This guide covers Waipa and Matamata-Piako districts only. For other districts in the Waikato Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Waikato Region 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 Narrativ, 65 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu (metal and ceramic); Ash Store/The Colab Store, 45 Alexandra St, Te Awamutu; Red Kitchen, 51 Mahoe Street, Te Awamutu; Leven, 33 Empire Street, Cambridge (metal); Fox & Co., 9 Albert Street, Cambridge; Simply Divine Kitchen, 5 Empire Street, Cambridge; Rumour, corner of Duke and Victoria Streets, Cambridge; Kodak & Black, 58 Arawa Street, Matamata; and Gifted, 34 Arawa Street, Matamata (metal).
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in these districts:
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 100% cotton produce and/or bulk bin bags at Narrativ, 65 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu; Leven, 33 Empire Street, Cambridge; FreshChoice Leamington, 46 Burns Street, Cambridge; ILuv Asian Store, 87 Arawa Street, Matamata; New World Matamata, 45 Waharoa Road East, Matamata; and Thames Street Pantry, 258 Thames Street, Morrinsville. Also, Fill Good, 29a Victoria Street, Cambridge; Vege Fresh, 35 Victoria Street, Cambridge; and Forage, 21 Empire Street, Cambridge both stock locally made produce bags out of second hand nets/fabric off-cuts by local groups such as Plastic Bag Free/Boomerang Bags Cambridge.
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 various stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at Narrativ, 65 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu; and Thames Street Pantry, 258 Thames Street, Morrinsville.
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 Narrativ, 65 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu (metal and silicone); Ash Store/The Colab Store, 45 Alexandra St, Te Awamutu; Fill Good, 29a Victoria Street, Cambridge; Forage, 21 Empire Street, Cambridge; Gifted, 34 Arawa Street, Matamata; and Thames Street Pantry, 258 Thames Street, Morrinsville.
The following stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers!
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Narrativ, 65 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu; Bin Inn Te Awamutu, 170/13 George Street, Te Awamutu; Forage, 21 Empire Street, Cambridge; Hus Design Store, 20 Empire Street, Cambridge; Simply Divine Kitchen, 5 Empire Street, Cambridge; and Thames Street Pantry, 258 Thames Street, Morrinsville.
You can also get handleless natural fibre veggie brushes (that can make good dish scrubbers) at Narrativ, 65 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu; Fox & Co., 9 Albert Street, Cambridge; Hus Design Store, 20 Empire Street, Cambridge; Forage, 21 Empire Street, Cambridge; and Thames Street Pantry, 258 Thames Street, Morrinsville.
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:
It’s easy to get soap without packaging in these districts. The following stores sell totally naked 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!
Avoid plastic shavers that are designed to be disposable and go for 100% metal razors that will last you decades and only require the 100% metal and recyclable blades to be replaced (or sharpened with a leather strop!), and remember to use a bar of shaving soap instead of shaving foam that comes in an aerosol can (see above) – note, you’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. You can get razors, blades, shaving brushes AND Global Soap shower/shampoo/shaving bars at Narrativ, 65 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu; and Wayne’s, 66 Victoria Street, Cambridge. You can get just shaving brushes at Hus Design Store, 20 Empire Street, Cambridge (and shaving soap bars to go with it); Leven, 33 Empire Street, Cambridge; Life Pharmacy Matamata, 54 Arawa Street, Matamata.
The following stores sell liquid toiletries on tap for refill (BYO bottles!):