Zero Waste in South Christchurch

Zero Waste in South Christchurch

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



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!

  • Yogiji’s Food Mart, 32 Wordsworth Street, Sydenham – this Indian grocery store stocks a wide range of loose/unpackaged grains, lots of flours, sugar, dried fruit, nuts, legumes, spices, seeds, salt, and more.
  • Maihan Middle Eastern, 303 Colombo Street, Sydenham – stocks a selection of unpackaged/loose rice, quinoa, legumes, grains and nuts in bulk bins.
  • Spice Bazaar, 1/103 Gasson Street, Sydenham – this Indian grocery store sells unpackaged/loose nuts, seeds, dried fruit, legumes, spices, flours, sugar, coconut, rice and other grains in bulk bins.
  • Spice n’ Things, 270B Lincoln Road, Addington – this Indian grocery store stocks a small range of unpackaged/loose spices, nuts, seeds, legumes, flours and rice in bulk bins.
  • Quality Spices, 292B Lincoln Rd, Addington – this Indian grocery store offers a wide range of unpackaged goods in bulk bins, including nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cocoa, coconut, sugar, spices, beans/legumes, flours and grains.
  • Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk bins (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, legumes, flours, dried fruit and pasta), a range of spices, sweets (including licorice), treats and snacks, and liquid foods like vinegars, oils, honey, 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.
  • The Noble Merchant, 132 Opawa Road, Opawa – stocks a small range of unpackaged/loose pantry staples behind the counter, including olive oil (hand over your bags and containers at the counter for refill). The store only opened recently and they are planning on expanding their range of bulk items over time, so keep checking back.
  • Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton – an excellent little organic bulk co-op with a great range of unpackaged/loose goods, including spices, herbs, grains, cereal, dried fruit, legumes, seeds, nuts, sugar, and even aluminium-free baking soda, and a great liquid foods section for refills, which includes oils, honeys, vinegar, tamari, tahini.
  • Supermarkets – all major supermarkets in Christchurch have well stocked 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!), and more so than the bulk bins at places like Bin Inn or Harbour Co-op.

The following shops sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese, yoghurt and/or deli foods and will happily put these straight into a BYO container – woohoo!

  • Grater Goods, 105 Orbell Street, Sydenham – get unpackaged tofu and other deli goods like vegan pastrami into BYO containers here
  • Euro Gourmet Meats, 303 Colombo Street, Sydenham
  • Halal Butcher, 292A Lincoln Road, Addington – BYO container to this butchery to get fresh cuts of meat without the disposable plastic.
  • Sunnyo, 314 Lincoln Road, Addington – BYO containers for in-house made dairy-free yoghurt and dairy yoghurt!
  • Everybody’s Butchery, 372 Selwyn St, Addington
  • What a Catch, 119 Wordsworth Street, Waltham – fresh seafood in your own containers.
  • Fresh Meats Barrington, Shop 36/256 Barrington St, Spreydon
  • Cashmere Cuisine, 18 Colombo St, Cashmere
  • Redcliffs Butchery, 85 Main Rd, Redcliffs – BYO container to this butchery to get fresh cuts of meat without the disposable plastic (although, a lot of their goods are pre-wrapped, unfortunately)
  • Halswell Butchery & Delicatessan, 490 Sparks Rd, Halswell – BYO container to this butchery to get fresh cuts of meat without the disposable plastic. They even gave us a pro tip – to best preserve the freshness of your purchase, chill your container in the fridge or freezer before you come to avoid meat sweating in your container. Nice!
  • You can get unpackaged cheese and breads in your own bags/containers from certain stallholders at the markets at Opawa, 275 Fifield Terrace, and Lyttelton, London Street.
  • 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! As do most Fresh Choice supermarkets. 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).

