Photo in top right hand corner of image credited to Lorella Doherty of Rethinking Plastic Revolution, who created this mural out of plastic she collected off beaches around New Plymouth.
Taranaki has a large number of groups and individuals who are driving the waste reduction movement throughout the region (as you might expect, a lot of the activity is centred around New Plymouth, but there’s plenty going on in other centres too!). Taranaki is the birthplace of Crop Swap and a stalwart for Para Kore. The Bin Inn in Waitara is also frequently voted one of the most popular in the country (and it’s rightly the pride of the Waitara community). Then there are just so many people supporting others to take on low-waste habits too, from workshops at Peihana Farm, through to the tireless work of Taranaki Environmental Education Trust and Rethinking Plastic Revolution.
We’ve compiled a list of the stores and groups we came across during our time in the region. We hope you find it useful.
Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers):
- Bin Inn Waitara, 61 McLean Street, Waitara – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, flours, and legumes), a range of spices, liquid foods (including vinegars, oils, syrups and tahini, which are stored in beautiful large glass containers instead of the usual plastic), and plenty of sweets and treats. They also both have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! This particular Bin Inn has plenty of organic options, sells Ceres Organics Raw bars (most of which – though not all – come in Econic home-compostable packaging), and they even sell cheese off the round at a small deli – you know what to do, BYO container! Also, all Bin Inns across the country now offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers.
- Moturoa Four Square, 3 Lawry Street, New Plymouth – this is no ordinary Four Square. This store offers a decent range of cheap, unpackaged goods in bulk bins, including flours, baking powder, legumes, oats and cereals, cocoa powder, dried fruit, sweets, stock powder, pet food, and even liquids such as honey, golden syrup and white vinegar.
- Taranaki Fresh, 629 Devon Road, New Plymouth – 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, grains, baking soda, baking powder, black salt and starches.
- Big Basket Fiztroy, 562 Devon Street East, New Plymouth – this Indian grocery store offers a range of unpackaged goods in bulk bins, including flours, legumes, spices, nuts, sugar and baking powder.
- Fresh World, Richmond Centre, 10/4 Egmont St, New Plymouth – a centrally located grocery store that sells fresh fruit and veges, as well as a small range of spices and legumes in bulk bins.
- Down to Earth, 268 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – the only organic store in New Plymouth. While they don’t offer bulk bins, they are happy for customers to BYO bags/containers to fill with any of the dry goods that the store otherwise pre-packs out back (e.g. spices, nuts, seeds, flours, legumes, grains, dried fruit) – just be sure to go when it’s not busy! They also offer refills of liquids such as apple cider vinegar, tamari, olive and sunflower oil, and mānuka and blended honeys, and stock Loving Earth chocolate and Ceres Organics Raw Goodness bars (both of which come in Econic home-compostable packaging).
- The Fridge Butchery & Delicatessen, 47 Devon Street East, New Plymouth – right in the centre of town, this store is more than happy to put its various unpackaged cheeses and meats in a BYO container. They also wrap their goods in paper if you forget/don’t want to use your own container.
- Trade Aid, 82 Devon Street East, New Plymouth – Trade Aid’s entire chocolate range comes in the amazing Econic home compostable packaging! Their 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable also. Trade Aid’s coconut oil is one of the few on the market that does not have a plastic seal around the lid.
- Farmers’ Market Taranaki, Sundays at Currie Street, New Plymouth – BYO bags and containers for a range of goodies available at this farmers’ market! You can get a range of unpackaged food here, including fresh fruit and veges (including the urban-grown spray-free produce from our friends at Freeman Farms), fresh-baked bread, preserves, eggs, and much more – just check out the website for stallholders, or rock up on a Sunday!
- HokoLoko – an amazing project that connects consumers with local food producers. You simply register on the website, see what goods are available, make your order (over the weekend), then head down to the weekly hui to pick your order up and meet the people who grow/make/prepare it too! The hui is every Wednesday 5.15-6.15pm, held at The Open Space, 33 Devon Street West, New Plymouth. As HokoLoko connects consumers with local producers, it’s a perfect opportunity to have a conversation with the person you intend to buy your food from about how you can get their beautiful produce without the packaging. There’ll almost always be a workaround, so be sure to ask and be ready to provide some ideas to make it easier for everyone 🙂
- Bees-R-Us, 253a Devon Street West, New Plymouth – get honey refills straight into your own jar/container.
