This guide covers Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts only. For other parts of the Manawatū-Whanganui region please refer to the Zero Waste in the Manawatū-Whanganui 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. 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!
Whanganui listings appear first; Ruapehu District specific listings are at the bottom of each section.
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!
- Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk bins/unpackaged (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, legumes, flours, dried fruit, sundried tomatoes and pasta), a range of spices, sweets, treats and snacks, and several liquid foods like vinegars, oils, syrups, honeys etc. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! All Bin Inns across the country offer a 5% discount if you bring your own bags and containers, and you can ask for a loyalty stamp card to reward your repeat visits.
- Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui – much like a Bin Inn, this store stocks a huge range of bulk bins full of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, flours, sugars, baking ingredients, beans/legumes, spices, sweets, baking soda, and even pet food. Also provides bulk liquid foods such as sauces, jams, oils, vinegars, and syrups, and even has a peanut butter extruder.
- Geeta’s Spices & Veggies, 69 Guyton Street, Whanganui – centrally located Indian grocery store which offers a wide range of unpackaged dried food in bulk, including grains, flours, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruit, flours, lots of spices and baking ingredients.
- Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui – for such a small space, this organic store has one of the most extensive ranges of unpackaged bulk foods of any such store we have seen! In bulk bins, they stock nuts, flours, grains, beans/legumes, spices, dried fruit, sugars & powders, cocoa powder, seeds, even dried edible seaweed (and more!).
- Best Choice, 188 Victoria Ave, Whanganui – a good range of unpackaged dry goods in bulk, including flours, nuts, seeds, legumes and spices.
- Whanganui Spice (old Moshim’s), 90-92 Puriri Street, Whanganui – this Indian grocery store stocks a range of bulk bins with spices, beans, grains, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. They also sell pickles and pastes packed in store – be sure to ask if you can get some in your own container.
- Canaan Honey, 176 Mosston Road, Westmere – BYO jar/container to fill with fresh honey!
- Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk bins/unpackaged (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, legumes, flours, dried fruit and pasta), a range of spices, sweets, treats and snacks, and several liquid foods like vinegars, oils, syrups, honeys etc. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar!
- Buy the Gram, 55 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui – fresh, locally made muesli. Just find out when a batch has been made so that you can head over with your cereal box/container and have it filled directly, no packaging needed!
The following stores sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods and are happy to put your unwrapped purchases straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
- Dublin St Butchery, 47B Dublin Street, Whanganui – accepts BYO containers for the unpackaged items, which is mostly boil up bones
- Ocean Fisheries, 402 Victoria Ave, Whanganui
- Georges Fisheries, 40 Victoria Ave, Whanganui
- Golden Kiwi Takeaways, 2 Marae Street, Taumarunui – sells fresh whole, filleted and smoked (salmon) fish, cooked mussels, clams and bacon bones unpackaged, which you can put into your own container.
- Unpackaged live mussels – some stores 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 Taumarunui.
- 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. It’s always worth asking though!
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).
- SourBros Bakery – this delish bread is available totally unpackaged at The River Traders Market, Moutoa Quay, Whanganui.
- Back Door Bakery, Raetihi – artisan European bakery near Raetihi. If you get in touch either on Facebook or call Helle on 022 435 5303, I’m sure you could arrange a pick up that doesn’t involve her pre-packaging your bread.
- Taumarunui Bakery, 53 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui – some loaves, buns and baguettes are sold unpackaged, bring you bread bag 😉
- 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, locally grown, high quality produce, farmers markets and community markets are the place to frequent! Just remember to BYO bags/containers. 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. For example, many market stallholders who do package in things like glass jars tend to be happy to take back empty jars for sterilisation and refill, so it’s always worth asking! The River Traders Market, Moutoa Quay, Whanganui is wonderful – as well as plenty of packaging-free greens, fruits and veges, we also found beautiful unpackaged bread (by SourBros), sauerkraut in glass jars (byo jar), lots of sweets + cakes + slices unpackaged, and even unpackaged pet food at this awesome market!
- Low waste chocolate – get chocolate from bulk jars into BYO containers at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui. Also, chocolate by Trade Aid and Loving Earth comes in packaging that is compostable in a home compost! Trade Aid chocolate is available at New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave, and Loving Earth chocolate is available at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui.
