Zero Waste in South Canterbury

Zero Waste in South Canterbury

This guide covers South Canterbury only. For other parts of the Canterbury Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in Canterbury homepage.


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Our heartfelt gratitude to Sugarcube Studios, the creators of EcoSpot, for bringing our guides to life – designing a map for us and creating such joyful imagery to go with it!


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 Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson St, Geraldine – although everything in the shop on the shelves is pre-packaged, you can get just about everything in store that you see on the shelves packed into your own bags and containers from the bulk store out back – in fact, the owner really encourages this! So just go up to the counter with your own bags and containers and ask 🙂 The store stocks a huge range of dried food and pantry staples like flours, nuts, seeds, baking mix, cocoa powder, cacao butter, sugars, bread mix, herbs and spices, grains, yeast flakes, muesli cereals and oats, powdered stocks, nougat, dried fruit, legumes, rice, sweets, chocolates, and more (even edible insects…)! Some of these wholefoods are organic and gluten-free. You can also get refills of vanilla essence and coconut oil into your own bottles/jars.
  • Geraldine Orchard Farmshop, 56 Main North Road – sells (expensive) nuts, seeds and dried fruit unpackaged in bulk bins and medjool dates. Lots of unpackaged produce.
  • Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru – an excellent organic store with passionate owners stocking a wide range of wholefoods in over 250 bulk dispensers, including flours, grains, sugar, dried fruit, beans/legumes, nuts, spices, condiments, as well as liquid foods on tap, including olive oil, syrups and local honey. In the fridge they also sell Moa Bakery vegan sweets unpackaged- yay! And a variety of organic produce. 
  • Bin Inn Timaru, 18 Dee Street, Timaru – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk/unpackaged (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, legumes, flours, dried fruit, sundried tomatoes and pasta), a range of spices, sweets, treats and snacks, and liquid foods like vinegars, oils, syrups etc. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! All Bin Inns across the country offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers.
  • New World Timaru, 145 Wai-iti Road, Highfield, Timaru – stocks unpackaged fresh herbs in bulk bins in chiller (parsley, rosemary, coriander, chives, mint) – just BYO bags.
  • Supermarkets – most supermarkets and Four Squares have bulk bin/pick and mix sections with wholefoods, snacks and sweets (BYO bags for these). However they’re pretty expensive, often more so than equivalent ingredients in packets (bah!), and much pricier than the bulk bins at places like Bin Inn and also often pricier than organic bulk aisles. But look out for when things in the bulk bin aisle in supermarkets are on special because sometimes you can get a good deal!


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!

  • Geraldine Butchery, 6 Wilson Street, Geraldine
  • Geraldine Fish Supply, 8 Wilson Street, Geraldine
  • Pleasant Point Butchery, Main Rd, Pleasant Point
  • Main Street Butchery110 King St, Temuka
  • Burgers Butchery, 305 Church Street, West End, Timaru
  • Supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering unpackaged meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more. All Countdown supermarkets officially allow you to BYO container for these goods! Most Fresh Choice supermarkets do too. Watch this space for when New World and PAK’nSAVE extend this practice to the South Island also…


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).