  • Breadman Organic Bakery22 Kingsley Street, Sydenham – you can get any of this bakery’s vegan and organic loaves unpackaged and put straight into BYO bread bags so long as you order in advance as they bake to order – so make sure you order at at least 48 hours in advance for bread. This bakery ALSO makes crackers and muesli, and again, if you order to advance, you can get these set aside for you, unpackaged, to go into your own bags/containers – woohoo!
  • Sydenham Bakery, 424 Colombo Street, Sydenham
  • Vic’s Bakehouse, 4B Settlers Cres, Ferrymead 
  • Bohemian Bakery, 51 Nayland St, Sumner 
  • Check out the bakers at the markets at Opawa, 275 Fifield Terrace, and Lyttelton, London Street
  • 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! There are some splendid markets in Christchurch and we weren’t able to visit all of them to see what low-waste goodies were on offer – but we encourage you to find your local market (if you haven’t already) and have a hunt around for what you can get without waste!
  • Veggie boxes/co-ops – there are lots of fruit and veg co-ops around town from whom you can order your veggies each week. Around the country we’ve found that unless these co-ops have a zero waste policy, the fruit and veg will usually be pre-packed, so it’s essential to contact them before ordering and have a conversation about whether the co-op is willing to use reusable bags for your box, or to leave things unpackaged (you may be the first person who’s ever asked, so always good to plant the seed!). Generally, if it’s a local operation, it should be possible to arrange this. If it’s not possible to arrange, we recommend looking elsewhere or simply getting unpackaged fruit and vege from markets or supermarkets. Some veggie box schemes to look at are the Affordable Fruit and Vege Group (which many community organisations are linked into, so there’ll likely be a local pick-up in your area), Veggie Co-op New BrightonLyttelton Fruit and Vege CollectiveChristchurch South Fruit and Vegetable CollectiveOoooby, and Lucy’s Growers Market.
  • Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s 1.5kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable when 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 these products at Trade Aid Christchurch, The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham. You can also get the sugar from Addington Coffee Co-Op297 Lincoln Road, Addington; and New World Redcliffs, 188 Main Rd, Redcliffs.
  • Pet food – Pets can eat zero waste too! You can get lots of dried pet food from bulk bins at Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon.

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:

  • Addington Coffee Co-Op297 Lincoln Road, Addington, who sell ethically sourced (fair trade) and organic coffee
  • One of the many Coffee Culture cafes at the corner of Lincoln Road & Dickens Street, Addington; 140 Colombo St, Beckenham/Sydenham; 28 Marriner St, Sumner; or 18 London Street, Lyttelton
  • Underground Coffee Roasters at The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham, and 25 Marriner St, Sumner
  • Lyttelton Coffee Co, 29 London Street, Lyttelton (frankly, some of the most delicious coffee we’ve tasted on our trip yet)
  • Last, but definitely not least, Caffe Prima at 5/45 Garlands Rd, Woolston, who are super waste conscious! If you BYO container for whole/ground beans you’ll get a $1 discount (!) If you want a brew while you’re there, you’ll see this cafe is also disposable cup free – woo!

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:

  • The Apothecary, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd.
  • Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton.

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:

  • Plant-based mylk on tap – you can get in-house-made plant-based milk put into BYO bottles from Sunnyo, 314 Lincoln Road, Addington.
  • Milk on tap or from a vending machine – get Canterbury’s Choice milk on tap at Funky Pumpkin, 290 Colombo Street, Sydenham. Simply BYO bottle to fill up, or purchase a reusable glass bottle there that you can then refill on future occasions.
  • Glass bottle return/swap scheme for dairy milk – TWO options for milk sold in-store in reusable glass bottles: (1) Roan Farm full cream organic milk available at Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton; and Healthy Harvest Fruit & Veges, 407 Springs Road, Prebbleton. (2) Canterbury’s Choice milk is available in many outlets: Funky Pumpkin, 290 Colombo Street, Sydenham; and The Vege Shop, 5a Stourbridge Street, Spreydon.
    • How do these systems work? The first time you buy a bottle of milk, you pay a little extra to cover the cost of the bottle and to ensure that you return it when you’re done. Return empty bottles to any stockist of the milk (for Roan Farm) or to Funky Pumpkin (for Aunt Jean’s), and exchange it for a full bottle for only the price of the milk (or else get your deposit back). The empties are then returned to Aunt Jean’s or Roan Farm for sterilisation and reuse – so the bottles just go around and around – true zero waste!
  • Milk powder from bulk bins – available at Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon (as well as the ingredients to make non-dairy milk (i.e. oats, nuts, threaded coconut or rice).