- Sweet Life, 51 Egmont Street, New Plymouth – BYO bags/containers for a wide selection of unpackaged sweets – plenty of GF, DF and vegan options too!
- Four square Opunake, 59 Tasman Street, Opunake – has a small range of bulk bins stocking sweets and nuts.
- Four square Highway 45, 77-79 Tasman Street, Opunake – has a (slightly bigger) small range of bulk bins stocking sweets, nuts and muesli.
- New World Stratford, 124 Regan Street, Stratford – like most bigger supermarkets, this New World has a few bulk bins stocking seeds, nuts, fruit, snacks and sweets.
- Ravji G S and Co, 235/237 High St, Hawera – this fresh produce store also stocks a few spices and legumes in bulk bins.
- Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged and have them put in BYO bags/containers. Thankfully, New Plymouth has plenty of roasteries that are happy to allow you to do this! These are: Escape Coffee Roasters (fair trade, organic) at 15 Liardet Street, New Plymouth – just try to go when they aren’t busy (they also give a 50c discount for BYO reusable cups); Ozone (fair trade, organic), 47a King Street, New Plymouth; IncaFé, 6 Cody Place, Waiwhakaiho, New Plymouth; Wildcat Coffee, 26 Queen Street, New Plymouth; and The Laughing Pug, 1 Glenpark Avenue, Sushi Ninja, 89 Devon Street East, or find them on Sunday at the Farmer’s Market Taranaki on Currie Street (it might be good to give these guys a call first to let them know you’d like to get coffee in BYO bags/containers so that they bring loose beans with them). If you’re into instant coffee, Trade Aid’s instant coffee comes in Econic home compostable packaging (you can find this at Trade Aid, 82 Devon Street East, New Plymouth).
- Beer – look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Liquorland Fitzroy, 594 Devon Street East, New Plymouth has the best selection with 8 craft beers on tap! The centrally located Liquorland Powderham, 2 Powderham Street, and Liquor King, corner Devon and Mount Edgecumbe Streets, New Plymouth, both have a few craft beers on tap.
- Milk – the gold standard of zero waste success… milk from a vending machine! You can find not one, but two milk vending machines in New Plymouth and one in Stratford. Simply BYO glass bottle, or buy one especially for the job at the vending location, which you can then reuse every time you go. On the western side of New Plymouth, head to Beach Road Milk, 20 Beach Road, Omata. On the eastern side, you’ll find Dolly’s Milk, 209 Manutahi Road, Bell Block. Dolly’s is also in Stratford at 297 Warwick Road.
- Tea – your best bet is to head to Down to Earth, 268 Devon Street West, New Plymouth, and ask if they are able to fill your own bag with tea from out the back of the store.
- Drinking Chocolate/Cocoa – a couple of places in New Plymouth sell cocoa powder: Moturoa Four Square, 3 Lawry Street; Taranaki Fresh, 629 Devon Road; as does Bin Inn Waitara, 61 McLean Street, Waitara. For the best stuff, head to Four Square Oakura, 1129 South Road, Oakura – they sell Kokako fairtrade, organic drinking chocolate, which comes in Econic home-compostable packaging.
Kitchen/food packaging alternatives
- Waitara Floral Studio + Gifts, Shop 4, 60 McLean Street, Waitara – sells Honeywrap beeswax wraps.
- 100% Waitara Home Appliances and Furniture, 57 McLean St, Waitara – stocks reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to plastic cling wrap and tin foil).
- Kode Boutique, 62 Devon Street East, New Plymouth – sells reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to plastic cling wrap and tin foil) and Swedish Kitchen Culture dishcloths that are 100% cotton/cellulose, so they’re 100% home compostable at the end of their life (unfortunately they are wrapped in plastic though, doh!).
- @cquisitions, Centre City Mall, 11 Gill Street, New Plymouth – sells reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to plastic cling wrap and tin foil), reusable metal water bottles and Cuppa Coffee Cup reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Steven’s, Centre City Mall, 11 Gill Street, New Plymouth – sells Murchison Hume wooden/plant fibre dishbrushes and their replaceable (home-compostable!) heads, as well as reusable metal water bottles.
