Zero Waste in Hamilton City and the Waikato District (including Whāingaroa/Raglan)

Zero Waste in Hamilton City and the Waikato District (including Whāingaroa/Raglan)

This guide covers Hamilton City and the Waikato District only (specifically, Hamilton and Whāingaroa/Raglan). For other districts in the Waikato Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Waikato Region 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. At the end of each district section, we also list community groups, council services and ideas for tricky waste streams in each district, so make sure you read down to that part too!

Hamilton

FOOD OPTIONS (I.E. THAT OFFER LOOSE ITEMS WHICH YOU CAN PUT, UNPACKAGED, INTO YOUR OWN BYO BAGS/CONTAINERS)

Wholefoods/pantry staples

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!

  • Bin Inn St Andrews, 21 Braid Road, St Andrews; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East – 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 extruder, just BYO jar! Both Bin Inn Hamilton East and Bin Inn Dinsdale stock a range of organic bulk food. Bin Inn Dinsdale also stocks a great range of harder to find bulk liquids, including organic maple syrup and organic raw honey. All Bin Inn stores around New Zealand are currently offering 5% discount when you bring your own containers!
  • Frankton Fresh, 160 Commerce Street, Frankton – a really great range of affordable dried food in bulk, including legumes, grains, rice, flours, legumes, nuts, dried fruit and spices.
  • SS Spices & Groceries, 63 Kent Street, Frankton – a really great range of affordable dried food in bulk, including legumes, grains, rice, flours, legumes, nuts, dried fruit and spices.
  • Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton – stocks lots of organic food sold in bulk bins, including flours, grains, sugars and rice, legumes/pulses, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, and carob and cocoa nibs. Also stock liquid foods in bulk (BYO bottle), including olive oil, vinegar and tamari.
  • Yogiji’s Foodmart, 89 Greenwood Road, Frankton – stocks a range of bulk bins with dried food, including legumes, grains, rice, flours, sugars, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, spices, and salt.
  • Maharaja Food and Spices, 42 Avalon Drive, Nawton -stocks a range of bulk bins with dried food, including legumes, grains, rice, flours, sugars, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, spices, and salt.
  • Khyber Foods and Spices, 6 Fifth Avenue, Claudelands – a really good range of bulk bins full of legumes, grains, rice, flours, sugars, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, spices, and salt.
  • Mishmash Juice and Organics, 695 Grey Street, Hamilton East – lots of dried organic food in bulk bins here, including grains and rice, flours, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street, Hamilton East – a cute little store with a small, but carefully selected range of food, much of which is available with packaging free, including legumes, dried fruit and nuts, bulk olive oil (BYO bottle), and local, seasonal and organic fruit and produce.
  • Food 4 Less, 674 Te Rapa Road, Hamilton – stocks a variety of bulk foods, including legumes, grains, rice, flours, sugars, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, spices, and salt.
  • The Herbal Shop & Clinic, 2 Lorne Street, Melville – this store has a cute section of unpackaged herbs and spices. They also stock glass jars of Kokonati coconut oil, which have no plastic seal around the lid.
  • Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood – a small range of bulk bins with organic nuts, seeds and grains.
Butchers/Fishmongers/Cheese/Deli

Places that sell unpackaged meat, sausages, meat products, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods who will happily put your unwrapped purchases straight into a BYO container – woohoo!

  • Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street, Hamilton East – in-house deli food (BYO containers)
  • Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton – you can get pre-made foods, such as pies and other deli items, unpackaged (if you BYO container).
  • PAK’nSAVE, Mill Street, Hamilton – the deli at this supermarket will put food into BYO containers (including cuts of meat).
Bakeries

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).

  • Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street, Hamilton East
  • Baker’s Delight, Clyde Street Shopping Centre, Shop 1A, Hamilton East – you can get unpackaged bread here (just BYO bag). Excitingly, this includes sliced bread – just ask to have the sliced bread put into your own bag.

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! 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. Check out the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, Gate 3, Brooklyn Road, Claudelands.
  • Trade Aid – Trade Aid’s entire chocolate range comes in packaging that is compostable in a home compost! In fact, this extra special packaging is made by Econic, right here in Hamilton! 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. Get all of these goods at Trade Aid, 4/19 Worley Place, Hamilton Central. You can also get the chocolate at Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale. The sugar is sold at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue,
  • Unpackaged chocolate/truffles/fudge/sweets – a few shops have sweet treats unpackaged that you can have put into your own containers:
    • Okashi House, 118 Alexandra Street, Hamilton Central – stocks Japanese sweets and snacks in little bulk bins!
    • The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton – unpackaged fudge.
  • Other pre-made food in home compostable packaging – Loving Earth raw chocolate (which comes in Econic home compostable packaging) is sold at Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East; Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood; and The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton.