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).

  • Kombucha – If you’re keen for some fabulous, locally-made kombucha, you’ve gotta check out Lyttel Ninja Kombucha by the wonderful Sal! Apart from being delicious, Lyttel Ninja comes in reusable glass bottles – when you’ve finished with this delicious product, return the empties to a collection point like the Lyttelton Coffee Co, 29 London St, Lyttelton, and Sal will take them back, wash and sterilise them and then refill them – so they’ll go round and round!

NB: At the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street, check out Waste Matters, a branch of the amazing Project Lyttelton (see the Waste-Busting Community Groups and Locals section below!) dedicated to helping people reduce waste – they stock a lot of the kinds of items listed in this section of the guide!

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 The Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd, Addington; Bolt of Cloth, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston; Teepee, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston; Hapa, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston; Casual and Country, 1027 Ferry Rd, Ferrymead; Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton; and the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street.

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

  • Find the Keep Cup brand at Coffee Culture, corner of Lincoln Road & Dickens Street, Addington; 140 Colombo St, Beckenham/Sydenham; 28 Marriner St, Sumner; or 18 London Street, Lyttelton; Underground Coffee Roasters, The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham; 25 Marriner St, Sumner; 
  • Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at The Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd, Addington
  • Also made in NZ (Hutt Valley), Ideal Cups are sold at Caffe Prima, 5/45 Garlands Rd, Woolston; and Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton; and Lyttelton Harbour Information Centre, 20 Oxford St, Lyttelton.
  • Get the very leak proof Frank Green cups at any Coffee Culture; or Addington Coffee Co-Op, 297 Lincoln Road, Addington
  • The glass Joco brand is sold at Bolt of Cloth, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston; and the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street.
  • AbodeThe Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham sells reusable ceramic cups with optional silicone coffee cup lid.
  • Zuperzozial reusable takeaway coffee cups made from bamboo fibre polymer are sold at Casual and Country, 1027 Ferry Rd, Ferrymead 

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 Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd, Addington; Addington Coffee Co-Op, 297 Lincoln Road, Addington; Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton; the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street.

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 avoid them by bringing your own bags or buying a set of reusable produce bags. Get awesome local reusable bags and produce bags by BAGS NOT Plastic at The Noble Merchant, 132 Opawa Road, Opawa and Healthy Harvest Fruit and Veges, 407 Springs Road, Halswell ; or also reusable cotton shopping bags made from upcycled fabric by Plastic Shopping Bag Free Lyttelton at Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton. You can get 100% organic cotton produce, bulk bin and/or carry bags by Rethink at The Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd, Addington; Addington Coffee Co-Op, 297 Lincoln Road, Addington; Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton. There are also a range of reusable produce bags at the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street.

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. You can get Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton; Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton; and the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street. You can also get Duralex heavy duty glass containers which can be used at both hot and cold temperatures from Abode, The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham. There’s also Bento Ninja stainless steel lunchboxes available at Little One Limited, 4/132 Opawa Road, Opawa.

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

  • Beeswax wrap
    • Purchase at – The Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd, Addington; The Pharmacy @ Opawa, 122 Opawa Road, Opawa; Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton; and the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street. Or check out Maria Wald’s stall at the Lyttelton Farmers Market – she makes totally amazing beeswax wraps, as well as lunch/sandwich bags coated in beeswax which you can do up with a button – amazing!
    • DIY – it’s way cheaper! You just need to get natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. Keep an eye out at secondhand stores, and fabric and quilting stores for off-cuts of cotton. You can find unpackaged beeswax at Addington Coffee Co-Op, 297 Lincoln Road, Addington.
  • Reusable sandwich bags – you can get Ya Yah Design lunch/sandwich bags at Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton; or Ginger Pye reusable sandwich wraps at the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street.

