This guide covers Queenstown-Lakes District only. For other parts of the Otago Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in Otago homepage.
To make this guide more user-friendly, we’ve divided the shopping sections in two (one page for Wanaka & Hawea and one page for Queenstown & Arrowtown). However, on this page (scroll down), we’ve pulled together several council and community organisations and initiatives that span across the whole district.
We love it when you share our guides with others – please do so by sharing the link to our website, rather than copying and pasting our work and reproducing it elsewhere.
ZERO WASTE SHOPPING IN QUEENSTOWN-LAKES DISTRICT
COMMUNITY GROUPS, SUPPORTIVE NETWORKS, AND HELP WITH TRICKY WASTE STREAMS ACROSS THE QUEENSTOWN-LAKES DISTRICT
- Food Waste – food waste and scraps going to landfill not only produces methane, but also represents the loss of an excellent resource that could be turned into compost to enrich our soil, or, if the discarded food was still edible, the loss of perfectly good food that could go to someone that wants to eat it. If you haven’t yet got a system for dealing with your food waste and are unsure where to start, you could ask a neighbour or friend to help you set up a compost, or you could go to a workshop run by the legendary Dr Compost who runs semi-regular workshops throughout Queenstown-Lakes District. Or, you might want to purchase a worm farm or bokashi bin – you can get subsidised bokashi bins from Queenstown-Lakes District Council offices, Wanaka Wastebusters and Shotover Garden Centre, 150 Frankton-Ladies Mile, Frankton, Queenstown (discount subsidised by Queenstown-Lakes District Council), or a subsidised batch of worms from Central Wormworx, Cromwell. Don’t forget about greenwaste too, which also doesn’t belong in landfill. You can drop greenwaste off for a small fee, to be mulched rather than landfilled, at the Frankton Transfer Station, Glenda Drive, Frankton Industrial Estate, or the Wanaka Green Waste Facility, corner of Riverbank and Ballentyne Roads, Wanaka. There are also community-run green waste facilities in Glenorchy, Kingston, Lake Hawea, Luggate and Makarora.
- E-waste – electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, with huge environmental implications because of the toxins this waste leaches, but also the loss of incredibly precious resources embedded in these items that are not recovered when the waste is dumped in landfill. Rather than throwing your broken electronics out – have you considered trying to get them repaired first? You could pay someone to do it, or look out for Repair or Fix-it Cafes 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 – perhaps ask if a centre near you might be interested in running a session). If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to Wanaka Wastebusters, corner Riverbank and Ballentyne Road, Wanaka, for recycling and safe disposal (a small fee will be payable for the processing of the electronics for recycling).
- Wanaka Wastebusters, corner Riverbank and Ballentyne Road, Wanaka – Wanaka Wastebusters is a total institution, long recognised as one of the leading community recyclers in the country. You can drop off a huge range of recyclables here (including harder to recycle items, such as polystyrene) and if you drop off glass here, it gets sent to Auckland to be made back into glass bottles and jars. Apart from a drop-off for household recycling, you can also drop-off more unusual items, from batteries through to e-waste, textiles, and building materials and other hardware. The range of things the community can drop-off also makes Wastebusters a GREAT place to get your magpie on and scavenge some real treasures. The on-site re-use shop is excellent, very well-stocked, making it a perfect place to find secondhand items rather than buying them new. If you’re wanting a new appliance or gadget, new toys or bikes, or if you’re undertaking a craft, building or home maker project and need some wood off-cuts, scrap metal, bolts, nuts or other building equipment, go to Wastebusters before you go anywhere else – you’ll be amazed at what you can find, at super low prices.
- Plastic Bag Free Wanaka – an amazing community group leading the charge on plastic-free living in Wanaka, providing heaps of useful information, tips, tricks and inspiration for going plastic-free. The group runs events and information sessions focused on waste reduction, for example, for Plastic Free July, and provides heaps of advice to help locals (and people elsewhere!) reduce plastic use. For example, for hilarious, bite-size snippets of plastic-free wonder, check out Plastic Free Paula, created by Anna van Riel, the founder of Plastic Bag Free Wanaka. The group also sells beautiful alternatives to single-use plastic items, including very attractive reusable bags.
