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Zero Waste in the Bay of Plenty

Zero Waste in the Bay of Plenty

Living without a rubbish bin is certainly possible in the Bay of Plenty. We were quite surprised by how many options there were for getting essentials without packaging, particularly around Tauranga City District. As an example, one of the signs of a zero waste friendly area is accessibility to packaging-free milk (i.e. vending machines), and this is available throughout Tauranga. Overall we were excited and heartened by the waste-free shopping in the Bay of Plenty region, and hope that you feel so too!

NB: We have arranged this shopping guide by territorial authority district, focusing on the areas that we visited (Tauranga City District, which includes Mount Maunganui; Western Bay of Plenty District, including Katikati, Papamoa and Te Puke; and Whakatāne District). This guide is a work in progress because it only includes the parts of the Bay we have been to so far (for example, Rotorua is not yet featured as we have not had a chance to look around the city and surrounding area yet). We hope to develop the guide further as our trip progresses.

But, without further ado, check out the guide for the districts we have gotten to so far; we hope that you find it useful!

Tauranga City District (including Mount Maunganui)

Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers)

  • Bin Inn Tauranga, 769 Cameron Rd, Tauranga – 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 machine and coffee beans with on-site grinder. All Bin Inn store around New Zealand are currently offering 5% discount when you bring your own containers!
  • Wild Earth Organics, 777 Cameron Road, Tauranga – stocks a range of organic bulk bin dried goods including grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit, flours etc., as well as organic fresh fruit and veges. They also stock various sustainably packaged foods, including (among other things) Trade Aid’s chocolate and Loving Earth’s chocolate range (which both come in compostable packaging). Make sure you stop here for lunch or a snack – delicious vegan, gluten-free food!
  • Be Organics, 6 Tawa Street, Mt. Maunganui – stocks a range of organic bulk bin dried goods including grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours, spices and herbs. Also stocks Loving Earth’s chocolate range which comes in home compostable packaging.
  • Choice Food and Spices, 504 Cameron Road, Tauranga AND 2/18 Gravatt Rd, Fashion Island, Papamoa – offers a wide range of unpackaged dried food in bulk, including grains, flours, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruit, flours and lots of spices. The Tauranga store also stocks sun-dried tomatoes in their bulk bins, a hard-to-find unpackaged item!
  • Quality Food and Spices, 367 Cameron Road, Tauranga – stocks a wide range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours etc., and zero waste essential items like baking soda.
  • Malwa Food and Spices, 946 Cameron Road, Gate Pa, Tauranga – stocks a range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours etc.
  • Trade Aid, 3/192 Maunganui Road, Mt. Maunganui – Trade Aid’s chocolate range comes in 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.
  • Spice, Groceries and Dairy, 143 Greerton Road, Tauranga – stocks a range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours etc.
  • Gouda Cheese Shop, Corner Cameron Road and Sixth Avenue, Tauranga – BYO container (and beeswax wrap for freshness) to get cheese cut fresh off the round and put straight into your own container. Also stocks unpackaged liquorice.
  • Point of Difference, 1344 Cameron Road, Tauranga – sells sweets unpackaged, just BYO bags and containers.
  • Farmers’ Markets and Co-ops – Tauranga and Mount Maunganui are blessed with several farmers’ markets, so head down to your local spot on the weekend – Tauranga, Tauranga Primary School, 31 Fifth Ave; Mount Mainstreet Farmers’ MarketPhoenix car park, 141 Maunganui Road; and Oropi, Oropi Memorial Hall, 1295 Oropi Road. All markets sell fresh, local fruit and veges as well as artisan and speciality foods, just remember to BYO bags and containers! Alternatively, check out the Tauranga Co-op and provide your own bags and containers for packing.