Refills of cleaning products

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

  • Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with.

Low-waste dishwashing

You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Abode, The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham; Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton. Alternatively, you can get handleless Go Bamboo veggie brushes made of just wood and plant fibre (and so are home compostable) at The Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd, Addington

We 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.

  • For something more like a traditional dishcloth sponge, check out the SPRUCE or Wet-it! 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life) which are available at Nordic Chill, The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham; and Teepee, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston
  • The fancy Bianca Lorenne cotton washcloths that could be used as dishcloths are sold at Red Current, The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham
  • Various linen and cotton cloths which could also be used as dishcloths are sold at Teepee, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston; and Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton.
  • Get lovely, locally-made, hand-crocheted cotton cloths which could be used as dishcloths at The Lyttel Kiwi, 15 London St, Lyttelton.


  • Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powder both come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get one or the other (or both) from most New World supermarkets.
  • Soapnuts, a nut with saponin in them, is sold at Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton
  • Non-plastic clothes pegs – Go Bamboo pegs available at The Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd, Addington; and at the Waste Matters stall, Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street.

Ingredients for DIY cleaning products

  • Baking soda – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon; and Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton.
  • Washing soda, epsom salts and borax – sold at Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon.
  • Bars of castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) – you can get Dr. Bronner’s castille soap bars at Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon.
  • Essential Oils – The Apothecary, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston also does refills of essential oils (so you don’t have to buy a brand new bottle when you run out – woohoo!), which are often called for in homemade cleaning products.

Zero waste teeth and mouth

  • Bamboo toothbrushes – 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  Addington Coffee Co-Op, 297 Lincoln Road; The Pharmacy @ Addington, 359B Lincoln Rd; Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon; Nordic Chill, The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham; The Pharmacy @ Opawa, 122 Opawa Rd; Teepee, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston; The Apothecary, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston; New World Redcliffs, 188 Main Rd, Redcliffs; the Waste Matters stall, Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, London Street; Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton; Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton; and SuperValue Lyttelton, 17 London Street, Lyttelton. 
  • Dental Floss – most Countdown supermarkets stock Do Gooder floss, which comes in a refillable glass tube with a screw on metal lid. The WHITE floss is made of 100% silk and is home compostable (the black, bamboo and activated charcoal floss has polyester in it so is landfill only). When you run out of the floss, no need to get a new dispenser, you can get refills of the floss in paper/cardboard packaging from – just pop the refill into your original metal/glass dispenser.

Unpackaged Bars of Soap 

We believe soap doesn’t need packaging (it is made to clean, after all!). There are a couple of places in South Christchurch that sell unpackaged soap:

  • The Pharmacy @ Opawa
  • Bin Inn Lincoln Road
  • The Apothecary (The Tannery)
  • Teepee (The Tannery)
  • Hapa (The Tannery)
  • The Harbour Co-Op, 12 London Street, Lyttelton
  • Henry Trading, 33 London St, Lyttelton

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!

  • Many places stock the popular Ethique range which includes shampoo bars, conditioner bars, shaving bars, deodorant bars, moisturiser bars, etc. (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging): The Pharmacy @ Addington and @ Opawa; at the Tannery in Woolston, Hapa and The Apothecary (which also stocks another brand – Naturalus – of shaving and face soap wrapped in brown paper); and the Harbour Co-Op in Lyttelton.
  • Henry Trading in Lyttelton sells locally made, unpackaged shampoo bars.


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) – note, you’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. You can buy razors and replacement blades at Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton.

Reusable Menstrual Products

There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads.