- Ceres Organics Raw Goodness Bars – come in Econic home compostable packaging and are available at New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave, Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui.
- Thistle Sweet Shop, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui – sells lots of unpackaged sweets, choc truffles, fudge – just BYO bags and containers!
- 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. Havoc Coffee Roasting, 73 Westmere Station Road RD1, will happily fill your own bag/container with unpackaged beans – you can either visit the roastery, or you can find them at the River Traders Market. In Ruapehu you can get locally roasted Volcano Coffee into your own jar at The Craft Haus, Ōhākune Railway Station, 27 Thames Street, Ōhākune; or get yourself Kōkako coffee beans into your own jar from Kai Nui, 24 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui – these beans are packaged in Econic home compostable packaging, and Courtney takes these home to be composted – yay! Alternatively, you can get unpackaged coffee beans from Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui, Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui (both stores also have a grinder), New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave, and Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui (also has a grinder). Unfortunately, we can’t say whether any of this coffee is fair trade.
- Teas – Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui has a great selection of unpackaged loose-leaf teas (you can have a BYO jar/container weighed before filling with tea straight into it). Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui sells standard black tea both in tea bags and loose-leaf (we recommend going for loose-leaf where possible because tea bags generally have plastic in them). Also, bog-standard Bell loose leaf black tea is packaged only in cardboard and paper, which are recyclable and compostable. You can buy Bell loose leaf tea at most supermarkets, including New World Ōhākune and New World Taumarunui.
- Milk – You can get unpackaged, fresh, local, raw milk from Okoia Valley Milk, 723 No 3 Line, Whanganui! They’ve got a vending machine at their farm gate, allowing you to put the milk straight into BYO bottles OR you can make a one-off purchase for a reusable glass bottle that you can refill over and over at the machine. Alternatively, you can make up your own using milk powder from the bulk bins at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue; or in Ruapehu district at Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Other – Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui sells a range of drinks in bulk, like drinking chocolate and even soda syrups. You can find Kokako drinking chocolate (which comes in Econic home-compostable packaging) at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Ave, Whanganui.
KITCHEN/FOOD PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable stainless steel water bottles at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave, Whanganui, and at Peppatree, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune.
There are also a range of reusable takeaway coffee cups available at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave, Whanganui; in Ruapehu district, find Moana Road stainless steel cups at Peppatree, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune, the Keep Cup brand at The Craft Haus, Ōhākune Railway Station, 27 Thames Street, Ōhākune, and the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at Kai Nui, 24 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui and Unichem Pharmacy, 93 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
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. Check out the wonderful reusable shopping bags made by Plastic Bag Free Whanganui that are available all around Whanganui, and drop them a line to help you in the hunt for all your reusable bag needs 😉 also get Rethink 100% organic cotton produce bags at New World Ōhākune, and New World Taumarunui. Also if you’re looking for a reusable wet bag (for either togs or picking watercress) tōu can get them from SweetPea Cafe, 21 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune
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 Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui, Springvale Garden Centre, 18 Devon Road, Whanganui, and Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Street, Whanganui. In Ruapehu get them from Peppatree, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wrap – available at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Street, Whanganui, and The River Traders Market, Moutoa Quay, Whanganui. In Ruapehu you can get some from SweetPea Cafe, 21 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune, and two varieties (including one locally made) at Buy the Gram, 55 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui. However, it’s much cheaper to make your own beeswax wraps! Look out for fabric offcuts and fat quarters from second hand stores, or fabric shops like Whanganui Home Sewing Centre, 165 Victoria Ave, Whanganui. You’ll also need beeswax, so keep an eye for some that is unpackaged – we saw some at The River Traders Market. You could also ask Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue if they’d consider not putting their blocks of beeswax into plastic bags.
- Reusable washable sandwich/lunch pouches – both pouches and wraps by Neekz Creatz available at SweetPea Cafe, 21 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune.
- 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 Petré House, 56 Victoria Ave, Whanganui.
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui; and at Buy the Gram, 55 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui. Alternatively, you can use home compostable veggie brushes as a handle-less dishbrush. These are available at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue.
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 100% cotton + cellulose dishcloth sponges (home compostable at the end of their life) which are available at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave, Whanganui and Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, Whanganui though unfortunately both stores stock brands they are wrapped in plastic, doh!
