This guide covers Wanaka & Hawea businesses only. For other parts of Queenstown-Lakes District or to read about district-wide council and community services, please refer to the Zero Waste in Queenstown-Lakes District homepage.
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.
FOOD OPTIONS (I.E. STORES THAT OFFER LOOSE ITEMS WHICH YOU CAN PUT, UNPACKAGED, INTO YOUR OWN BYO BAGS/CONTAINERS)
- Mediterranean Market, 20 Ardmore Street, Wanaka – sells a range of unpackaged/loose produce, including harder to find items such as peanuts and hazelnuts in shells, fresh medjool dates, and various greens (like lettuce, mesclun, rocket and baby spinach) – just BYO bags/containers! At the deli the staff are more than happy to put any of the deli food straight into your own container, from meats, to cheese off the round, through to antipasto. They’ve also got a bunch of oils on tap (local and imported olive oil, as well as soya and canola oil) – the first time that you buy any of the oils you will need to purchase one of Mediterranean Market’s empty bottles to put it in, but after that you can bring the same bottle back for refill, over and over.
- Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, Wanaka – sells herbs and spices loose/in bulk behind the counter (just BYO bag/jar to have them put into). Here, you can also get refills of local olive oil, vinegar and tamari in your own bottle. The store also stocks Loving Earth and Trade Aid chocolate (both of which come in home compostable packaging). The store buys in lots of dried organic wholefoods in bulk (from flours and grains through to nuts, seeds, dried fruit, sugars etc) but then repacks them all and they’re not currently willing to repack into BYO bags/containers, citing space issues. We recommend that you make it known that you’d like this option and hopefully it will be something that’s possible in the future, if enough people ask. In the meantime, note that the bigger bags that Soul Food repacks into (i.e. the ones WITHOUT the see-through window) are purely brown paper bags and so, although not zero waste, are at least home compostable. However, avoid the smaller bags they repack into (i.e. the ones with the little see-through window) – these are either lined with plastic (and so are neither recyclable nor compostable) or they are bags that claim to be ‘eco’, but these ‘eco’ ones are lined with PLA which, though theoretically compostable, is not home compostable, so not much use!
- Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, Wanaka – sells herbs and spices loose/in bulk behind the counter (just BYO jar to have them put into). Here, you can also get refills of oils, vinegars and tamari in your own bottle. The store also stocks Loving Earth and Trade Aid chocolate (both of which come in home compostable packaging). The store buys in lots of dried organic wholefoods in bulk (from flours and grains through to nuts, seeds, dried fruit, sugars etc) but then repacks them all and they’re not currently willing to repack into BYO bags/containers, citing space issues. We recommend that you make it known that you’d like this option and hopefully it will be something that’s possible in the future, if enough people ask. Please note that the bags that this store repacks into look like brown paper bags from the outside, but they are lined with plastic, making them neither recyclable nor compostable.
- The Butcher’s Block & Smokehouse, 33 Reece Crescent, Wanaka – this butcher is happy to put unpackaged meat from the deli into BYO containers – woo!
- Adam & Eves, 54 Reece Crescent, Wanaka – sells freshly-made unpackaged bread (just BYO bags!)
- New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street, Wanaka – as well as the usual pricey bulk bin/pick and mix section (BYO bags), they also have a ‘nude food’ misted produce section, unpackaged live mussels (which we put straight into upcycled ice cream containers rather than the plastic bags the store provides), and Trade Aid sugar and 100g chocolate blocks (which all come in home compostable packaging). You can also try your luck with BYO containers at the deli (for unpackaged meat, seafood, and other deli food – we’ve heard through the grapevine that others have had success doing this at this particular New World).
- Four Square Wanaka, 70 Ardmore Street, Wanaka – offers a small bulk/pick and mix section with things like nuts/snack foods (BYO bags).