  • Menstrual cups – stocked at The Apothecary at the Tannery, New World Redcliffs, 188 Main Rd, and the Harbour Co-Op in Lyttelton.
  • Reusable washable pads are available at the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market.

Liquid Toiletries on Tap

  • You can get refills of body wash and liquid hand soap at Harbour Co-Op, 12 London Street, Lyttelton.

Ingredients for DIY Toiletries and Cosmetics

  • Baking soda – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Bin Inn Lincoln Road, 57/59 Lincoln Rd, Spreydon; and Harbour Co-Op, 12 London St, Lyttelton.
  • Cosmetic oils – BYO bottles for refills of a range of oils suitable for DIY cosmetics, including almond oil, rosehip oil and others at The Apothecary at the Tannery. You can also get flower petals and herbs from bulk dispensers into BYO bags/containers.
  • Essential Oils – The Apothecary, The Tannery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston also does refills of essential oils (so you don’t have to buy a brand new bottle when you run out – woohoo!), which are often called for in homemade toiletries.


  • Toilet Paper – there are two brands we know of that package their toilet paper in home-compostable packaging: Greencanewhich you can buy at the Harbour Co-Op in Lyttelton (as well as Greencane’s paper towels and tissues), and Smart Ass which is sold at Henry Trading also in Lyttelton.
  • Cotton buds – Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds are sold at The Pharmacy @ Addington and @ OpawaThe Apothecary at the Tannery, Woolston; New World in Redcliffs; and in Lyttelton at the Harbour Co-Op and the Waste Matters stall at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market.

NB: This section is Christchurch-wide, rather than limited to Christchurch Central.

Reuse and Recycle

  • Food waste and composting
    • Household 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! In Christchurch you are very fortunate that the City Council runs a green bin system, so please use this for your food scraps. Remember though that when you give your food scraps to the council, you are giving away a valuable resource. If you are interested in starting up gardening, you might consider setting up a home compost so that you can nourish your own garden and avoid having to buy compost in plastic bags.
    • Edible business food waste: If you are a Christchurch business chucking out food that is still edible but not saleable, you can get in touch with City Harvest – an excellent initiative that takes from businesses edible food that would otherwise go to waste, and redistributes it to people who need it.
    • Compostable packaging: You cannot put compostable packaging in your green bin, so we recommend avoiding it where possible. Some packaging, like that made by Econic is home compostable, so if you set up a home compost then you can buy products packaged in this packaging and it’ll be ‘zero waste’! For packaging that needs to be commercially composted (like “compostable” takeaway coffee cups) – there aren’t many options for actually composting it. Project Lyttelton’s Waste Matters team is worm farming the compostable coffee cups sold at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market. You may also be aware that Cultivate Christchurch is currently working on breaking down compostable coffee cups in their compost, and they are working with roughly 14 cafes around town. However they aren’t big enough to offer a city-wide commercial compost (though they’ll be expanding to more businesses soon). We would recommend not accepting compostable coffee cups and using a reusable instead.
  • E-waste – electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, with huge environmental implications because of the toxins that can be leached from this waste, but also the loss of precious resources embedded in these items that are not recovered when the waste is dumped in landfill.
    • Repair: Rather than throwing your broken electronics out – have you considered trying to get them repaired first? You could pay someone to do it, for example, Ecotech Services Ltd, 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 – Project Lyttelton and Linwood Resource Centre are two such examples).
    • Recycle – If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, there are lots of places around Christchurch where you can take your e-waste to be recycled (just a heads up that there will be a small fee). Check out Kilmarnock Enterprises, an awesome social enterprise operating from the Wigram Business Park that accepts a wide range of e-waste for recycling, providing jobs of meaning for people with disabilities, or Ecotech Services Ltd, that strives for zero e-waste to landfill. Alternatively, you can take your e-waste to one of the three EcoDrops around town to see if they’ll accept for recycling the particular electronic you have, or else you can get in touch with E-Cycle, which also operates in Christchurch.
  • EcoCentral – For all your recycling and reusing needs, look out for EcoCentral’s EcoShop, 191 Blenheim Road, and the three EcoDrops around the city. If you’ve got a hard-to-recycle item you no longer want, rather than chucking it out, perhaps it can be reused or recycled – check out the range of items that EcoDrop will accept to see if what you’ve got is on the list. Or, if you ever need a household appliance, crockery, cutlery, furniture or other knick-knack, we recommend going to the EcoDrop (or, for that matter, any other secondhand store) to see if you can find it there first. We were very blown away by the range of goods at the EcoShop.
  • Second-hand shopping in Christchurch – there’s no two ways about it – buying things that you need secondhand instead of brand new reduces waste. First, because you save something that might have otherwise been sent to landfill from such a tragic fate. Second, by using something that’s already in existence, you save on the waste and energy that is necessary to manufacture a brand new item. Luckily for you, Anthea Madill of Eco Oikos has created A Secondhand Shopping Guide and Map for Christchurch – yay!