  • Get unpackaged bread + other baked goods at Geraldine Farmers’ Market, outside St Mary’s Church on Talbot Street, 9am to 12.30pm
  • Fairlie Bakehouse, 72 Main Street, Fairlie
  • Tekapo Four Square, 22 Rapuwai Lane, Tekapo-Twizel Road (SH8), Lake Tekapo
  • Mackenzie Foursquare, 27 Market Place, Twizel
  • ECHT Genuine Sourdough Bread, Timaru – keen for some AMAZING locally-made sourdough bread? Look no further than the loaves of Silke Schlusnus, the wonder-human behind ECHT. Simply order by Tuesday evening for bread that will be ready to pick-up by Thursday from 9 Chaucer Street, Timaru. Make sure you let Silke know that you would like your bread to be kept unpackaged (which will be totally fine!) Check out the ECHT website or Facebook for more information about the ordering/pick-up process.
  • U Bake Bakery, 188 Hilton Highway, Washdyke, Timaru
  • Bernie’s Bakery HQ, 187 Hilton Highway, Washdyke, Timaru
  • Timaru Farmers’ Market, 27 Strathallan Street (The Community House car park) – bread in brown paper (BYO bread bag and see if you can leave the paper bags with the bakers to reuse!)
  • The Barn, 25 Queen Street, Waimate (haven’t been in to ask, but know they do bake bread on site)
  • 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 a good source of unpackaged (often locally grown) produce, markets are the place to go! At most markets you can meet the grower/producer face-to-face, making them an ideal place to start fruitful conversations about waste-free food, and to develop relationships and systems that enable you to get your favourite fruit, vege and preserves without the packaging. You may also find local producers of pre-made foods like tofu, preserves and sauces 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. Often the answer is yes! Some farmers’ markets to check out in the region are Geraldine Farmers’ Market, outside St Mary’s Church on Talbot Street, 9am to 12.30pm, and Timaru Farmers’ Market, 27 Strathallan Street (The Community House car park)
  • Sunnybrae Farm, Timaru Road (SH 82), just north of Waimate town – either you can buy produce from the stall, or you can order one of Sunnybrae’s vege boxes to be delivered. Supposedly these are lightly packaged, but you can probably ask to have no packaging.
  • Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s 1.5kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable once they do wear out. 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 get both these products at Trade Aid Timaru, 251 Stafford Street, Timaru. You can get the sugar from FreshChoice Geraldine, 7 Peel St, Geraldine, New World Timaru, 145 Wai-iti Road, Highfield, Timaru and Pak’n Save, Evans Street, Timaru.


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:

  • Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru
  • Coffee Culture Timaru, 306 Stafford Street, Timaru
  • JB’s Cafe at Ballentynes Timaru, 314 Stafford Street, Timaru
  • Bin Inn Timaru, 18 Dee Street, Timaru.


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:

  • Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru.
  • Bell‘s loose leaf tea comes packaged only in paper and cardboard 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:

  • Milk on tap or from a vending machine – raw milk is available on tap from a vending machine at Real Milk Timaru, 22 Fairview Road, Timaru. Simply BYO bottle to fill up, or purchase a reusable glass bottle there that you can then refill on future occasions.
  • Milk powder into BYO bags/containers – available at The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine
  • Vigour & Vitality Mylk – dairy-free paste/butter that comes in a glass jar. You add it to water to make into non-dairy milk. There are many different options available, from coconut through to hemp and a special barista blend. You can buy these at Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru. 


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).


  • Drinking Chocolate – you can get cocoa powder into your own bags/containers at The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine.


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: any Gift Shop in Tekapo; The Aoraki/Mt Cook Hermitage Hotel shop, 89 Terrace Rd, Mount Cook National Park; The Musterer’s Hut, 20 Ruataniwha Road, Twizel; Southern Alps Outdoors, 8 Market Place, Twizel; Mackenzie Lotto Plus, 9 Market Place, Twizel (glass and metal); Jake’s Hardware, 24 Market Place, Twizel (metal, glass and plastic); The Kitchen Cupboard, 34b Talbot Street, Geraldine (metal); Kiwiana, 88 Stafford Street, Timaru (metal); and Ballentynes Timaru, 314 Stafford Street, Timaru (glass).

There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in South Canterbury:

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 get reusables across the district: get a “sew your own boomerang bag kit” for $2 from Joosh, 14 Talbot Street, Geraldine; find Rethink 100% organic cotton produce and string bags at New World Timaru, 145 Wai-iti Road, Highfield, Timaru; Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru, stocks reusable string and produce bags; and Waimate Berries, 88 Timaru Road, Makikihi is currently stocking reusable produce bags as part of a Makikihi School fundraiser.

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 Southern Alps Outdoors, 8 Market Place, Twizel; Mackenzie Lotto Plus, 9 Market Place, Twizel; The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine; and at Geraldine Farmers’ Market, outside St Mary’s Church on Talbot Street, 9am to 12.30pm

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. Southern Alps Outdoors, 8 Market Place, Twizel, stocks metal pots/containers which could be used as a lunchbox.