- Wanaka Artisan Market, every Thursday from 3pm-6pm – there’s nothing like going along to your local market to find packaging-free food and also all kinds of other local creations (for even more links to local food, check out Local Food Wanaka). Shopping local is a great way to reduce waste because the food and goods don’t have to be packed up for travelling long distances and because you can have direct one-on-one conversations with the grower or producer, explaining that you don’t want their beautiful product in a packet, and brainstorming alternatives together (a kind of conversation/collaboration that is very difficult to have with a supermarket!!) For example, even if the seller has already packaged-up the goods, often you can ask to have them transferred to your own bag/container and have the seller keep their bag/container for reuse. Or ask the seller if they ever take back returned empties (whether glass jars for preserves or glass pottles for cosmetics/beauty products) for sterilisation and refill. Often the answer is yes, and you’ll also find that there are plenty of producers around Wanaka already offering low-waste options! A couple of stalls we spotted were The People’s Bread Co., who sell their delicious loaves of bread unpackaged (BYO bag!) and Revive Sparkling Water Kefir that encourage customers to bring back their empty bottles for sterilisation and refill (you’ll get a deposit back if you do this!)
- 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. Unfortunately there is nowhere in Wanaka that offers this option. The local coffee roaster, Venus Coffee, doesn’t have a shopfront for customers to come to the roastery with their own bags/containers for refilling. Instead they pre-pack their coffee and distribute it to retailers around town in various sized packets. Of these, their 200g bags are PLA-lined ‘compostable’ packaging. Although PLA is a plant-based plastic, it usually only breaks down in a commercial compost facility. But as this is really the only close-to-low-waste option for fresh coffee in Wanaka, you may want to give this packaging a go and see if you can get it to break down in your home compost. The 200g bags of Venus Coffee are sold at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street; Mediterranean Market, 20 Ardmore Street; Four Square Wanaka, 70 Ardmore Street; and New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street. If you’re into instant coffee, Trade Aid instant coffee comes in Econic home compostable packaging; it’s stocked at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street.
- Tea – most tea bags have plastic in them, so we encourage people to drink loose leaf teas. We’re always on the lookout for loose leaf teas that you can get unpackaged. Usually this is not very easy in New Zealand. However, it is easy in Wanaka! You can choose from a wide range of unpackaged/bulk loose leaf teas and have them put straight into your own bags/jars at both Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street; and Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street. YAY!
- Beer – look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. We found locally brewed craft beer on tap at Ground Up Brewing, 4 Gordon Road, and Rhyme & Reason Brewery, 17 Gordon Road. The local The Bottle-O Wanaka, 1 Ardmore Street, has a mix of craft and non-craft beer on tap, and Pembroke Wines and Spirits, 24 Dungarvon Street, sells Emerson’s beer on tap too. So grab some bottles, take them to your local and get amongst it! Or else, 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) so that the bottles can then be sterilised and reused (a better outcome for glass bottles than recycling because reusing the same bottle over and over requires way less energy and resources than recycling).
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! Find reusable takeaway coffee cups at Kitz Design, 35 Helwick Street, and The Central Store, 40 Reece Crescent (the Zuperzozial brand); Originz, Pembroke Mall, 139 Ardmore Street, and Simply New Zealand, 3 Helwick Street (the Cuppa Coffee Cup brand); Kaleidoscope, 44 Helwick Street (the Oasis Eco Cup brand made with a bamboo fibre/plastic composite mix), and Wonder Room, 80 Ardmore Street (the Joco brand). Get reusable metal water bottles at Kitz Design, 35 Helwick Street, Simply New Zealand, 3 Helwick Street, Wonder Room, 80 Ardmore Street, The Central Store, 40 Reece Crescent, and Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street. Find reusable glass water bottles at Gifted Design Store, 19 Helwick Street.
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. Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street stocks Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes.
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 get yourself Rethink 100% organic cotton produce bags at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street or Sailz Lake General Store, 33 Cappell Avenue, Hawea.
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 metal straws that are MADE IN WANAKA from Metalworks Wanaka, 54 Ballantyne Road, Wanaka – the straws are even upcycled (made out of upcycled old food-grade stainless steel dairy pipes). You can also get metal straws from Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Reusable sandwich bags – Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, stocks the Munch brand. You can also find locally-made reusable snack bags at the Remarkabubz stall at the Wanaka Artisan Market.