- Arthaus, 62 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – sells Munch beeswax wraps, reusable metal straws and water bottles, and Cuppa Coffee Cup as well as JOCO reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Essence of Style, 21-23 Devon Street East, New Plymouth – sells reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to plastic cling wrap and tin foil), Full Circle organic cotton dishcloths, Cuppa Coffee Cup reusable takeaway coffee cups, reusable metal water bottles and Swedish Kitchen Culture dishcloths that are 100% cotton/cellulose, so they’re 100% home compostable at the end of their life (unfortunately they are wrapped in plastic though, doh!).
- Len Lye Centre shop, 42 Queen Street, New Plymouth – sells reusable metal water bottles and straws, Rethink bulk bin bags, Honeywrap beeswax wraps, reusable brown paper lunch bags and Keep Cup reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Kina NZ Design + Artspace, 101 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – stocks Munch beeswax wraps and ceramic reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Fresha, 281 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – sells Bee’s Wrap beeswax wraps.
- Tempt, 110 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – sells cotton dishcloths.
- Four Square Oakura, 1129 South Road, Oakura – sells reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Four Square Okato, 66 Carthew Street – this store is giving away its own Four Square branded boomerang bags – woohoo!
- Country Connections, 80 Tasman Street, Opunake – sells Cuppa Coffee Cup reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- New World Stratford, 124 Regan Street, Stratford – sells cotton washcloths which can be used as dishcloths.
- This + That, 220 High Street, Hawera – stocks Keep Cup reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Waxy Wraps, Oakura – these beautiful beeswax wraps are made locally in Oakura by Queen Bee Enterprises. You can get your hands on one at various markets around Taranaki, or through the Waxy Wraps FB page – yus!
- Bin Inn Waitara, 61 McLean Street, Waitara – stocks a range of cleaning products in bulk containers which you can fill into your own bottles/containers. Also sells bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap (which you can use as the base for homemade dishwashing/laundry liquid).
- Moturoa Four Square, 3 Lawry Street, New Plymouth – stocks a range of chemical-based cleaning products in bulk containers which you can fill into your own bottles/containers.
- Down to Earth, 268 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – stocks bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap (which you can use as the base for homemade dishwashing/laundry liquid).
- New World Stratford, 124 Regan Street, Stratford – sells Next Generation and Eco Planet laundry powders (which both come in cardboard without plastic lining and a cardboard scoop).
- Bin Inn Waitara, 61 McLean Street, Waitara – sells The Eco Brush toothbrushes that have wooden, home compostable handles.
- Waitara Floral Studio + Gifts, Shop 4, 60 McLean Street, Waitara – stocks unpackaged bars of soap.
- Scent Hut, 23 Ariki Street, New Plymouth – sells a large range of soaps in paper wrap for different uses (shampoo, facial, dog washing, general cleaning, and skin ailments), as well as soy melts and bath bombs unpackaged. In fact, any products in jars that are made in-store can be refilled, just ask at the counter.
- Willow & Ash, 36 Devon Street East, New Plymouth – sells The Eco Brush toothbrushes that have wooden, home compostable handles, activated charcoal soap (with a paper label) as well as beautiful bamboo pegs by MiEco.
- Willo, 290 Devon Street East, New Plymouth – stocks unpackaged bars of soap.
- @quisitions, Centre City Mall, 11 Gill Street, New Plymouth – sells unpackaged bars of soap and Scentchips.
- Down to Earth, 268 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – stocks menstrual cups, locally-made unpackaged bars of soap, Greencane toilet paper (which comes in a home compostable wrapper), Go Bamboo toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles and home compostable cotton buds, and Grin toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles.
- Len Lye Centre shop, 42 Queen Street, New Plymouth – sells Humble Brush toothbrushes with wooden, home compostable handles.
- Kina NZ Design + Artspace, 101 Devon Street West, New Plymouth – stocks the awesome Ethique shampoo, bodywash and deodorant solid bars, which come in home compostable packaging (meaning you can ditch the plastic bottle!)
