This guide covers Taupō only. For other districts in the Waikato Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Waikato Region post.
Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers)
- Bin Inn Taupō, Spa Gate Shopping Centre, 27 Paora Hapi Street – 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 and syrups), sweets and treats, and items essential for zero waste living, such as baking soda, salt and other specialty baking/cooking goods. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! All Bin Inn stores around New Zealand are currently offering 5% discount when you bring your own containers!
- Raw Balance, 45 Oruanui Street – if you’re after organics without packaging, you must check out this haven in Taupō! Note that if you are allergic to gluten, this is a bulk store you can actually shop at without fear of contamination because it’s a certified gluten-free premises. The store keeps all its bulk organics out back, which they use to supply their kitchen (as Raw Balance is also a raw food deli and takeaway – if you want to try any of their delicious food – you totally should! – they’ll happily but their creations in BYO bags, containers, cups etc. They even have their own reusable smoothie cups – yee!). All you need to do is come with your own bags and containers and let the staff know what you’d like and they’ll put it together for you – they have gluten-free grains and flours, rice, legumes/pulses, dried fruit, nuts, seeds etc. They also have some bulk liquids, including oils, tamari and vinegar. The store also stocks bars of Loving Earth chocolate (which comes in home compostable packaging), and Savour vegan cheese (which is wrapped in home compostable paper, though the sticker needs to go in the bin).
- Trade Aid, 44 Heuheu Street – Trade Aid’s entire chocolate range comes in Econic packaging that is compostable in a home compost! Their 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are 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.
- Hardy’s Health Shop, 37 Horomatangi Street – stocks bars of Loving Earth chocolate which comes in home compostable packaging.
- The Taupō Market, Redoubt Street – local markets are an excellent source of unpackaged, locally grown, high quality produce. Furthermore, we’ve found that markets, where you can meet the grower/producer face-to-face, are really great for starting fruitful conversations about waste-free food, and developing relationships and systems that enable you to get your favourite fruit, vege and preserves without the packaging. Many local producers at markets are also happy to run a ‘take-back’ system whereby you return the containers/packaging for sterilisation and refill.
- Milk – the holy grail of zero waste success at your doorstep in Taupō! That’s right, you can get local, fresh, raw milk into reusable glass bottles from a vending machine at Taupō Raw Milk, 254 Oruanui Road. Just buy the glass bottles the first time you buy, and then every time you go after that, simply reuse the same bottle, over and over. Amazing!
- Coffee – we recommend looking out for places that stock unpackaged coffee beans/grinds and bringing your own bags and containers. Your best bet is to get fresh beans/grinds put in your own bags/containers from Volcanic Coffee, Taupō’s local roaster. Where can you find these without packaging? Well, there are various options: you can go to the grindhouse itself (20 Otupai Street), if you choose this option, just call up beforehand and check that Jimmy the owner is in when you want to pick-up; you can stop by Volcanic Coffee’s stall at the Saturday Taupō market with your own bag/container; OR you can get Volcanic Coffee’s certified organic beans any day of the week from Bin Inn Taupō, Spa Gate Shopping Centre, 27 Paora Hapi Street. If you’re into instant coffee, check out Trade Aid, 44 Heuheu Street because their instant coffee comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
- Drinking chocolate – get cocoa and/or drinking chocolate in bulk from either Raw Balance, 45 Oruanui Street or Bin Inn Taupō, Spa Gate Shopping Centre, 27 Paora Hapi Street. Alternatively, look out for Kokako drinking chocolate which comes in Econic‘s home compostable packaging (yus!) – we saw it at Hardy’s Health Shop, 37 Horomatangi Street.
- Beer – look out for places where you can get beer on tap put straight into your own bottle/flagon. Places we spotted were Liquor King, 88 Roberts Street and Crafty Trout Brewing Co, 131-135 Tongariro Street.
Kitchen/food packaging alternatives
- Raw Balance, 45 Oruanui Street – stocks reusable takeaway coffee cups, Rethink organic cotton produce bags, beeswax wraps, and locally-sewn Boomerang Bags.
- SpaceCraft, Suncourt Plaza, Shop 3, 19 Tamamutu Street – stocks beeswax wraps and JOCO and Van Go reusable takeaway coffee cups.
- Charlie WHO, 24 Heuheu Street – stocks reusable glass water bottles, and cotton cloths that could be used as dishcloths/bench wipes.
- Collaboration, 9 Heuheu Street – stocks wooden dish brushes with replaceable, home compostable heads (both soft and hard), and silicone pot/bowl covers (a reusable alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil).
- Replete Cafe and Store, 45 Heuheu Street – stocks cotton dishcloths, Rethink produce bags, various reusable takeaway coffee cups, including Keep Cup, reusable steel water bottles, wooden dish brushes with replaceable, home compostable heads and beeswax wraps.
- Bin Inn Taupō, Spa Gate Shopping Centre, 27 Paora Hapi Street – stock a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
- Hardy’s Health Shop, 37 Horomatangi Street – stocks bars of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap that can be used as the base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid.
- Raw Balance, 45 Oruanui Street – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes that have a wooden, home compostable handle, home compostable cotton buds, unpackaged bars of soap, and menstrual cups.
- Replete Cafe and Store, 45 Heuheu Street – stocks bars of unpackaged soap and Smartass toilet paper (wrapped in home compostable tissue paper).
- Hardy’s Health Shop, 37 Horomatangi Street – stocks Go Bamboo toothbrushes that have a wooden, home compostable handle, and home compostable cotton buds.
Community groups and supportive networks
- Boomerang Bags Taupō – get yourself some lovely cloth bags instead of plastic shopping bags from the Boomerang Bags Taupō crew. You can find their bags around Taupō, including Raw Balance, 45 Oruanui Street. If you’re a sewer, 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 🙂
- Taupō Community Gardens, 48 Richmond Avenue, Richmond Heights, Taupō – growing your own kai is a great way to get food packaging-free (and just free generally…) But if you don’t know how, or if you don’t have space, it can be hard! Taupō Community Gardens to the rescue – a great place to try your hand at growing and to partake in the produce too 😉
- Composting workshops – keen for some help starting up your own compost so you can avoid sending food waste to landfill? Well, Taupō District Council, in conjunction with Taupō Community Gardens, offers FREE monthly home composting workshops, at the gardens! Such a great opportunity 🙂