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)
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!
- Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, Wanaka – this store stocks a range of herbs and spices loose/in bulk behind the counter, and a small range of grains, flours, seeds and legumes you can have put into your own bags/containers/jars. You can also get refills of oils, vinegars, tahini, tamari and almond butter in your own bottle/jar. The rest of the dried organic wholefoods that the store buys in bulk are still repacked, and mostly into brown paper bags that are lined with plastic (i.e. landfill only). It’s great the store is doing what they can, and hopefully they will expand the range of bulk options (if there’s something in particular that you’d really like to see, you could ask them (nicely!) if there’s a chance of them stocking it in bulk in future). The store also stocks Holy Cow yoghurt, cream and ghee (also milk, see below) which comes in glass jars that are reusable (you pay a little extra the first time you buy the product, which is a bottle/jar deposit, you then bring your empties back to Wholefood Haven and they get returned to Holy Cow for sterilisation and reuse! You either get the deposit back or simply don’t need to pay it again when you buy your next full jar!)
- 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! 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 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 ‘eco’ bags that are lined with PLA which, though theoretically compostable, is not home compostable, so not much use!
- Supermarkets – major supermarkets usually 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 options at organic stores.
Places that sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods who will happily put your unwrapped purchases straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
- The Butcher’s Block & Smokehouse, 33 Reece Crescent, Wanaka – this butcher is happy to put unpackaged meat from the deli into BYO containers – woo!
- Mediterranean Market, 20 Ardmore Street, Wanaka – 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.
- 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 New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street, Wanaka.
- Try your luck with 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. Some supermarkets will allow you to BYO container for these goods, while others won’t. It can be hit and miss, often depending on the staff member you talk to. For example, New World and PAK’nSAVE supermarkets have a flexible franchise model which means they can usually make their own in store decisions about whether to allow BYO containers or not, whereas pretty much any Countdown will not accept BYO containers. It’s always worth asking though!
- Bostock’s chicken – Bostock’s cuts of chicken are now packaged in Econic home compostable packaging. You can find it at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street and Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street.
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).
- Adam & Eves, 54 Reece Crescent, Wanaka
- The People’s Bread Co. – sell their delicious loaves of bread unpackaged (BYO bag!) at the Wanaka Artisan Market, every Thursday from 3pm-6pm
- 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
- 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!)
- Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s entire chocolate range comes in Econic home compostable packaging! Their 2kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable also. You can get the chocolate and sugar from New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street, Wanaka; or just the chocolate from Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, Wanaka; and Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, Wanaka.
- Other pre-made food in home compostable packaging – Loving Earth chocolate comes in home compostable packaging and you can find it at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, Wanaka; and Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, Wanaka.
- 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. Local microroaster See Crow Fly does home deliveries of their yummy coffee and they are happy to use your own containers to deliver to you in!! So just get in touch with them to organise zero waste coffee to your doorstep 😀 The other 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, so it may not work for you. If you want to give it a go, then you can find the 200g bags of Venus Coffee 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.
- Milk (and other dairy too!) – how to get milk that isn’t in plastic bottles, or single use glass bottles…? There’s now an answer in Wanaka! At Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, you can get Holy Cow milk, yoghurt and cream in reusable glass bottles. The idea is that when you buy your first bottle you pay a bit extra to cover the cost of the bottle. After that, each time you buy a new full bottle of milk, you return the previous empty bottle to the shop you bought the milk from (Wholefood Haven), and get your new full bottle for only the price of the milk. The empties are then returned to Holy Cow for sterilisation and reuse – so the bottles just go around and around – true zero waste!
- 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! 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.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Wanaka:
- Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at Originz, Pembroke Mall, 139 Ardmore Street, and Simply New Zealand, 3 Helwick Street.
- The glass Joco brand at Wonder Room, 80 Ardmore Street.
- The Zuperzozial brand is sold at Kitz Design, 35 Helwick Street; and The Central Store, 40 Reece Crescent
- The Oasis Eco Cup brand made with a bamboo fibre/plastic composite mix is sold at Kaleidoscope, 44 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 and bulk bin bags at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street, 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 or Wet-It! 100% cotton/cellulose dishcloths (which are home compostable at the end of their life) at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street and Gifted Design Store, 19 Helwick Street, respectively.
- You can also get the fancy Bianca Lorenne 100% cotton cloths at The Workroom, 75 Brownston Street.
- If you’re after a scourer, check out the 100% home compostable Safix coconut fibre scourers that are available at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street.
Refills of cleaning products
- 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)
- Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street – The store also stocks many cleaning products in bulk/on tap (i.e. you can fill up BYO jars/bottles), including refills of Ecostore dishwashing and laundry liquid, and Earthwise disinfectant, laundry liquid and laundry powder.
- Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powder both come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get one or the other (or both) from New World Wanaka, 20 Dunmore Street.
- Refills of various laundry liquids and powders are available at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street and Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street (see above).
- Non-plastic clothes pegs – Go Bamboo pegs available at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street.
Ingredients for DIY cleaning products
- Washing soda and epsom salts – Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street stocks unpackaged washing soda in bulk bins; epsom salts are sold in a brown paper bag at Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street.
- Bars of castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) – get bars of Dr Bronner’s castile soap at Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street and Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street.
Low Waste Dental Care
- Bamboo toothbrushes – 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
The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street – Ecostore and locally-made Bare Naked Soap (see below)
- 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
- Kaleidoscope, 44 Helwick Street
- Bare Naked Soap – locally made soap bars by Kirstin of Hawea Flat come bare naked! Find Kirstin and her gorgeous soaps at one of the local markets in the district, contact her through her website or FB to order and arrange a pick-up to save on postage waste 😉
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, Wholefood Haven, 24 Dungarvon Street, and Aspiring Pharmacy, 29 Helwick Street (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging).
- At Soul Food Organic, 74 Ardmore Street you can get Fair + Square facial cleansing soap and shampoo bars (which come packaged in home compostable cardboard), as well as Nature Body deodorant (which is packaged in a compostable cardboard tube) – both brands are NZ made (in Northland).
- Bare Naked Soap shampoo and facial cleansing bars – in her range of soaps, Kirstin also makes shampoo and special face cleansing bars, which of course come bare naked 😀 Find Kirstin and her gorgeous, low-waste soaps at one of the local markets in the district, or contact her through her website or FB to order and arrange a pick-up to save on postage waste 😉
Reusable Menstrual Products
There 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.
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 might want a shaving brush for application of the soap. 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.