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

  • Reusable sandwich bags – find the Munch brand reusable sandwich wraps at KidStuff Timaru, 170 Stafford Street, Timaru and Ballentynes Timaru, 314 Stafford Street, Timaru.
  • Beeswax wrap
    • Purchase at – Geraldine Farmers’ Market, outside St Mary’s Church on Talbot Street, 9am to 12.30pm; Matilda & the Metalman, 76 Main St, Fairlie (Honeywrap brand); JR’s General Store, 71 Main St, Fairlie (the Bee Wrapt brand which is unfortunately wrapped in plastic); The Kitchen Cupboard, 34b Talbot Street, Geraldine; Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru (the Bee Covered brand); Health 2000 Timaru, 289 Stafford Street, Timaru (the Bee Covered brand); and KidStuff Timaru, 170 Stafford Street, Timaru (the Munch brand).
    • DIY – waaaay cheaper! You just need to get natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. The Pin Tin, 9 Talbot Street, Geraldine or Timaru Sewing Centre, 158 Stafford Street, Timaru are both great spots to get offcuts/discounted cotton fabric with pretty patterns. The Musterer’s Hut, 20 Ruataniwha Road, Twizel, sells ‘fat quarters’ of cotton fabric with pretty patterns. You can get unpackaged beeswax at The Healthy Kiwi Health & Lifestyle Shop, 157 Stafford Street, Timaru.
  • Silicone pot/bowl covers – 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 Mackenzie Lotto Plus, 9 Market Place, Twizel; The Kitchen Cupboard, 34b Talbot Street, Geraldine; Just One Wish Gifts, 76E Talbot Street, Geraldine; Ballentynes Timaru, 314 Stafford Street, Timaru; and @cquisitions Timaru, 238 Stafford Street, Timaru.


Refills of cleaning products

The following stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers:

  • Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru – stocks Kahuku Natural liquid cleaning products on tap. The in-store bulk dispensers are stainless steel kegs which, when empty, are returned to Kahuku Natural for refill – so it’s truly zero waste!
  • Bin Inn Timaru, 18 Dee Street, Timaru – a range of synthetic-based chemical products and some Ecostore products

Bar-based cleaning products

Cleaning products in bar form allow you to avoid the liquid products that would otherwise come in plastic bottles. Aoraki Naturals is a gorgeous Timaru-based business making (among other things) 100% natural household cleaning products, such as dishwashing and laundry soap bars. Check out their website for their wide range of products that are lightly packaged, if at all. If you’re local you can arrange a pick-up of your purchase from one of Aoraki Natural’s convenient locker boxes (to save on shipping packaging) and make sure to ask for your goodies to be as unpackaged as possible.

Low-waste dishwashing

You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru and JR’s General Store, 71 Main St, Fairlie.

Also, you can get wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) at JR’s General Store, 71 Main St, Fairlie.

We also encourage people to use natural fibre dishcloths rather than 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).

  • For something more like a traditional dishcloth sponge, check out the SPRUCE, Wet-it! or Kuitukuu 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life) which are available at JR’s General Store, 71 Main St, Fairlie; and Mackenzie Lotto Plus, 9 Market Place, Twizel.
  • 100% cotton, hand knitted dishcloths are sold at Mackenzie Lotto Plus, 9 Market Place, Twizel; The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine, through Aoraki Naturals in Timaru (order online and arrange to have your purchase left for you in a convenient locker box in town, just make sure to ask for your dishcloth to be left in the box unpackaged), and Makikihi Country Crafts Shop, 17 Waimate Highway, Makikihi.
  • You can get 100% organic cotton discloths at The Kitchen Cupboard, 34b Talbot Street, Geraldine (the Full Circle brand).
  • If you’d like to knit or crochet your own dishcloth, you can get organic cotton from Timaru Sewing Centre, 158 Stafford Street, Timaru.

Laundry

  • Eco Planet laundry powder comes in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! – and is available at FreshChoice Geraldine7 Peel St, Geraldine; Pak ‘n Save Timaru, Evans Street, Timaru; and New World Waimate, 95 Queen Street, Waimate.
  • Soapnuts – a berry/nut that naturally produces saponin so can be used for laundry. When spent, the berries can be home composted. Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru stocks unpackaged soapnuts in bulk bins; and Joosh, 14 Talbot Street, Geraldine stocks That Red House Soapberries which are packaged in a cotton bag with only a brown paper bag (no plastic) on the inside.

Ingredients for DIY cleaning products

  • Baking soda/epsom salts – available unpackaged in bulk dispensers (or to have put unpackaged into BYO bags/containers) at The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine and Bin Inn Timaru, 18 Dee Street, Timaru.
  • Bars of castile soap can be used as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) and are available at Health 2000, 289 Stafford Street, and Bin Inn Timaru, 18 Dee Street, Timaru.


Bamboo toothbrushes 

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 the rubbish bin). You can get the Humble Brush brand at MacKenzie Pharmacy, 6/7 Market Place, Twizel; The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street in Geraldine, Temuka Pharmacy, 81 King St in Temuka, in Timaru at Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Unichem Timaru Pharmacy278 Stafford St, Timaru; and Moyle’s Pharmacy6 Dee St, Timaru. The activated charcoal-infused Grin toothbrushes are stocked at Joosh, 14 Talbot Street, Geraldine (although these are combined with a mini toothpaste tube, so ask if you can have just the toothbrush). And Go Bamboo toothbrushes can be bought at Mackenzie Foursquare, 27 Market Place, Twizel; FreshChoice Geraldine7 Peel St, Geraldine, and at Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, and New World Timaru, 145 Wai-iti Road, Highfield in Timaru. 

Unpackaged Bars of Soap 

You can find totally baked bars of soap at:

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 the Geraldine Pharmacy24 Talbot St, Geraldine, and at most Farmers stores across the country, e.g. at 256-260 Stafford Street, Timaru (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging). 
  • Get locally made unpackaged shampoo and conditioner bars at Geraldine Farmers’ Market, outside St Mary’s Church on Talbot Street, 9am to 12.30pm
  • Aoraki Naturals – locally-made (Timaru) skin, hair and body care bars. Check out their website for their wide range of bathroom products from soap/shampoo bars, to products in glass pottles that can be refilled, such as deodorant, balms, butters and oils! If you’re local you can arrange a pick-up of your purchase from one of Aoraki Natural’s convenient locker boxes (to save on shipping packaging) and make sure to ask for your goodies to be as unpackaged as possible.

Menstrual Products

There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. You can buy menstrual cups and washable pads at The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine, and Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru. Many places stock just menstrual cups: FreshChoice Geraldine7 Peel St, and Geraldine Pharmacy, 24 Talbot St in Geraldine; New World Temuka, 185 King Street, and Temuka Pharmacy, 81 King St in Temuka; and Health 2000, 289 Stafford Street, and New World Timaru, 145 Wai-iti Road, Highfield in Timaru.

Shaving 

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 – you’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. You can buy razors, replacement blades and shaving brushes from Cutting Edge Barbers, 201 Stafford Street, Timaru, and razors and blades from Murray’s Barber Shop & Beauty Salon, 114 Church Street, Timaru.

Ingredients for DIY toiletries/cosmetics

  • Baking soda/starches – oft-used ingredients in DIY toiletries such as toothpaste and deodorant. Available unpackaged (or can be put into BYO bags/containers) at The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine and Bin Inn Timaru, 18 Dee Street, Timaru.
  • Epsom salts – can be put into BYO bags/containers at The Cottage Pantry, 24 Wilson Street, Geraldine.
  • Unpackaged beeswax – available at The Healthy Kiwi Health & Lifestyle Shop, 157 Stafford Street, Timaru.
  • Essential oils refills – available at The Healthy Kiwi Health & Lifestyle Shop, 157 Stafford Street, Timaru.

Liquid Toiletries on Tap

The following stores sell liquid toiletries on tap – just BYO bottles to refill!

  • Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru – stocks Kahuku Natural toiletries on tap. The in-store bulk dispensers are stainless steel kegs which, when empty, are returned to Kahuku Natural for refill – so it’s truly zero waste!

Other

  • Toilet Paper – there are two brands we know of that package their toilet paper in home-compostable packaging – Smart Ass and Greencane. You can buy Smart Ass at Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru. Otherwise, both Smart Ass and Greencane toilet paper can be ordered online for delivery.
  • Compostable cotton buds – you’ll find Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds at Mackenzie Foursquare, 27 Market Place, Twizel and Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, Timaru. 
  • Washable incontinence underwear: available at Ashbury Pharmacy, 98 Evans St, Waimataitai, Moyle’s Pharmacy6 Dee St, and Unichem Highfield Mall Pharmacy45 Wai-Iti Rd, Highfield in Timaru; and Waimate Pharmacy, 58 Queen St, Waimate.