Christchurch Zero Waste Vendors with Mainly Online Presence

  • The Rubbish Whisperer is a legendary Christchurch local (Helen Rupp) who is advocating for low-waste living and helping other New Zealanders to do so too by selling items online that help with low-waste living on her website, including alternatives to plastic straws and disposable produce bags. The Rubbish Whisperer also supplies fundraising packs so that schools and scouts can sell items like reusable produce bags for fundraising, rather than chocolate bars and biscuits, which we think is an excellent idea!
  • The Green Housewife is based in Christchurch and makes a huge range of eco friendly cleaning products. Though it’s all packaged on the online shop, given that she’s based in Christchurch and seems really approachable, you may be able to contact her and ask whether you could get cleaning products from her in person, without the packaging, into your own bottles and containers. She has a stall at the monthly Halswell Farmers Market, so you could ask her there!
  • The Zephyr Co. is a Christchurch-based online store selling NZ-made zero waste products, including beautiful stainless steel straws, produce and bulk bin bags, cotton cleaning cloths and face rounds, and awesome wood and metal craft, among other things!

Zero Waste Information and Support Networks

  • Our Daily Waste – a Christchurch-based recycling and waste prevention consultancy run by Dr Sharon McIver. Our Daily Waste supports businesses to reduce waste, runs waste audits and waste education, and helps those who are running events to turn them into zero waste events.
  • Low-waste living advocates – there are lots of experts in household waste reduction in Christchurch, all contributing their insights in different and exciting ways. Apart from Helen Rupp (AKA The Rubbish Whisperer, mentioned above), check out Anthea Madill (AKA Eco Oikos and Remix Plastic – see below) who blogs about her zero waste life, supporting others to try out low-waste living too. Her blog is full of useful tips, tricks and insights (like her secondhand shopping guides) and we totally recommend you check it out! Also on the scene is Tess McKay with her Facebook page TrashLess which is bursting at the seams with tips and food for thought on low-waste living.
  • Remix Plastic – Christchurch’s plastic avoidance and waste conscious living tour de force! Remix Plastic runs HEAPS of workshops on different aspects of low-waste living in both schools and in the community. Part of their approach is to highlight the problems of plastic through small-scale recycling and upcycling of plastic items using a plastic chipper to break up plastic and then recreate it into awesome new items. This leads to great hands-on activities. However, Remix Plastic is about so much more than that. Check the website out and see all the fabulous workshops they have on offer 🙂
  • Sustainable Living Christchurch – A Facebook group that people in Christchurch can join to ask advice on sustainable living and where to buy eco products, share their services, and general discussion about all topics eco friendly. The group also organises regular Zero Waste meet-ups (check the event section on the group page) to share ideas, learn about what’s happening already in the Christchurch area, and create initiatives around zero waste where there might currently be gaps.

