This guide covers the entire Southland region. For ease of reference though, we’ve arranged the list by geographical areas – from Gore to Lumsden, down to Winton, Invercargill, Riverton, Rakiura/Stewart Island and then over to Te Anau – so scroll down if you’re looking for businesses and services in those areas specifically!
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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 H & J Smith Gore, 58 Main Street, Gore and H & J Smith Invercargill, 66/74 Tay Street, Invercargill (both glass and metal), Woodstock on Windsor, 20 Windsor St, Windsor, Invercargill (metal), Holistic Health, 29 Kelvin Street, Invercargill (metal), Steven’s, 150 Dee Street, Invercargill (metal), Found my Way, 38 Windsor Street, Windsor, Invercargill (metal), The Red Shed (Oban Visitor Centre), 12 Elgin Terrace, Oban, Rakiura/Stewart Island (metal) and Kiwi Country, 63 Town Centre, Te Anau (metal).
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. ComplEat Wellness, 24 Windsor Street, Windsor, Invercargill sells Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes and plastic bento lunch boxes.
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 Rethink 100% organic cotton produce bags at Veggie Boys, 99 Leven Street, Invercargill and Super Value Invercargill, 103 Yarrow Street, Invercargill. Found my Way, 38 Windsor Street, Windsor, Invercargill stocks Green Collective Loot Bags (100% cotton bulk bags), and you can get locally hand crafted produce bags and shopping bags made from upcycled materials (yahoo!) at the Riverton Environment Centre, 154 Palmerston Street, Riverton.
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 ComplEat Wellness, 24 Windsor Street, Windsor, Invercargill (although these are sadly packaged in plastic), H & J Smith Invercargill, 66/74 Tay Street, Invercargill and The Good Studio, 127 Palmerston Street, Riverton.
The following stores stock a range of liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers that you can fill your own bottles/containers with:
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Windsor Health, 63 Bourke Street, Invercargill, ComplEat Wellness, 24 Windsor Street, Windsor, Invercargill, Steven’s, 150 Dee Street, Invercargill and at the Riverton Environment Centre, 154 Palmerston Street, Riverton (who also stock Go Bamboo home compostable veggie brushes which can also be used as dishbrushes).
We also 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.
These are 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’ll find the Go Bamboo brand at New World Gore, 2-8 Irk Street, Gore, New World Windsor, 51 Windsor Street, Windsor, Invercargill, ComplEat Wellness, 24 Windsor Street, Invercargill, New World Elles Road, 244 Elles Road, South Invercargill, Riverton Environment Centre, 154 Palmerston Street, Riverton and Stewart Island Four Square, 20 Elgin Terrace, Oban, Rakiura/Stewart Island. You can also get the Humble Brush brand at Windsor Health, 63 Bourke Street, Invercargill and Holistic Health, 29 Kelvin Street, Invercargill, and The Eco Brush toothbrushes at Super Value Invercargill, 103 Yarrow Street, Invercargill.
It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Southland. 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!