DRINK OPTIONS

  • Coffee – wherever possible, we encourage people to find places that sell whole or ground coffee beans unpackaged and have them put in BYO bags/containers. Coffee roasters are a great place to start: our fave was Rocket Coffee, 302 Barton Street, Hamilton Central, where the staff are more than happy to put their delicious, locally roasted coffee straight into your BYO bag. Other places that stock loose coffee beans/grinds which you can have put in your own bag/container are Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Raglan Roast/Brown Lightening Bros, Te Rapa Road, Hamilton; and Urge Coffee and Tea Boutique, 2/371 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central. If you are into instant coffee, check out Trade Aid, 4/19 Worley Place, Hamilton Central because their instant coffee comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
  • Tea – because most tea bags have plastic in them, we encourage people to use loose tea leaves rather than bags. Finding loose tea leaves unpackaged is not always easy. The best range of unpackaged teas we found were at The Herbal Shop & Clinic, 2 Lorne Street, Melville. You can also find plain, black tea leaves in bulk at Khyber Foods and Spices, 6 Fifth Avenue, Claudelands.
  • Drinking chocolate – look out for places that sell drinking chocolate or cocoa powder in bulk and fill up BYO bags/containers. All three Bin Inn stores around Hamilton offer this option. If you are into fairtrade and organic, look out for Kokako‘s drinking chocolate, which comes in Econic packaging that is compostable in a home compost. You can find this at Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde street, Hamilton East; and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood
  • Beer – look for places that sell beer on tap and BYO flagon/bottle to fill up. Some great places that we came across that offer this option are Hamilton Beer & Wine Co, 856 Victoria Street; Good George (Frankton), 32A Somerset Street, Frankton; and Liquorland Rototuna, 16 Horsham Downs Road, Rototuna.

KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES

Reusable drinking vessels (cups and water bottles)

Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton (metal); Urge Coffee and Tea Boutique, 2/371 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central; The Scullery, 371 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central (metal); Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood (metal); and Chi Chi Deluxe – Funky Gifts, 299 Barton Street, Hamilton (metal).

There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Hamilton:

  • Find the Keep Cup brand at Urge Coffee and Tea Boutique, 2/371 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central.
  • The NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; Urge Coffee and Tea Boutique, 2/371 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central; Chi Chi Deluxe – Funky Gifts, 299 Barton Street, Hamilton
  • You can get glass Joco Cups at The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale;  and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood
  • Zuperzozial bamboo cups are sold at The Scullery, 371 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central.
  • A brandless ceramic coffee cup is sold at @cquisitions, Te Awa Mall at The Base.

Reusable lunch boxes/containers

Reusable lunch boxes or containers are great to have on you when you’re out and about in case you want to get takeaways, to carry leftovers home with you, or if you find food to forage. You can get Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton. Also, Ever Eco stainless steel bento snack boxes are sold at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood

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 and string shopping bags at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton and Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road,Dinsdalee; or just Rethink produce bags at Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street, Hamilton East. A range of other 100% cotton produce bags are sold at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood

Reusable straws

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 Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; Needle in the Hay, 300a Racquet Lane (off Barton Street), Hamilton Central; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood; and The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton.

Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil

  • Beeswax wrap – available at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton; Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street, Hamilton East; Needle in the Hay, 300a Racquet Lane (off Barton Street), Hamilton Central; Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood; and The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton. However, it’s much cheaper to make your own beeswax wraps! You can get fabric offcuts and fat quarters from places like Bernina Sewing Centre, 131 Pembroke Street, Hamilton and Knit World, 651 Victoria Street, Hamilton. You can get big blocks of unpackaged beeswax at Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale
  • Reusable sandwich bags – you can get these alternatives to Glad Wrap and plastic ziplock bags at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton.
  • 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 The Scullery, 371 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central; and @cquisitions, Te Awa Mall at The Base.

Low-waste dishwashing

You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton; Needle in the Hay, 300a Racquet Lane (off Barton Street), Hamilton Central; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood. WARNING – although The Scullery also stocks wooden dishbrushes with replaceable heads, note that the replaceable heads have plastic bristles so they are NOT home compostable, so don’t buy the dishbrushes here (there are other places in the city that stock the real deal).