Drink options

  • Coffee – Head straight to your local roasters with your own bags or containers for beans or coffee. Tauranga has a few roasters, but we would recommend Excelso Coffee Roasters, 112 3rd Avenue West, Tauranga – this amazing little roastery and coffee shop will happily put their excellent coffee beans (or freshly ground) into your own container. They will even accept any old vessel if you want a brew there – one customer even brings in an old glass jar! You might also want to check out Fusion Coffee Roasters141 Totara St, Mt Maunganui; or Kiwi EspressoMatapihi. Note, we haven’t approached these two roasteries to ask whether they are happy to put their coffee in your own bag/container, so this is a conversation you may need to have with them. Alternatively, get beans ground at Bin Inn Tauranga, 769 Cameron Road or check out Trade Aid, 3/192 Maunganui Road, Mt Maunganui because their coffee comes in home compostable packaging.
  • Tea – get loose organic tea leaves from Be Organics, 6 Tawa Street, Mount Maunganui. We also recommend looking out for Herbal Potential tea, which is available in stockists around Tauranga and Mount Maunganui (see the list of stockists on their website). The tea is packaged in brown paper bags that are home compostable.
  • Milk – Tauranga and Mount Maunganui offer zero waste milk options, a rarity in New Zealand (for now)! Milk vending machines are dotted around town where you just BYO bottle to fill up with (these places usually sell reusable glass bottles if you’re just getting started). Fill up with Jersey Girl Organics‘ whole milk (from Cleavedale Farm in Matamata) at The Fresh Market, 1000 Cameron Road, Tauranga or Col’s Gourmet Selection, 237 Maunganui Road, Mt. Maunganui. If you prefer raw, unpasteurized milk, you can BYO bottle to Walnut Tree Farm, 512 Welcome Bay Road, Tauranga.
  • Beer – the key to zero waste beer is to bring your own flagons/bottles to stores that sell beer on tap. Breweries are a great place to go – a great option is The Rising Tide, 107 Newton Street, Mt. Maunganui. There are also a couple of liquor stores where you can get craft beer on tap, such as Liquorland Mount Maunganui1 Owens Place, or Liquor King Mount Maunganui, 290 Maunganui Road. Keep an eye out for other places too!

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • Cabbages and Kings, 46 Grey Street, Tauranga – stocks reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil), as well as cotton dishcloths.
  • Gourmet Trader, 1000 Cameron Road, Tauranga – stocks wet-it cotton and cellulose dish sponges and reusable silicone pot/bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil).
  • Be Organics, 6 Tawa Street, Mount Maunganui – sells Rethink bulk bin bags.
  • Paper Plane99 Maunganui Road, Mt. Maunganui – stocks a decent range of useful, waste reducing items, including staples such as cotton dishcloths, Eco Store compostable dishbrushes (and replaceable heads), reusable coffee cups and straws (and straw cleaners), and intriguing washable paper bags!
  • The Gilded Edge162 Maunganui Road, Mt. Maunganui – stocks beeswax wraps (an alternative to Glad Wrap), reusable silicon pot/bowl covers and reusable coffee cups.
  • Neptunes, 188 Maunganui Road, Mt. Maunganui – sells cotton dishcloths.

Cleaning products

  • Bin Inn Tauranga, 769 Cameron Rd, Tauranga – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
  • Be Organics, 6 Tawa Street, Mount Maunganui – you can refill your own bottles of Prana+Therapy Essential Oil Sprays here.

Bathroom products

  • Bin Inn Tauranga, 769 Cameron Rd, Tauranga – sells unpackaged bars of soap and Go Bamboo compostable toothbrushes.
  • Paper Plane, 99 Maunganui Road, Mt. Maunganui – stocks Go Bamboo and Grin compostable toothbrushes.

