What can we say, other than we were virtually falling over low-waste shopping solutions wherever we went in this city… Auckland’s a big place, full of interesting and enthused people offering creative solutions to reduce waste and/or making food more affordable through bulk purchasing.
We found so many places across the region that the list started to balloon into something a bit ridiculous. So, we decided to break this guide up into FOUR different areas (see the links below) – you can flick between these areas depending on which parts of the city you frequent most often.
At the bottom of this post we’ve also added a few general tips that apply to Auckland as a whole, addressing bigger picture waste reduction issues, like e-waste, food waste, recycling centres, etc., rather than putting these into each individual area post. So make sure you have a look at that too, alongside the area shopping guide.
As we say with all our regional shopping guides, if we’ve missed something that really should be in here (no doubt we will have), please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us, or leave a comment, and we’ll add it in as soon as we can! As the guides are still quite long and full of info, if you need help navigating them, please feel free to contact us with questions too.
Zero Waste Shopping in Auckland – Four Guides
- Central Auckland and Hauraki
- North Shore and Northern Auckland
- Southern and Eastern Auckland
- Western Auckland
Bigger picture waste reduction in Auckland generally
Reuse and Recycle
- Food waste and composting – food waste in a bin gets sent to landfill where it breaks down anaerobically, producing methane (a potent greenhouse gas). No! Luckily, in Auckland there are lots of options. Did you know that Auckland City Council offers FREE composting workshops through their programme, the Compost Collective? Worth checking out! Tamaki WRAP also runs composting workshops. We Compost also runs a food scrap collection service for both households AND businesses, and takes it to be composted – yay! You may also be interested in the Community Fridge (an initiative of Amanda Chapman, with a rescued fridge provided by Resource Rescue), located in Central Auckland in Griffiths Gardens (corner of Wellesley street and Mayoral Drive). The fridge is open 24 hours a day. The idea is that individuals and businesses can leave any excess food they may have (which might otherwise go to waste) in the fridge. Anyone who wishes is free to take food from the fridge. In addition to the Community Fridge there are also two food rescue organisations in Auckland – Fair Food and Kiwi Harvest – who take food that would otherwise go to waste from businesses and redistribute it to organisations with a social justice function.
- 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 incredibly precious resources embedded in these items that are not recovered when the waste is dumped in landfill. Rather than throwing you broken electronics out – have you considered trying to get them repaired first? You could pay someone to do it 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). Check out Repair Cafe Auckland to see where the next repair cafe is happening near you! If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to be recycled responsibly. In Auckland there are a range of places you can take your e-waste to be recycled or disposed of more safely. These include community recycling centres (see below), Resource Rescue, Abilities, Ecomatters, and E-Cycle.
- Community Recycling Centres are popping up all over Auckland now that the council has the aim of having at least 12 in the city in order to reach its goal of becoming a zero waste city by 2040. Community recycling centres are community-run and very effective at diverting waste from landfill, whether by arranging recycling, or repurposing or reselling of items back to the community at low cost. They are often drop-off points for all manner of recyclables, from plastics, paper/cardboard, glass and metals, through to hard to recycle items like e-waste, building and construction materials and other bits and bobs. Check out this list of Auckland community recycling centres to find your local. The range of things the community can drop-off also makes community recycling centres a GREAT place to get your magpie on and scavenge some real treasures at the re-use shops – a perfect place to find secondhand items rather than buying them new. If you’re wanting a new appliance or gadget, new toys or bikes, or if you’re undertaking a craft, building or home maker project and need some wood off-cuts, scrap metal, bolts, nuts or other building equipment, go to your local community recycling centre before you go anywhere else – you’ll be amazed at what you can find, at super low prices.
- EcoMatters’ Waste Brokerage Project – one person’s waste is another person’s treasure. Daily industry throws out tonnes of ‘waste’ that might actually be useful to other people. EcoMatters, an amazing Environment Centre in New Lynn, is taking ‘waste’ off the Rosebank Business Community and rehoming it to whoever might want it! Check out their website – you never know what kind of goodies you might be able to get, while saving it from a sad fate in landfill :-O
Zero Waste Information and Support Networks
- Waste-free advocates – Auckland is full of groups and individuals who provide support and inspiration for people to reduce their waste, both online and offline. You may have heard of Amanda Chapman from Amanda in Waste-free Land, Kristy Lorson from EarthSavvy (who is also the creator of the incredibly useful Zero Waste in NZ! Facebook page), the Weir-Barwells of Waste-Less Living, the trail-blazing Matthew Luxon and Waveney Warth from Rubbishfree.co.nz, and the Archer family of 6 who are documenting their year without a bin this year (2018). Have a look at their websites – they are all excellent resources for waste-free living in Auckland, and NZ generally. If you’re lucky, you might be able to twist one of their arms to do a public talk/workshop as well… 😀
- Environmental hubs – environment centres and hubs are a great place to look out for if you would like help reducing waste (in the context of sustainable living generally). An excellent example is Ecomatters, 1 Olympic Place, New Lynn. Among their many programmes, they are advancing zero waste in Western Auckland. They offer solutions for a range of hard to recycle items, like polystyrene, batteries, toothpaste tubes, curtains and light bulbs. Their frequent workshops often cover topics that assist with low-waste living. They also provide cool things for the community that diverts waste from landfill, like firewood which has been diverted from landfill, low-priced bikes rescued from landfill and done up, used coffee grinds for your garden, upcycled jewellery and crafts, and their Love Zero Waste Trailer, available for hire.
- Tamaki WRAP is simply incredible – they’re dedicated to supporting the waste reduction in the community and they offer great workshops and waste minimisation education spanning a variety of different areas. They also run the United Sustainable Sisters programme, and they’ve set up hubZERO a new location in Panmure dedicated to all things zero waste: waste-based social enterprises, full on local upcycling, and a space for workshops. Woohoo!
Share and Exchange/Skills and Resilience in Communities
- 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 Auckland. 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 – if you are wanting to try your hand at gardening and have access to some unpackaged, locally grown veges, look up your local community garden. We’ve seen some great ones, including in Ponsonby and Matakana, but there are many more! Check out a full list (plus map) here.
- Sharing Sheds/Community Fruit and Veg Stands – these are stands/shelves in the community where anyone can drop off excess fruit and veg from their garden, and anyone is free to take what’s there, free of charge. The wonderful art of sharing means that excess produce doesn’t go to waste. Furthermore, items can be shared without excessive amounts of packaging. These are popping up around the country and there are heaps in Auckland – find your nearest through the new website Free Food.
- Crop Swap – Another fantastic thing going is Crop Swaps – at a crop swap, individuals who have veges they’ve grown, or preserves or baking they’ve made (or similar), 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 around Auckland (including Waiheke Island), check out this website for a location near you (note the website is still being developed and currently missing many locations – you may need to ask around).