Home compostable veggie brushes (which you can use as a handle-less dishbrush) are sold at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood

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! 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life) which are available at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; Needle in the Hay, 300a Racquet Lane (off Barton Street), Hamilton Central; and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood
  • Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton stocks 100% organic cotton dish cloths.
  • Fancy Bianca Lorrene 100% cotton cloths are available at The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton.
  • Get unpackaged wads of cotton cloths/muslin that can be used as dishcloths at Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale

CLEANING PRODUCTS

  • Refills of cleaning products
    • You can refill a range of Ecostore cleaning products at Bin Inn Hamilton East; Bin Inn Dinsdale; and Go Eco.
    • Bin Inn St Andrews, 21 Braid Road, St Andrews; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East stock a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
  • Soapnuts NZ soapnuts come in a cardboard box with no plastic lining. You can get them at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton. There’s also That Red House Soapberries which are in a paper bag inside a cotton pouch, sold at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood
  • Ingredients for DIY cleaning products
    • Baking soda – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Bin Inn St Andrews, 21 Braid Road, St Andrews; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East.
    • Bars of castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) – get Dr Bronner’s castile bars at Bin Inn Hamilton East; Bin Inn DinsdaleVillage Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton; Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood; and The Herbal Shop & Clinic, 2 Lorne Street, Melville.
    • Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale stocks things like borax, soda ash, epsom salts and caustic soda.
  • Alternatives to plastic clothes pegs – Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood stocks Go Bamboo wooden clothes pegs.

BATHROOM PRODUCTS

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 Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East; Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton; Naturally Healthy, 106 London Street, Hamilton; and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood
  • Floss – Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale stocks Do Gooder silk floss with refills. You can get Eco floss dispensers (though with PLA floss), and Do Gooder refills (beware the bamboo ones that have plastic in them and get the silk ones instead) at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood.

Unpackaged Bars of Soap

It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Hamilton. The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:

  • Bin Inn St Andrews, 21 Braid Road, St Andrews
  • Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale
  • Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East
  • Needle in the Hay, 300a Racquet Lane (off Barton Street), Hamilton Central – locally made, unpackaged soap made using local roaster Rocket Coffee‘s grinds.
  • Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton
  • Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street, Hamilton East
  • The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton
  • Hamilton Gardens Shop, Hungerford Crescent, SH1 (off Cobham Drive), Hamilton
  • Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood

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!

  • 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) is stocked at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton
  • Bars of soap by Wouldn’t Know ‘Em from a Bar of Soap Co., which include shaving and shampoo bars, are available at The Country Providore (next to Punnet Cafe), 337 Newell Road, Hamilton; and Hamilton Gardens Shop, Hungerford Crescent, SH1 (off Cobham Drive), Hamilton.
  • Other locally made shampoo bar is sold at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton.
  • You can get Fair + Square face and shampoo bars at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood

Reusable Menstrual Products

There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. You can get both menstrual cups and reusable washable pads at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton, or just cups at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood

Other
  • Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton; and Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood
  • Toilet Paper – we would recommend Greencane and Smartass toilet paper as both are wrapped in home compostable packaging. You can get Greencane at Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton and Village Organics, 245 Commerce Street, Frankton; just Smartass at Whole Heart, 6 Queenwood Avenue, Queenwood; and both Greencane and Smartass at Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street, Hamilton East.
  • Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
    • Baking Soda is an essential ingredient in lots of homemade toiletries such as toothpaste and deodorant, as well as a great general cleaner when teamed up with vinegar. You can get it unpackaged in bulk bins from Bin Inn St Andrews, 21 Braid Road, St Andrews; Bin Inn Dinsdale, Shop 34, 47 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale; and Bin Inn Hamilton East, 1B/20 Clyde Street, Hamilton East .
  • Liquid toiletries on tap
    • Bin Inn Dinsdale also stocks a range of bulk refills of Eco Store shampoo, conditioner and body wash, just BYO bottles.
    • Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton stocks bulk refills of Eco Store hand & body wash (BYO bottle).