Tricky Things

  • Regional Waste and Recycling Directory – the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has an excellent, user friendly waste and recycling directory on their website. So if you’ve got a hard to recycle item or material (including e-waste and whiteware), see if you can find a place to recycle it here.
  • Why Waste – a commercial composting solution for organic waste. Why Waste runs two separate services for businesses and households: businesses’ waste is collected and taken to a dedicated, commercial hot composting facility that can break down most organic/biodegradable items. For households, Why Waste leases (and sells) worm farms to remain on the customer’s property, so that individuals have a stake in the proper disposal of their organic waste, and learn how to use a worm farm. Leo from Why Waste will come over to check in and provide maintenance every fortnight, but day-to-day it is the leaseholder’s responsibility.
  • Garden waste/green waste – accepted at the Te Maunga transfer station in Mount Maunganui for a charge. Find more information here.
  • E-waste and appliances – the two transfer stations in the district (at Maleme Street in Greerton and at Te Maunga in Mount Maunganui) accept a range of appliance and other items for recycling, check out the list here. Most are free to recycle but some, such as fridges and freezers, attract a charge. Your best option for e-recycling of computers is Computer Recyclers, 49 Turrett Road, Tauranga. You can also try Information Technology Solutions.
  • Scrap metal – there are many scrap metal dealers around Tauranga and Mount Maunganui who accept any quantity of scrap metal (big and small) from residents and industry (will buy the scrap metal off you), including Metal Man Recyclers, 6 Koromiko Street, Tauranga; Scrapman, 37 Maleme Street, Tauranga; Mount Metal Recyclers, 35 Maru Street, Mt. Maunganui; and Metalco Recyclers, 26 Aerodrome Road, Mt Maunganui.

 Western Bay of Plenty District (including Papamoa, Katikati and Te Puke)

Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers)

  • Bin Inn Papamoa, 30 F Gravatt Rd, Fashion Island, Papamoa – 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 machine and coffee beans with on-site grinder. Furthermore, they stock Trade Aid chocolate bars, which come in home compostable wrappers. All Bin Inn around New Zealand stores are currently offering 5% discount when you bring your own containers!
  • Indo Spice World, 163 Jellicoe St, Te Puke – stocks a wide range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours etc.
  • Khyber Food & Spices, 27 Jellicoe St, Te Puke – stocks a range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours etc.
  • Much More, 108 Jellicoe St, Te Puke – stocks a range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours etc.
  • Vege & Spices, 38 Main Road, Katikati – stocks a range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds.
  • Spice Traders, 1 Main Road, Katikati – stocks a wide range of bulk bin dried goods including spices, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, flours, some zero waste essential items like baking soda, and a couple of vinegars in bulk. You may need to spend a bit of time here to get around the slightly random layout!

Drink options

  • Coffee – Head straight to your local roasters with your own bags or containers for beans or coffee (you’ll just have to ask them if they don’t mind putting their grinds straight into BYO bags/containers). Alternatively, get beans ground at Bin Inn Papamoa, 30 F Gravatt Rd, Fashion Island, Papamoa.
  • Tea – Herbal Potential tea, which is packaged in home compostable brown paper bags, can be bought at Bin Inn Papamoa, 30 F Gravatt Rd, Fashion Island, Papamoa.

Cleaning products

  • Bin Inn Papamoa, 30 F Gravatt Rd, Fashion Island, Papamoa – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
  • Spice Traders, 1 Main Road, Katikati – stocks laundry/cleaning powders in bulk bins.

Bathroom products

  • Bin Inn Papamoa, 30 F Gravatt Rd, Fashion Island, Papamoa – sells unpackaged bars of soap, bamboo toothbrushes and earbuds, and Greencane toilet paper (which comes in a home compostable wrapper).

Tricky Things

  • Regional Waste and Recycling Directory – the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has an excellent, user friendly waste and recycling directory on their website. So if you’ve got a hard to recycle item or material (including e-waste and whiteware), find a place to recycle it here.
  • Why Waste – a commercial composting solution for organic waste. Why Waste runs two separate services for businesses and households: businesses’ waste is collected and taken to a dedicated, commercial hot composting facility that can break down most organic/biodegradable items. For households, Why Waste leases (and sells) worm farms to remain on the customer’s property, so that individuals have a stake in the proper disposal of their organic waste, and learn how to use a worm farm. Leo from Why Waste will come over to check in and provide maintenance every fortnight, but day-to-day it is the leaseholder’s responsibility.
  • Green waste/Garden waste – accepted for a charge at Katikati Recycling Centre, corner of Tetley and Wills Roads, and Te Puke Recycling Centre, 36 Station Road.