- Metalworks Wanaka, 54 Ballantyne Road, Wanaka – have you got an item made of metal that’s broken and needs fixing? You don’t need to chuck it out and get a new one, you can take it to Metalworks Wanaka and they can fix it for you! From coffee plungers through to tools, if it’s metal, Metalworks can fix it. Metalworks are also more than happy to make bespoke metal items for you (remember those metal cages for bars of dishsoap? Metalworks can make one of those for you!) They’re even upcycling old food-grade stainless steel dairy pipes into reusable metal straws (so if you’re keen on a reusable metal straw, ask Metalworks Wanaka! In their own practices and work, Metalworks repairs and repurposes as much of their own materials as possible (and source as much material as possible from local and regional recycling centres), and they finish their work with as much biodegradeable materials as possible. We think they’re an excellent local business to support, and they’re keen to make items for us that encourage waste reduction (they even say so on their website) – so definitely check them out!
- Boomerang Bags Queenstown – Boomerang Bags is an excellent initiative spreading across the country that equips people to avoid plastic shopping bags by making cloth bags available on stands inside and outside local stores and supermarkets. Look out for the beautiful Queenstown Boomerang Bags on stands around both Queenstown and Arrowtown. These bags are sewn by local volunteers out of upcycled fabric at regular sewing bees. If you’re interested in sewing bags then check out the the Boomerang Bags Queenstown Public Facebook Group where you can find times and dates for the sewing bees. Even if you don’t know how to sew (yet) there are things you can do, and it’s probably a great way to learn! We believe sewing is an essential resilience skill for low-waste living, so what better way to start learning than through helping to reduce plastic bag consumption and divert textile waste?!
- Sustainable Queenstown – a wonderful community initiative driven to boost sustainability in Queenstown. A large focus of Sustainable Queenstown’s work is to reduce waste in the city. Among their projects, they’ve recently launched Dishrupt, which is all about getting reusable plates at festivals and events to reduce the use of disposable takeaway containers. If you’re interested in volunteering to help make it happen, then all you need to do is get in touch with Sustainable Queenstown!
- Stitch n Time Queenstown, 18 The Mall, Queenstown – got broken clothing or clothing that no longer fits as well as before? Get it repaired or altered with Stitch n Time rather than chucking it out! You can also sign up to volunteer to make Boomerang Bags here too! Even better, not only can you get your clothes and shoes repaired here instead of throwing them out, but the shop itself does what it can to reduce its own rubbish; they’re 100% plastic bag free, and every scrap of fabric that would normally be thrown into landfill is stuffed into the house-made “poofs” (or footstools, whatever you want to call them!) These are available for sale at Stitch N Time, just make an offer 😀
- Toy Libraries – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys and save money by joining a toy library! Check out this list of toy libraries in Central Otago-Southern Lakes to find the nearest one to you!
- Menzshed – 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 create bespoke items for community and charitable purposes. Definitely look up your local – there’s a Menzshed group in Arrowtown.
- Community gardens – 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. In Queesntown there is a very large community garden, Harvest Gardens Queenstown, that runs an allotment system (you get to set up your own garden in a piece of the community garden space) or there are also communal gardening spaces – note, you do need to be involved if you want to take any food from these gardens. 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 the community garden.
- Glass recycling – in Queenstown/Arrowtown the glass put out for kerbside recycling is going to landfill (this is NOT the situation in Wanaka/Hawea). If you live in Queenstown/Arrowtown and would like your glass recycling to actually be turned back into bottles and jars, take your empties to one of the Glass Packaging Forum blue bottle banks around Queenstown and Arrowtown as any bottles dropped off here WILL BE recycled into new glass bottles/jars. We can’t find an up to date map or list of where these bins actually are (argh!), but we saw one outside the FourSquare in Arrowtown, there’s one at Gibbston (the old residential drop point), one at Arthur’s Point (behind the campground), and several around the Five Mile Retail Centre in Queenstown. To read more about NZ’s problem with glass recycling generally (not limited to Queenstown/Arrowtown), check our post on the issue.