- Sentiments Flowers, 508 St Aubyn Street, New Plymouth – sells Handmaidnz unpackaged bars of soap which are suitable for many different applications (e.g. facial cleansing, moisturising, general body cleaning etc.).
- Country Connections, 80 Tasman Street, Opunake – stocks unpackaged bars of soap.
- Thyme Out, 277 Broadway, Stratford – sells dog and animal shampoo bars unpackaged.
Tricky things, community groups and supportive networks
- Crop Swap – Taranaki is the birthplace of the amazing crop swap in Aotearoa. At a crop swap, individuals who have veges or seedlings they’ve grown, preserves or baking they’ve made (or similar), or even home-made knitting/crochet (etc.) crafts (anything made or grown by your hands), come together once a fortnight or once a month, to trade their offerings without any money changing hands – all free! Just bring something to share and let the swapping begin! Trading homegrown or home created goodies with friends and locals means you can avoid all that packaging that often comes with a store setting. You can also have friendly chats about how to share goods without the waste. There are crop swaps dotted all around Taranaki – check out this website for a location near you (note the website is constantly being updated and may be missing locations – you may need to ask around).
- Taranaki Environmental Education Trust – this brilliant organisation provides an impressive range of workshops and events that support more sustainable living, including a range of workshops and resources that can help you to reduce waste. Workshop topics include composting/worm farms/mulching, gardening and foraging, zero waste cooking, DIY household cosmetics and cleaning products, fermentation and cheese-making and more! The Trust helps to organise events in partnership with various other groups and businesses, from crop swaps, to sharing farming skills and practices. The Trust is always looking for more people with expertise to run workshops and help to organise events around sustainable living.
- Community Reuse and Recycle Centre, 31 Colson Road, New Plymouth – currently under development and set to open in mid-2018, this centre (modelled on Xtreme Zero Waste in Raglan, which currently diverts approximately 75% of Raglan’s waste from landfill) will be a massive step forward for New Plymouth’s waste management capabilities. The centre will provide many services, including a retail space where donated goods can be upcycled or done up and resold, a space for workshops and education around waste reduction, and an art space, all alongside a reuse and recycling drop-off area that you might expect to see. The New Plymouth District Council has collaborated with three community groups to make this project happen: WISE (an employment support organisation), the Taranaki Environmental Education Trust and Xtreme Zero Waste as an adviser. Keep an eye on the centre’s Facebook page for updates, information and cool posts!
- Peihana Farm, 281 Okoki Road, Urenui – this gem out in Urenui runs many workshops on creative, sustainable living (including on waste reduction topics). The owner, Maria, is an expert on sustainable food preparation and gardening, so apart from running workshops on these topics, the farm will soon have enough produce to sell as well – keep an eye out!
- Para Kore – Para Kore is an amazing organisation working with marae, kura and Māori institutions and businesses to transition towards zero waste. Their resources/services are free and their regional kaiārahi are totally fabulous. The kaiarahi for Taranaki is Emily Bailey, so get in touch if you know an organisation Para Kore could work with in the region (or if you are involved with an organisation that would like to have Para Kore’s support!)
- Rethinking Plastic Revolution – a powerful project aiming to educate, inspire and provide practical resources around reducing plastic waste in New Plymouth, driven by the wonderful Lorella Doherty. The project provides a space for the New Plymouth community to share thoughts and ideas around reducing plastic consumption, and Lorella researches and highlights businesses who are already doing the mahi of reducing the plastic they pass on to customers (for example, she has compiled a list of cafes that provide discounts for people who BYO their own reusable takeaway coffee cup). Also, check out Lorella’s incredible murals that she makes from plastic she’s picked up off beaches around the district.
- Boomerang Bags Taranaki Enviroschools – get yourself some lovely cloth bags instead of plastic shopping bags from the Boomerang Bags made with the support of Taranaki’s Enviroschools and the champion of the initiative, Lauree Jones. You can find their bags at locations around Taranaki – send a message on Facebook to find out where, or keep an eye out! If you’re a sewer or just keen to help, there are regular sew-a-thons to make more bags – sign up to help sew a few if you feel up to it. The Boomerang Bags movement is taking NZ by storm, so it’s a great opportunity to get amongst it!