Whakatāne District

Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers)

  • Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson 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 machine and coffee beans with on-site grinder. All Bin Inn around New Zealand stores are currently offering 5% discount when you bring your own containers!
  • Michelle’s Health and Nutrition, 28 Boon Street – a small store, but plenty to offer. A bulk bin section contains dried seeds, nuts, grains, flours and chickpeas. You can also purchase many Trade Aid products here, including their chocolate range which comes in home compostable packaging.
  • L’Epicerie Larder128 Commerce Street – here you can purchase fresh authentic French bread and cheese. Simply BYO bags for the bread (a long one for the baguettes!), and containers for cheese from the deli (wrapping cheese in beeswax wraps keeps them from drying out).
  • Community Garden Whakatāne, 20 King St – a wonderful place for the people of Whakatāne to grow and share organic fruit and veges. Several plots are reserved for families, but there is also plenty of produce available for the general public – they only ask that you take what you need and no more. They are always looking for new volunteers too, so feel free to get in contact and get your hands dirty!

Drink options

  • Coffee – for fresh beans, head to L’Epicerie Larder, 128 Commerce Street, which is also the home of Apteryx coffee roastery – they are happy to put whole or ground coffee beans into your own container. Alternatively, get beans ground at Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street, or get Trade Aid‘s coffee, which comes in home compostable packaging, at Michelle’s Health and Nutrition, 28 Boon Street.
  • Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street – as well as coffee, Bin Inn Whakatāne sells Kokako drinking chocolate which comes in home compostable packaging.

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • Navy and Coral, 88 The Strand – stocks reusable straws (and straw cleaners) and beeswax wraps.
  • White Gold, 2/189 The Strand – stocks cotton ‘facecloths’ which could also double as dishcloths, all sorts of reusable drink bottles, wooden dishbrushes, and washable/reusable paper bags.
  • The Good Life Gift Shop194 The Strand – here you can buy reusable silicon pot/bowl covers.
  • Michelle’s Health and Nutrition, 28 Boon Street – here you can purchase Rethink produce and bulk bin bags, and Ecostore’s compostable dishbrushes with replacement heads.
  • Reusable Coffee Cups – you can find the reusable coffee cup of your dreams in Whakatāne, there are so many options. JOCO glass cups are available at Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand; porcelain cups can be found at The Good Life Gift Shop, 194 The Strand; and the uniquely designed Frank Green cups are stocked at White Gold, 2/189 The Strand.

Cleaning products

  • Bin Inn Whakatāne, 22 Richardson Street – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with. They also stock bars of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid.
  • Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand – sells bars of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap.
  • Michelle’s Health and Nutrition, 28 Boon Street – BYO bottles to fill up with Ecostore cleaning products in bulk.

Bathroom products

  • Nature Zone Health Shop, 2/83 The Strand – stocks unpackaged bars of soap, Go Bamboo compostable toothbrushes, and menstrual cups.
  • Michelle’s Health and Nutrition, 28 Boon Street – here you can find unpackaged bars of soap, Go Bamboo toothbrushes, Green Cane toilet paper (which comes in home compostable packaging), menstrual cups, and Ethique’s sustainably packaged shampoo bars.
  • New World, 51 Kakahoroa Drive – stocks Go Bamboo compostable toothbrushes.

Tricky Things

  • CReW (Community Resources Whakatāne)40 Te Tahi Street – this wonderful community recycling centre is a great place to find a range of useful recovered resources dropped off by members of the community instead of going to landfill – from timber, furniture and metal, through to bathroom and kitchen fittings, windows and doors and more (check out their website to see the range of materials they have on offer). The department store inside is full of secondhand household treasures. CReW accepts drop off of many hard-to-recycle items (including e-waste) – just take what you’ve got down to them and they’ll let you know if they can accept it. You can drop-off items for free. A small cost applies for drop-off of e-waste for recycling.
  • Regional Waste and Recycling Directory – the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has an excellent, user friendly waste and recycling directory on their website. So if you’ve got a hard to recycle item or material, see if you can find a place to recycle it here.


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