • Menstrual Cups – these are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. You can buy menstrual cups at FreshChoice Queenstown, 64 Gorge Road, QT Pharmacy, O’Connells Shopping Centre, 30 Camp Street, Queenstown, Life Pharmacy Wilkinson’s, corner Ballarat and Rees Street, Queenstown, Unichem Summerfield’s Pharmacy, 2/1091 Frankton Road, Frankton, Unichem Remarkables Pharmacy, 53/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Health 2000, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre, Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Five Mile Pharmacy, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32 Grant Road, Frankton, Queenstown Natural Health, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32 Grant Road, Frankton and Unichem Arrowtown Pharmacy, 20 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown.
  • Shaving – 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 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. 
  • Cotton buds – find Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds at Raeward Fresh Queenstown, 53 Robins Road, New World Wakatipu, 1/12 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton and Pak’N Save Queenstown, 302 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton.
  • Other – Brandland, Five Mile Retail Centre, 32/1 Grant Rd, Frankton stocks Nature Body deodorant which comes in a home compostable cardboard tube.


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