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
- E-Waste/Appliances – waste from electronics and appliances in landfill is harmful. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. There’s Tamaki WRAP that offer great workshops and waste minimisation education spanning a variety of different areas. You may have also heard of Amanda Chapman from Amanda in Waste-free Land, Kristy Lorson from A Zero Waste Warrior (and the creator of the incredibly useful Zero Waste in NZ! Facebook page), the Weir-Barwells of Waste-Less Living, and the trail-blazing Matthew Luxon and Waveney Warth from Rubbishfree.co.nz. 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 as well… 😀
- Food waste – need a hand for dealing with your food waste? 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. If you run a business that has food waste that you’d like collected for composting, then get in touch with We Compost. 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.
- 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! If you’d like someone else to set up a veggie garden in your own garden for you then, yes, this service does exist (!) – just get in contact with Katrina’s Kitchen Garden (you might have to twist some arms to get them to come out of Western Auckland, but you never know until you ask!)
- 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).
- Markets and Farmers Markets – there’s nothing like going along to your local market to find packaging-free treasures – be it food, cosmetics, household products or arts and crafts. Shopping local is a great way to reduce waste because the food and goods don’t have to travel long distances and because you can have direct one-on-one conversations with the grower or producer, explaining that you don’t want their beautiful product in a packet, and brainstorming alternatives together (a kind of conversation/collaboration that is very difficult to have with a supermarket!!) There are markets all over Auckland and we were simply unable to visit most 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!