- Beeswax wrap – find at Wonder Room, 80 Ardmore Street (the Munch brand), and Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street (the Nil brand, which is quite heavily packaged). You can also find locally-made beeswax wraps at the Remarkabubz stall at the Wanaka Artisan Market. NOTE: making your own beeswax wrap is much cheaper than buying it pre-made. To make it yourself you need to get natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. Wanaka Wastebusters, corner of Ballantyne Road and Riverbank Road, is a great spot to forage for offcuts of cotton fabric.
- Silicone pot/bowl covers – these covers form a vacuum seal over whatever pot/bowl/tray they’re placed over and they can withstand heat up to 220 degrees. So they’re 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. Find at Kaleidoscope, 44 Helwick Street, and in a range of different shapes and sizes at Kitz Design, 35 Helwick Street
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, who also stock Go Bamboo and Ecostore veggie brushes (which can also be used as a dish scrubber, and are both home compostable too). 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. Four Square Wanaka, 70 Ardmore Street, stocks the Budget brand 100% cotton dishcloth. You’ll find Spruce 100% cotton/cellulose dishcloths at Gifted Design Store, 19 Helwick Street (which are home compostable at the end of their life). You can also get the fancy Bianca Lorenne 100% cotton cloths at The Workroom, 75 Brownston Street.
- Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street – stocks bars of Dr Bronner’s castille soap which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here). The store also stocks many cleaning products in bulk/on tap (i.e. you can fill up BYO jars/bottles), including washing soda, refills of Ecostore dishwashing and laundry liquid, and Earthwise disinfectant. laundry liquid and laundry powder.
- Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street – stocks many Earthwise dishwashing and laundry liquid in bulk/on tap (so you can fill up your own bottles/jars), Epsom salts in 100% brown paper bag, and Go Bamboo pegs made from bamboo with a metal spring mechanism.
- New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street – stocks Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powders (which both come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining!).
- Low Waste Dental Care – Bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative to plastic toothbrushes because they have wooden, home compostable handles (bristles are still plastic and need to be removed from the handle and put in your rubbish bin). The Go Bamboo brand is stocked at New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street, Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, and Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street. You can get the Humble Brush brand at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, and Aspiring Pharmacy, 29 Helwick Street. The activated charcoal-infused Grin toothbrushes are stocked at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street.
- Unpackaged bars of Soap – find at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street (Ecostore and Bare Naked Soap), Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street (lots of types of unpackaged soaps, from locally made ones to Ecostore), Originz, Pembroke Mall, 139 Ardmore Street (fancy but cheap varieties), The Workroom, 75 Brownston Street (large olive oil soap cubes), and Kaleidoscope, 44 Helwick Street. You can also find unpackaged bars of soap at the Wanaka Artisan Market.
- Bars for Shampoo/Shaving/Deodorant/Moisturiser – While you can get refills of Ecostore shampoo, hand wash and body wash at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, 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! You can get the popular Ethique range of soap bars (including bars for shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and shaving) from Health 2000 Wanaka, 24 Helwick Street, and Aspiring Pharmacy, 29 Helwick Street (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging).
- Menstrual Cups/Washable Pads – these are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. You can buy both menstrual cups and washable pads at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street. You can also get menstrual cups at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, and New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street.
- Shaving – avoid plastic shavers that are designed to be disposable and go for 100% metal/stainless steel razors that will last you decades and only require the 100% metal and recyclable blades to be replaced (or sharpened with a leather strop!). Blade refills are usually sold in cardboard boxes (no plastic). Ask at Ali Barbers, 71 Ardmore Street if they can order you in a safety razor and blades (most barbers are happy to do this). And remember, when shaving, use a bar of shaving soap instead of shaving foam that comes in an aerosol can. You’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. You can get shaving brushes from Aspiring Pharmacy, 29 Helwick Street, and Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street.
- Toilet Paper – there are two brands we know of that package their toilet paper in home-compostable packaging – Smart Ass and Greencane. You can buy Greencane from Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street. Otherwise, both Smart Ass and Greencane toilet paper can be ordered online for delivery. The Central Store, 40 Reece Crescent, also stocks individual rolls of toilet paper wrapped only in home compostable paper.
- Cotton buds – find Go Bamboo home compostable cotton buds at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, and New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street.