Skills, Resilience and Resourcefulness in Communities

  • Rekindle – we can’t speak highly enough about Rekindle, founded by the absolutely visionary Juliet Arnott. Rekindle is an organisation focused on reducing waste through building community resourcefulness (as Rekindle notes, resourcefulness is the flipside of wastefulness). Rekindle has run many projects since its birth in 2011, including Whole House Reuse, which involved saving all the materials from a house that was to be demolished and redesigning them into beautiful artifacts (thus saving the materials from landfill). The organisation also runs regular free Resourceful Skills Workshops every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 12-4pm at 100 Peterborough Street, and has recently launched The Journal of Resourcefulness that features contributions by experts on all aspects of resourcefulness. ALSO, Rekindle has produced their own Zero Waste in Ōtautahi Map! It includes some of the places listed in our guide, as well as secondhand stores, and it’s in a beautiful, user-friendly format. Check it out (click on the pictures to enlarge):

  • Project Lyttelton – This amazing community organisation runs a range of projects that touch on waste reduction and which, even if you don’t live in Lyttelton, are well worth consideration! They run the oldest Timebank in the country. Through timebanking you can share skills and services without the exchange of money, making it a great way to reduce waste on a budget because you can harness skills of creating and repairing that exist in your community (repairing broken clothes or electronics, for example), or having someone pass these skills on to you (how to garden, how to build). Perhaps you have some of these skills already that you could pass on to someone else for time credits? Project Lyttelton is also in the process of setting up a Library of Tools and Things, which will allow members to borrow items that are useful when you need them, but which you don’t necessarily need to own to get their benefit, such as tools and camping equipment. Systems such as these avoid the wasteful overduplication of these resources that stems from everyone owning their own set of tools or tents. If you would like to donate tools or other items, check this list to see what is currently being soughtProject Lyttelton’s Waste Matters project is also worth a look, providing lots of useful info and services to the Lyttelton community for waste reduction.
  • 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.
  • Menzshed – there are Menzsheds throughout Christchurch City. 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!
  • 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. Christchurch has an absolutely incredible network of community gardens, so there’s sure to be one near you (there’s even one at the University of Canterbury – that’s Okeover Community Garden – so students can get amongst it too. In fact, you’re allowed to take from the garden if you participate in the working bees – yus! Just contact UC DigSoc). 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 your local community garden. While not strictly a community garden, we also want to give a shout out to Cultivate Christchurch who are a trailblazing organisation rethinking urban food systems in New Zealand through their urban farms and composting in Christchurch – check them out or head over to a working bee. Food resilience is a core component of low-waste living and an organisation like Cultivate that places food resilience at its fore is certainly one to watch.
  • Rad Bikes (Repair a Dunger) – got a bike that needs fixing? Found a beat up bike somewhere that looked like it might be get chucked out if not for some TLC? Want to do a bike up to save it from landfill? Have no idea what to do or where to start? Check out RAD Bikes – a not-for-profit bike workshop space. Anyone can come and work on their bike here and learn the essential skills for doing so. Sharing tools and a space reduces waste, and getting up to scratch on bike repair techniques will save you money, and potentially also a bike that would otherwise get biffed. You can also come to the shed to restore bikes to give away. Such a great initiative!
  • Sewing, crafts, knitting, crochet – We’re of the view that sewing, crafts, knitting and crochet are all key skills for combating waste in our lives (whether it’s the ability to make your own produce bags and beeswax wraps, knit a dishcloth, or repair broken clothes). In Christchurch you can find great organisations where you can get involved to either learn or pass on those skills, complete community sewing projects, or simply complete your own sewing projects in the company of others. A stand out example is Stitch-o-mat in New Brighton, which runs lots of great events, including Learn to Sew Mondays. Joining a group that is sewing reusable bags to give out to the community is also a great way to learn to sew while helping to reduce plastic bag consumption and these groups are always looking for volunteers (regardless of whether or not you have prior sewing knowledge). For example, check out Plastic Shopping Bag Free LytteltonBoomerang Bags Christchurch or Project Lyttelton’s Welcome Bags project.

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