This guide covers Rotorua District only. For other parts of the Bay of Plenty, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Bay of Plenty 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 water bottles at Stevens, 1241 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua, Farmers Rotorua, Central Mall, Cnr Amohau and Amohia Sreets, Rotorua; Simply Different, 1199 Tutanekai Street, Rotorua; and at lots of Rotorua’s souvenir shops.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Rotorua:
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 Rethink produce bags at The Living Room Collective, 1131 Amohau Street, Rotorua and Okere Falls Store, 757a State Highway 33, Okere Falls, or even better, locally-made reusable produce bags by The Bag Ladies, which you can get at Portico Gallery, 1157 Pukuatua Street, Rotorua; and at the Rotorua Farmers’ Market, Te Manawa, Rotorua.
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 Living Room Collective, 1131 Amohau Street, Rotorua; Portico Gallery, 1157 Pukuatua Street, Rotorua; and Okere Falls Store, 757a State Highway 33, Okere Falls.
The following stores stock powdered and/or liquid cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers!
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 PAK’nSAVE Rotorua, Corner Fenton & Amohau Streets, Rotorua; Bin Inn Rotorua (Redwood), 5/11a Tarawera Road, Redwood Centre, Rotorua; The Health Shop Rotorua, 1184 Eruera Street, Rotorua; Sulphur City Soapery, 1240 Eruera Street, Rotorua; New World Westend, 247 Old Taupo Road, Hillcrest, Rotorua; Capers Epicurean, 1181 Eruera Street, Rotorua; The Living Room Collective, 1131 Amohau Street, Rotorua; and Okere Falls Store, 757a State Highway 33, Okere Falls.
It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Rotorua. 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). Get safety razors and blades at Wilson’s Barber Shop, 1126 Pukuatua Street, Rotorua.