This guide covers the Far North District only. For other areas of Northland, please refer to the Zero Waste in Northland post.
Lots of pantry staples – from flours, grains and rice, through to condiments, spices, legumes, nuts, seeds and liquid foods – usually come in single-use packets. These shops stock all manner of pantry foods loose in bulk bins (or operate return & refill systems for their packaging), allowing you to put these goods straight into your own bags, jars, containers and bottles, and skip the packaging!
The following shops sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods and will happily put these straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
The following stores bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods (in some of these stores some items might be pre-packed or wrapped in cling film, just avoid those things!). Simply BYO bread bag to put the bread/bakery goods into. Some places will bag up their bread later in the day, so you want to get in there before they do that (i.e. before 1pm).
Look out for places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged, and bring your own bag and container to fill. Going direct to coffee roasters is the best option, but you can also look out for bulk dispensers of unpackaged coffee in other stores (which usually have in-store grinders also). Here are the spots we found that offer these options:
We avoid teabags as most have plastic in them, which we don’t want in our tea or our soil. Using loose leaf tea is an easy way to get around this. The trick is to find somewhere that sells loose leaf tea packaging-free, so you can put the leaves straight into BYO jars/containers! You’ll find loose tea leaves in bulk dispensers at:
Sourcing cow’s milk without the plastic bottles or non-dairy milk without the dreaded Tetra-pak is no mean feat! We’ve found the following options:
Look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Breweries are awesome, but lots of liquor stores offer this option too! We found beer on tap at:
Also, don’t forget that most liquor stores do ‘swappa crates’ of beer – i.e. crates of twelve 745ml bottles of classic NZ beer (e.g. Lion Red/Brown, Speights, Tui, Export Gold etc.) which can be returned (when the bottles are empty) and are then sent back to the brewery for sterilisation and refill (a better outcome for glass bottles than recycling because reusing the same bottle over and over requires way less energy and resources than recycling).
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at The Grass Hut, 37 Gillies Street, Kawakawa; The Cabbage Tree, 69 Marsden Road and 11 Williams Road, Paihia; Ella & Co., 2a Williams Road, Paihia; Gold ‘n’ Gifts, 13 Williams Road, Paihia; Flying Fish Design Store, 9 Williams Road, Paihia; Vitality, 86 Marsden Road, Paihia; Little Giants based at the Kaipātiki Eco Hub, 195 Puketona Road, Paihia; Max Kiwi Souvenirs, 23 The Strand, Russell; Fullers Gift Shop, 29 The Strand, Russell; The Scullery, 3 Fairway Drive, Kerikeri; Hardy’s, 69 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; Eko, 66F Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; Pallet Design, 86 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; Marston Moor, 74 Commerce Street, Kaitaia
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in the Far North:
Plastic shopping bags are a menace, but so too are those plastic produce bags for fruit and vege or the plastic bags often offered alongside bulk bins at bulk stores. You can avoid them by bringing your own bags or buying a set of reusable produce bags. If you’d like locally-made produce bags, look no further than Sarah’s Veg – Lettuce Supply You, in Kerikeri, who makes excellent, durable produce, shopping and lined meat bags, and sells them alongside her homegrown veg. You can also get them at Four Square Waipapa, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa. Also check out locally-made produce bags and Kai-Tāia Kete shopping bags at EcoCentre Kaitaia, 5/42 Commerce Street (entrance on Bank Street), Kaitaia. Other brands of produce, bulk bin & shopping bags are sold at Little Giants based at the Kaipātiki Eco Hub, 195 Puketona Road, Paihia; Susie’s Gifts, 5 Cass Street, Russell; Eko, 66F Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; and Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; and Boatshed Cafe, 8 Clendon Esplanade, Rawene (they also stock reusable cutlery wraps here).
Say “no straw thanks” next time you order a drink out and either use your mouth to drink, or get yourself a reusable metal straw instead. If you’re keen on a reusable metal straw, you can get them from Countdown Kaikohe, 37 Station Road East, Kaikohe; Hardy’s, Paihia Lanes, Paihia; Flying Fish Design Store, 9 Williams Road, Paihia; Health 2000, 84b Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; The Scullery, 3 Fairway Drive, Kerikeri; Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri; Four Square Waipapa, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa; Boatshed Cafe, 8 Clendon Esplanade, Rawene; The New Era Cafe, 1 Parnell Street, Rawene; EcoCentre Kaitaia, 5/42 Commerce Street (entrance on Bank Street), Kaitaia.
The following stores stock a wide range of liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers that you can fill your own bottles and containers with:
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Four Square Waipapa, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa; and Stone Store, 248 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri (they also sells a wide range of brushware and kitchen utensils made from wood and natural materials); Pompallier Mission Gift Shop, Russell; and CBEC Garden Centre Shop, 190 Pukepoto Road, Kaitaia.
You can also get Go Bamboo veggie brushes that can be used as dish scrubbers at Orange Frog, 2 Selwyn Road, Paihia; Four Square Waipapa, 1993 State Highway 10, Waipapa; and Boatshed Cafe, 8 Clendon Esplanade, Rawene – as these are made of just wood and plant fibre, they can be composted at home or burnt safely.
We also encourage people to move away from using dishclothes, sponges and bench wipes made out of synthetic material (as these leach microfibres and they’re also destined for landfill when they wear down) and to use natural fibre cloths instead:
The following stores sell totally naked/paper packaged bars of soap:
We’d encourage you to get your everyday toiletries – from shampoo through to shaving soap – in bar form, which means you totally avoid the plastic/aluminium bottles that liquid products usually come in!
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads: