This guide covers the Kaipara District only. For other areas of Northland, please refer to the Zero Waste in Northland post.
NB: All our regional guides cover as many low-waste options as we could find for food, drink, kitchen and food packaging, cleaning products and bathroom products – scroll down to view each category. On the landing page for the region (above), we also list community groups, council services and ideas for tricky waste streams, so make sure you read that part too!
** Please note that we’re in the process of researching and updating all our Northland shopping guides over July/August 2019. We thank you in advance for bearing with us :-)**
FOOD OPTIONS (I.E. STORES THAT OFFER LOOSE ITEMS WHICH YOU CAN PUT, UNPACKAGED, INTO YOUR OWN BYO BAGS/CONTAINERS)
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. Here, we list shops that stock all manner of pantry foods loose in bulk bins (or which at least have an option for you to avoid unnecessary packaging), so that you can put these ingredients straight into your own bags, jars, containers and bottles, and skip the packaging!
- Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai – a newly opened organic store with a range of exciting unpackaged goods (and delicious food made in-store!). Sells nuts, seeds, flours, grains, beans/legumes, dried fruit, and even cacao butter in bulk bins. They also stock liquid foods (some of which they make in store) such as nut butters, maple syrup and tahini, which you can refill in your own glass bottle/jar.
- Kakariki Health and Wellbeing, 52 Moir Street, Mangawhai – stocks some nuts in bulk (jars of the nuts kept behind the counter, ask to have put in BYO bag/container).
- Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto – *store has potentially moved/closed* this beautiful organic store and cafe has a range of bulk bins stocking nuts, dried fruit, seeds, grains, flours and beans/legumes.
- The Good Life, 98 Victoria Street, Dargaville – a soap shop and florist with unpackaged wholefoods – whoop!! This shop offers a wide range of low-waste goods and strives to have something new each time you visit! You can refill your olive oil and apple cider vinegar here, as well as some spices and dried herbs behind the counter, and sweets too! They also run Good Life Veg Box Delivery, a great way to get local fresh fruit and veges – just specify when signing up that you would like to have your fruit and veges delivered to you unpackaged/without plastic.
- Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville – sells spelt flour in brown paper bags (not ideal, but better than plastic). They do repack a range of bulk goods into plastic bags, so it might be worth asking them if they could repack into your own bags rather than their plastic ones.
- Supermarkets – all major supermarkets in Kaipara have well stocked bulk bin/pick and mix sections with wholefoods (BYO bags for these). However they’re pretty expensive, often more so than equivalent ingredients in packets (bah!), and more so than the bulk bins at places like
Places that sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese, tofu and/or deli foods who will happily put your unwrapped purchases straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
- Mangawhai Deli, 3/7 Wood Street, Mangawhai Heads – BYO containers and bags for the deli’s nice range of meats, cheeses, pickle, salads and breads.
- Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One – you can buy cheese cut off the round here, so just BYO container.
- Unpackaged live mussels – there are a few stores around town that stock unpackaged live mussels at self-serve counters. We put them straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO containers rather than the plastic bags the stores usually provide. You can find unpackaged live mussels at Jaques Four Square, 1 Mangawhai Road, Kaiwaka;
- BYO containers at the supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more – all unpackaged. All major supermarkets will now allow you to BYO container for these goods (Countdown is rolling this out nationwide in late 2019).
The following stores bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods (some things in some of these stores might be pre-packed or wrapped in cling film, just avoid those things!). So all you need to do is BYO 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 early enough before they do that (i.e. before 1pm).
- Mangawhai Deli, 3/7 Wood Street, Mangawhai Heads
- Most supermarkets (and even some Four Squares) stock unpackaged bread, bread rolls and/or bakery goods in their bakery section – just pop them into your BYO bags!
Markets and other low-waste goodies you might not have thought of
- Markets – No two ways about it, if you want to get a good source of unpackaged, often locally grown, produce, markets are the place to frequent! BYO bags to get fresh produce from the Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street – this not the only market in the Mangawhai area, but we were amazed by the low-waste options available here! Lots of unpackaged produce (even greens), of course, but you can also get refills of Silverhill Olive Estate‘s amazing olive oil for a very good price (cheaper than buying pre-bottled!), cheese cut off the round into your own container, and locally baked bread unpackaged. By and large, 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. Have a chat to see if you can leave containers with the stall holders for them to fill with your desired product for you to pick up from them the following week, or if the stallholder uses glass jars for packaging, ask whether they will take their empty glass jars back for sterilisation and reuse.
- Wild Tiger, Shop 2/45 The Centre, Waipu – stocks Trade Aid sugar (which comes in brown paper bags that are great to upcycle for bulk refills, but which are also home compostable) and Trade Aid coconut oil (which comes in a glass jar without the plastic seal around the outside rim). Also stocks yummy unpackaged nougat and bliss balls, just BYO bag/container.
- Bennetts Chocolatier, 52 Moir Street, Mangawhai – sells truffles and some blocks of chocolate unpackaged.
- Dargaville Book Exchange & Crafts, 95 Victoria Street, Dargaville – despite being a book store, you can buy locally made preserves here and they encourage you to return the jars and bottles for sterilisation and reuse!
- Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell loose coffee beans/grounds and have them put in BYO bags/containers. On the Eastern side of Kaipara, you can go direct to Rush Coffee at the Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street, where they will happily refill your bags with their locally roasted beans. On the Western side of Kaipara, your best bet is to get whole or ground beans in your own bag or container at Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville.
- Tea – in the East, you can buy Herbal Potential teas (which come in unlined brown paper bags) at Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai. In the West, check out Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville, for their yummy range of unpackaged teas you can put in your own bag/container.
- Milk – you can get Bella Vacca Jerseys’ milk in reusable glass bottles from Mangawhai Meat Shop, 43 Moir Street, Mangawhai; and Eutopia Cafe, 1955 State Highway 1, Kaiwaka. Bella Vacca Jerseys uses glass milk bottles. The milk costs $3.50 a litre. When you buy your first bottle you pay an extra $4.50 to cover the cost of the bottle, after that you return the empty bottle to the nearest stockist and exchange it for a full one for only the price of the milk ($3.50). The empties are then returned to Bella Vacca for sterilisation and reuse – so the bottles just go around and around – true zero waste! Alternatively, Raw Milk Mangawhai, 66 Bagnal Road, is a lovely ethical dairy farm, where the cows live out their full lives and calves are not separated from their mothers. They run a glass bottle swap, where you take fresh bottled milk from the fridge and leave last week’s bottles in the shop for cleaning and reuse (they also offer refills of vinegar, coconut oil with no plastic seal, and a few jams and preserves for sale). For those who don’t/can’t have dairy, Our Local Organics makes and sells their own nut milks – see if you can organise to BYO bottle for that.
- Kombucha – Mangawhai is into its kombucha! You can get Nutrition by Nature kombucha, made from organic fair trade ingredients and in bottles that can be returned to be reused, at the Mangawhai Village Market, or else, Our Local Organics has a refillery in store – just BYO bottle.
KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at… **to be inserted!***
Reusable takeaway coffee cups around Kaipara:
- Find the Keep Cup at Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai
Reusable bags (shopping bags, produce bags and bulk bin bags)
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. You can get Rethink 100% organic cotton produce + bulk bin + string + bread + nut mylk bags at Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai; and Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville.
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 Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wrap
- Purchase at – Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai; Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street; Raw Milk Mangawhai, 66 Bagnal Road.
- DIY – it’s way cheaper! You just need to get natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. Keep an eye out at secondhand stores and fabric stores for off-cuts of cotton/fat quarters. Get unpackaged beeswax (candles) at Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville.
- Silicone pot/bowlcovers – a good option for storing leftovers in a bowl (other than just putting a plate on top!) or as an alternative to tin foil for roasting (as the covers can withstand temperatures of up to 220 degrees and will also keep hot food warm when transporting). You can buy these at Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street.