Tricky things, Community Groups and Supportive Networks

  • Go Eco (formerly the Waikato Environment Centre), 188-200 Commerce Street, Frankton – Hamilton’s wonderful environment centre is an excellent hub for all kinds of sustainable living, including tips and resources for low-waste lifestyles. Go Eco runs and also hosts workshops on how to garden, compost and make your own cleaning and bathroom products (essential skills if you want to embark on life without a rubbish bin!). They’re also home to a depot for recycling hard-to-recycle items, including electronic devices, batteries, light bulbs and toner cartridges – yus! Not only that, but these legendery people also run Kaivolution Food Rescue, a food redistribution service rescuing edible food that would otherwise go to waste from food retailers and producers around the city, and redistributing that food to community groups and people that need it.
  • Hamilton Organic, 18 Wickham Street, Frankton – want to make sure your green waste gets properly composted? Take it along to Hamilton Organics and they’ll sort it out for you. Check their website for pricing (you pay by weight).
  • Community Gardens – growing your own kai is a great way to get food packaging-free (and just free generally…). There’s nothing like a community garden for helping you learn to garden and compost, or just providing you with a space to practice your skills, in an urban context. Community gardens are popping up around Hamilton, including Waimarie Community Garden at Hamilton East Community House, 53 Wellington Street, Hamilton East; and Grandview Community Garden.
  • Plastic Bag Free Hamilton East/Boomerang Bags – get yourself some lovely cloth bags instead of plastic shopping bags from the Plastic Bag Free Hamilton East crew. You can find their bags around Hamilton East, including Hearth Grocer, Lovegrove Lane, 1b/394 Grey Street. If you’re a sewer, sign up to help sew a few if you feel up to it! The Boomerang Bags movement is taking NZ by storm, so it’s a great opportunity to get amongst it 🙂
  • Para Kore – Para Kore is an amazing organisation working with marae, kura and Māori institutions and businesses to transition towards zero waste. Their resources/services are free and their regional kaiārahi are totally fabulous. Para Kore’s Kaiārahi for Waikato, Hauraki, Maniapoto and Raukawa is Cheri van Schravendijk-Goodman – if you’re keen for some awhi with waste reduction, she’d be stoked to hear from you 🙂

Whāingaroa/Raglan

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

  • WOK (Whāingaroa Organic Kai), 3-5 Wainui Road – a one-stop shop for all your packaging-free needs (and all organic)! A great variety of food in bulk bins (including the hard to find bulk pasta), from grains, flours, rice and sugars, through to nuts, seeds and dried fruit. You can also get refills of oils, vinegar and tamari (just BYO bottles). The store also stocks bars of Trade Aid and Loving Earth chocolate, both of which come in home compostable packaging.
  • The Herbal Dispensary, 6 Wallis Street – stocks a range of bulk bins with organic grains, flours, rice, sugars, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. They also stock unpackaged bread, freshly baked in Hamilton.
  • Trade Aid, 15 Bow Street, Raglan – Trade Aid’s entire chocolate range comes in Econic 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.
  • Solscape, 611 Wainui Road – if you happen to be staying at this excellent eco accommodation (a bit of a Raglan institution), then note that they sell bars of Trade Aid chocolate (which come in home compostable wrappers) and there are plenty of permaculture, organic gardens with leafy greens and other Solscape grown kai that you are welcome to pick from for your evening meals.

Drink options

  • Coffee – Look no further than Raglan Roast, Volcom Lane, where the staff are more than happy to put their delicious, locally roasted coffee straight into your BYO bag. If you are into instant coffee, check out Trade Aid, 15 Bow Street because their instant coffee comes in Econic home compostable packaging.
  • Tea – because most tea bags have plastic in them, we encourage people to use loose tea leaves rather than bags. Finding loose tea leaves unpackaged is not always easy. The Herbal Dispensary, 6 Wallis Street, sells a lot of tea that they obviously repackage in-store, so you might be able to try your luck getting them to pack tea straight into your own bags/containers.

Kitchen/food packaging alternatives

  • WOK (Whāingaroa Organic Kai), 3-5 Wainui Road – stocks wooden dish brushes with replaceable, home compostable heads.
  • The Herbal Dispensary, 6 Wallis Street – stocks beeswax wraps, spongey dishcloths made of 100% cellulose and cotton (so they are home compostable at the end of their life), wooden dish brushes with replaceable, home compostable heads, reusable metal straws, and Rethink organic cotton produce and bulk bin bags.

Cleaning Products

  • WOK (Whāingaroa Organic Kai), 3-5 Wainui Road – you can refill bulk eco cleaning products, like dishwashing detergent, here – just BYO bottle. Also stocks wooden clothes pegs.
  • The Herbal Dispensary, 6 Wallis Street – stocks wooden clothes pegs, and bars of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid.