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:
    • Food scrap collections – In Timaru District you are very lucky that your council collects food scraps/organic waste in a green bin system and composts it at the Redruth Resource Recovery Park, meaning it’s all diverted from landfill – so there’s no reason for any food scraps to go in the rubbish bin.
    • 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, if you’re in Twizel, get in contact with Jane Foley who runs the community garden as she often runs composting workshops. You could purchase an earthmaker or bokashi bin at a heavily subsidised rate from the Mackenzie District Council.
    • Dropping off your food scraps somewhere – If you’re in Twizel, ask permission to Jane Foley, who runs the community garden, to see if you can put your household food scraps in the community garden compost bin.
  • 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.
    • Repair – Rather than throwing you 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).
    • Recycle – If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to your local transfer station (Pleasant Point, Geraldine or Temuka) or to Redruth Resource Recovery Park in Timaru for recycling and safe disposal (you will need to pay a small fee for the processing of the electronics for recycling). In Mackenzie,  take them to your local resource and recovery park for recycling and safe disposal (many items are free to recycle, a few attract a small fee – check the council website for more info).
  • The Crow’s Nest, Redruth Street, Timaru – Hands-down one of the most beautiful re-use shops in the country, and a stellar place to find secondhand items rather than buying them new. If you’re undertaking a craft, building or home maker project and need some wood off-cuts, scrap metal, bolts, nuts, sinks, or other building equipment, come to The Crow’s Nest first, rather than buying new, you’ll be amazed at what you can find. You’ll also find a huge range of furniture, kitchen appliances and utensils, as well as other vital knick-knacks.
  • Heartlands Fairlie Resource Centre, 67 Main Street, Fairlie – runs Recycle at your Gate (the idea is that by 9am on set dates each year – make sure you check when! – you put out at your gate any items you no longer want (not actual rubbish though!) and throughout the day anyone can check out your wares and take anything they might like away with them. Anything that’s still outside your gate at 4pm needs to be brought back into your house, but you may find that the pile is much smaller than it was in the morning…) and Cinderella Shoes (bring to Heartlands any shoes you no longer wear – in good condition – to be resold to a new owner at the Cinderella Shoes Market outside Heartlands – funds raised go to community projects!)
  • Fairlie Golden Girls Secondhand Market – every Saturday throughout Spring and Summer in Fairlie, you can check out the Secondhand Market, which resells secondhand items gifted by the local community. All the funds raised go back into community projects. If you have items you no longer want that are still in good condition, rather than throwing them out, take them to Heartlands Fairlie Resource Centre for resale at the secondhand market. Likewise, if you are looking for a particular gadget or gizmo, see if you can find it at the secondhand market first, before buying it new! You may be able to re-home a lovely item 🙂

Zero Waste Information and Support Networks

  • Heartlands Fairlie Resource Centre, 67 Main Street, Fairlie – If you live in Fairlie you will know how lucky you are to have Heartlands Resource Centre in the middle of town, run by the inimitable and visionary Anne Thomson. Anne has created a community hub that harnesses the powers and skills of the people of Fairlie, and spreads people’s talents and resources across the community in exciting and creative ways. Lots of Heartlands’ projects help to reduce waste, whether through building up people’s resourcefulness and resilience to make and do more in their own homes, or through creative upcycling and recycling initiatives.
  • Mackenzie Community Development Project – an amazing project that runs in both Fairlie and Twizel. The project has both social and environmental elements, including waste reduction work, and the two project leaders – Kylie (in Fairlie) and Tanya (in Twizel) are amazing and always keen to hear your project ideas! At the moment the Mackenzie Community Development Project is behind the campaign to get rid of plastic straws in Mackenzie! So if you’d like to support this worthwhile initiative, make sure you refuse a straw for your drink next time you’re in town 🙂
  • Twizel Community Care Trust – an excellent group dedicated to improving the wellbeing of the people of Twizel. The trust runs services through the Twizel Community Care Centre on Mount Cook Street and would surely be open to any ideas you might have for community waste minimisation initiatives or projects for skill sharing and resourcefulness to help reduce waste (such as sewing bees or repair cafes). The trust currently runs the clothing boutique, selling good quality secondhand clothes – a great way to pass on clothes you no longer wear, or to buy secondhand in Twizel rather than buying new.
  • Sustainable South Canterbury Trust (SSCT) – In existence since 2002, SSCT is a group of volunteer trustees working on a variety of sustainability issues in Timaru, including waste reduction (SSCT runs The Crow’s Nest, for example). SSCT is currently raising funds to set up an EcoCentre in Timaru, which will greatly increase the scope of their work in the community. EcoCentres are a great place to run workshops, events and information sessions about all kinds of sustainability issues, but also waste minimisation. For example, SSCT is planning to run a community garden at the EcoCentre, where people can come and learn skills for growing their own food and composting. If you’re interested in helping out or sharing your skills in the development of the EcoCentre and SSCT’s work, they’re always looking for volunteers, so get in touch!
  • Sustainable Living Education Trust – an excellent online resource that offers resources (specifically, Future Living Skills Learning Guides) on a variety of sustainable living topics and yes, you guessed it, one of them is on waste minimisation – yay! The Learning Guides are packed full of incredibly useful information, so are well worth a look. However, they’re only available to residents of areas where the local council has signed up for membership. Luckily, Timaru District Council is one of those councils, so you can browse the page and check the resource out for free – score!
  • Boomerang Bags Geraldine & Boomerang Bags Timaru – Originally from Australia, Boomerang Bags is a growing movement across NZ and a great way of reducing plastic bags around town. Boomerang Bags groups get together to sew reusable bags out of upcycled fabrics, and then leave these at common shopping areas for shoppers to borrow, use and return if they forget their own reusables. Geraldine has an awesome Boomerang Bags group and you can find these bags in stands all around town – so keep your eyes peeled, especially if you’ve forgotten your reusable bag. There’s also a Boomerang Bags group in Timaru! If you’d like to help make bags, get in touch as volunteers are always welcome. It’s a great way to learn about sewing too (if you don’t know already) or to share this skill and pass it on to others, if you’re already a pro 😉
  • Waste-free parenting resources – Mackenzie District Council subsidises cloth nappy/waste-free parenting packs, so you can buy a pack, worth $100 for only $20 – woah! The packs contain 2 different styles of modern cloth nappies, a set of kai carriers, beeswax reusable food wraps plus other samples and goodies and The Nappy Lady’s information booklet. Yay! To find out more about getting your hands on one of these, click here.