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One; Kakariki Health and Wellbeing, 52 Moir Street, Mangawhai; and Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street.
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:
- For something more like a traditional dishcloth sponge, check out the SPRUCE or Wet-it! or Kuitukuu 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life) which are available at Fresh, 3a Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai (Kuitukuu brand).
Refills of cleaning products
- Get Ecostore liquid and powdered cleaning products refills into your own bottles/containers at Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One and Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto. Whole Life Organics is also the home of Prana+Therapy, which is so much more than a cleaning product, but does have a cleaning function! Refill your bottles of this miracle remedy here at the replenish station!
- Eco Planet laundry powder comes in a cardboard box with no inner plastic lining, and the scoop is also made of cardboard. Find it at **to be inserted** . You can also get Living Green laundry powder, which is the same deal (no plastic, septic tank safe) with a bamboo scoop, from any Countdown supermarket.
- Non-plastic clothes pegs – Go Bamboo pegs are available at Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto; Paparoa General Store, 2024 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa.
- Soapnuts – natural nut shells that release saponin (like soap) in water and can be used for laundry. Once spent, the shells can be composted. You can find the Soapnuts brand, which comes in a cardboard box, no plastic lining, at Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto.
Ingredients for homemade cleaning products
- Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville – stocks a range of ingredients for DIY cleaning products, including, baking soda, washing soda, bentonite clay, epsom salts
- Bars of castile soap/dishwashing bars (which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid) are available at Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville (the Dr Bronner’s brand).
Zero waste teeth and mouth
- Bamboo toothbrushes – a great alternative to plastic toothbrushes because they have wooden, home compostable handles (though bristles are still plastic and need to be removed from the handle and put in a rubbish bin). You can find bamboo toothbrushes at The Well of Health, 1929 State Highway 1, Kaiwaka; Mangawhai Four Square, 43 Moir Street, Mangawhai; Paparoa General Store, 2024 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa; Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville.
Unpackaged Bars of Soap
The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- The Well of Health, 1929 State Highway 1, Kaiwaka
- Kaiwaka Cheese Shop, 1957 State Highway One
- Meant to Be, 8 Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai
- Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street
- Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto
- Empire Art and Collectibles, 1994 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa – Good Life soap
- Paparoa General Store, 2024 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa
- Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville – the owner of this store makes beautiful soaps, which she sells unpackaged, from the milk from her goats! You can get unpackaged soap off-cuts for cheaper as well.
Bars for Shampoo/Shaving/Deodorant/Moisturiser
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!
- Look out for shampoo bars made by Northland based company, Dirty Hippie. We’ve seen them at Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto and Empire Art and Collectibles, 1994 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa.
- Another option are the popular Ethique range which includes shampoo bars, conditioner bars, shaving bars, deodorant bars, moisturiser bars, etc. (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging). Find these at: **to be inserted**
Reusable Menstrual Products
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads:
- Menstrual cups at Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville
- Reusable/washable pads at Our Local Organics, 1A Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai
- Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto; Paparoa General Store, 2024 Paparoa Valley Road, Paparoa; Elf Organics & Wellness, 84 Victoria Street, Dargaville.
- Toilet Paper – Greencane toilet paper is wrapped in home compostable packaging, which you can get from Wild Tiger, Shop 2/45 The Centre, Waipu; Whole Life Organics, 141 Hurndal Street, Maungaturoto.
- Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
- Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville – The store also stocks baking soda and bentonite clay in bulk if you would like to make your own bathroom products.
- Toiletries/cosmetics in refillable containers
- Mangawhai Village Market, Mangawhai Library Hall, 45 Moir Street – if you see cosmetics on offer, ask the vendor whether they will accept empty containers back for refills (often the answer is yes!)
- Good Life, 105 Victoria Street, Dargaville – the owner makes a variety of other cosmetics which you can buy in-store in small jars – bring the jar back once you’ve finished, and they will be sterilised and refilled.