Bathroom Products

  • WOK (Whāingaroa Organic Kai), 3-5 Wainui Road – stocks bars of unpackaged soap, Go Bamboo and Grin toothbrushes that have wooden, home compostable handles, and Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds.
  • The Herbal Dispensary, 6 Wallis Street – stocks bars of unpackaged soap, Go Bamboo toothbrushes that have wooden, home compostable handles, Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds, and zinc oxide sunscreen in a cardboard tube.

Community groups and supportive networks

  • Xtreme Zero Waste, 186 Te Hutewai Road – as any Raglan local will know, Xtreme Zero Waste is a total taonga for the community, and for New Zealand generally. Since 2000, Xtreme Zero Waste has been managing and minimising Whāingaroa’s waste, with huge success; they currently divert about 75% of Raglan’s waste from landfill and this figure is probably even higher since the organisation instituted its food waste kerbside collection in mid-2017. But Xtreme is not just about kerbside waste collection, they’re also a resource and recovery centre of epic proportions! Go in during their opening hours and you can drop off all kinds of hard-to-recycle items (including e-waste, appliances, batteries and tyres), have your green waste put to good use, and leave with all kinds of diamonds in the rough (Xtreme rescues, repurposes, upcycles and resells items and materials that have been discarded, from wood, metal, building materials, through to bric-a-brac, clothing and books). Xtreme is an actual treasure trove and we would urge anyone to go and check it out (even if you are only visiting Raglan, it’s a legitimate destination!!)
  • Whāingaroa Environment Centre, 41 Bow Street – Raglan’s thriving environment centre offers heaps of projects that can help with low-waste living. They use sharing economies to reduce wasteful over-duplication of resources in the community, and increase access to high quality goods and services through initiatives like the tool library (reducing the number of households in the community that need to own their own tools) and Backyard Bounty. The environment centre also coordinates the community gardens around Raglan – a great way to learn to garden and compost (and to have space to garden if you don’t have much space where you live). Growing your own food is, of course, an excellent method of getting unpackaged food 😉
  • Raglan Timebank – we are quite fanatical about timebanking because it’s such an excellent way to share skills of creation and repair which reduces our reliance on corporations, our waste and our need for consumption. Raglan has a timebank, so if you’re interested, we highly recommend checking it out!
  • Crop Swap Raglan – an excellent way to get locally grown, unpackaged produce for free! Just bring something you’ve made by your own hands to share. Having started in Taranaki, Crop Swap is really sweeping New Zealand, so it’s great to have one on your doorstep in Raglan.
  • Plastic Bag Free Raglan/Pēke Kirikou Kore Whāingaroa – if you’re into the reduction of plastic bags in our communities, Plastic Bag Free Raglan is leading the way. You may have heard that, thanks to their efforts, Raglan’s Four Square has become the first in the country to go plastic bag free. Plastic Bag Free Raglan has also been working to produce beautiful, upcycled cloth bags for the community to use instead of plastic bags. You can get these around Raglan, including at the Whāingaroa Environment Centre. If you’re interested in being involved in sewing some of these bags, then you can join Plastic Bag Free Raglan’s sewing group, Bag It Raglan, which meets fortnightly to sew bags.
  • Para Kore – Para Kore is an amazing organisation working with marae, kura and Māori institutions and businesses to transition towards zero waste. Their resources/services are free and their regional kaiārahi are totally fabulous. Para Kore’s national headquarters are located in Raglan, which is also home to the organisation’s General Manager, Jacqui Forbes. Para Kore’s Kaiārahi for Waikato, Hauraki, Maniapoto and Raukawa is Cheri van Schravendijk-Goodman – if you’re keen for some awhi with waste reduction, she’d be stoked to hear from you 🙂


2 thoughts on “Zero Waste in Hamilton City and the Waikato District (including Whāingaroa/Raglan)”

  • Hi guys 🙂 Great guide, thanks so much I’ll save it for future reference.
    Keeping in the Hamilton East area, the Bakers Delight in Clyde St mall (near Bin Inn Ham East) is happy to put sliced bread in your own bag if you want. They did look at me a bit funny when I requested it but were happy to do so.
    Also, for people who eat meat, the deli and butchery at Pak N Save Mill Street have been willing to put items into my own containers to save the soft plastics there as well.

    • Thanks for this Leah! We will add these tips in – sliced bread into a BYO bag is a great discovery!

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