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.
  • Heartlands Fairlie Resource Centre, 67 Main Street, Fairlie – out the front of Heartlands there is space for anyone to bring excess produce/food they have from their own gardens at home, and anyone is welcome to take what’s there, for free! This is a great way of reducing food waste and allowing people to access free and unpackaged fresh fruit and vege. If you have scrap fabric or would like some fabric for your sewing projects, Heartlands collects these from locals, so don’t chuck out your scraps and don’t feel like you have to buy new, you may find just what you need at Heartlands!

Skills and Resourcefulness in Communities

  • 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 also create bespoke items for community and charitable purposes. Definitely look up your local, and if you’re in Timaru, note that there are plans afoot to set up a Menzshed soon!
  • Community Gardening – the skill of growing your own food is great for low-waste living because it enables you to get free, nutritious (and potentially organic, depending on how you do it) food without packaging! Because compost is so vital for thriving plants, learning to grow food is also a window into effective ways of managing food scraps at home and in communities. 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, getting involved with your local community garden is a great thing to do! If you’re keen to be involved with a local community garden, you could check out:
    • The Geraldine Community Food Garden, Talbot Street, Geraldine (contact Tim Rimmer 0212044951)
    • The Community Crop, a wonderful organisation in Timaru that is developing community gardens around town that anyone is welcome to become involved with and to help develop. If you are interested in attending a working bee and/or learning through doing (and thereby building this incredible community resource), then do get in touch with The Community Crop!
    • Twizel Community Garden – run by the totally inspirational and hugely knowledgeable Jane Foley.
  • Incredible Edible Geraldine and Fairlie – Food growing from the ground is unpackaged and naturally zero waste – so we’re always on the prowl for living fruit, herbs and veg. So we were very excited to discover the amazing project that is Incredible Edible Geraldine (also spread to Fairlie), which makes it possible to find heaps of food just growing around the streets of town! Check Incredible Edible’s website for an explanation of this amazing public food growing project, as well as a map for where to find the yummies, unpackaged, all around town!
  • Transition Timaru – the Transition Town movement is an international grassroots movement to build community self-sufficiency to overcome challenges of peak oil, climate change and economic instability. There are Transition Town groups across New Zealand and there’s one in Timaru! As moving beyond wastefulness is a key element of becoming more self-sufficient, Transition Timaru shares lots of information about low-waste living. It also works with other groups around town who are working towards change that can help Timaru to be more resilient, resourceful and less wasteful. Transition Timaru also runs and hosts intermittent workshops on things like composting, and has its finger on the pulse of relevant events happening around town, so it’s well worth following the Transition Timaru Facebook page to keep you up to date!



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