This guide covers South Canterbury only. For other parts of the Canterbury Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in Canterbury 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: 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:
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.
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 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.
The following stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers:
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.
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).
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 Pharmacy, 278 Stafford St, Timaru; and Moyle’s Pharmacy, 6 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 Geraldine, 7 Peel St, Geraldine, and at Amore Food Market & Cafe, 1 Sarah Street, and New World Timaru, 145 Wai-iti Road, Highfield in Timaru.
You can find totally baked bars of soap at:
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. 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 Geraldine, 7 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.
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.
The following stores sell liquid toiletries on tap – just BYO bottles to refill!