- 100% linen cloths that can be used as dishcloths are sold at Unichem Ruapehu Pharmacy, 23 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune.
- 100% cotton cloths (made as facecloths but can be used as dishcloths) are available at Unichem Pharmacy, 93 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui, and Four Square Taumarunui, 97 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Find the Bianca Lorrene 100% cotton washcloths that can be used as dishcloths at Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, Whanganui
- If you want to try your hand at knitting or crocheting your own dishcloth, we’d recommend getting organic cotton, which you can buy at Crucci Magic, 61 Victoria Ave, Whanganui or Garney Spooner Wool Shop, 93 Guyton Street, Whanganui.
Refills of cleaning products
- Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue and Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui; as well as Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui, all stock a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients that you can fill your own bottles and containers with.
- Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powders come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get both at New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave, Whanganui, and just Eco Planet at New World Taumarunui.
- Alternatives to plastic clothes pegs – get bamboo clothes pegs with a metal spring mechanism at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue. Get stainless steel pegs from Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Street, Whanganui.
Ingredients for DIY cleaning products
- Baking soda – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue; Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui; Geeta’s Spices & Veggies, 69 Guyton Street, Whanganui; Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui; Whanganui Spice (old Moshim’s), 90-92 Puriri Street, Whanganui; and Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Vinegar – available unpackaged in bulk dispensers (BYO bottle) at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue; and Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Washing soda & soda ash – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue; and Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Borax – available at Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui
- 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 castille soap at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue and Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui.
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 Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Ave, Whanganui and Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Ave. In Ruapehu district, get them from New World Ōhākune, 12 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune, New World Taumarunui, or rather more expensive ones at Unichem Pharmacy, 93 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Dental Floss – most Countdown Supermarkets in NZ stock Do Gooder floss, which comes in a refillable glass tube with a screw on metal lid. The WHITE floss is made of 100% silk and is home compostable (the black floss has polyester in it so is landfill only). When you run out of the floss, no need to get a new dispenser, you can get refills of the floss in a cardboard box direct from Do Gooder.
Unpackaged Bars of Soap
The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui
- Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui
- Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, Whanganui
- Victoria’s Treasures, 42 Victoria Ave, Whanganui
- Bamboo on the Quay, 35 Taupo Quay, Whanganui
- The Burrow, 45 Taupo Quay, Whanganui
- Springvale Garden Centre, 18 Devon Road, Whanganui
- Eleonora, 149 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui
- The River Traders Market, Moutoa Quay, Whanganui
- Cornercopia, 31-33 Clyde Street, Ōhākune
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 of shampoo bars, conditioner bars, shaving bars, deodorant bars, moisturiser bars, etc. (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging) are available at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Street, Whanganui.
- Dirty Hippie shampoo bars and conditioner bars are available at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue
- Get Ruapehu made deodorants, balms and other body care products by Sublime at The Craft Haus, Ōhākune Railway Station, 27 Thames Street, Ōhākune.
Reusable Menstrual Products
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. Menstrual cups are sold at New World Ōhākune, 12 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune, and Unichem Pharmacy, 93 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Home compostable cotton buds – available at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui, Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, and New World Ōhākune, 12 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune
- Cloth Nappy Starter Packs – Ruapehu District Council subsidises cloth nappy starter packs for residents of the district – get $100 worth of cloth nappy products for only $20!
- Ingredients for homemade cosmetics/toiletries
- Baking Soda is an essential ingredient in lots of homemade toiletries such as toothpaste and deodorant. You can get it unpackaged in bulk from Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue; Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui; Geeta’s Spices & Veggies, 69 Guyton Street, Whanganui; Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui; Whanganui Spice (old Moshim’s), 90-92 Puriri Street, Whanganui; and Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
- Epsom Salts available in bulk bins at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Ave; and at Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
COMMUNITY GROUPS, SUPPORTIVE NETWORKS AND HELP WITH TRICKY WASTE STREAMS
Reuse and Recycle
- Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre (WRRC), 79-81 Maria Place – as well as being the location for Sustainable Whanganui and its many offerings (see below), the WRRC provides an extensive recycling drop-off station. As well as everyday recyclables like glass, metal, paper, cardboard and plastics, you can also drop-off tyres, waste oil, e-waste (including vehicle batteries), clothing and whiteware for recycling or safe disposal. Green waste is also accepted here and the centre is currently investigating options to get it composted. The WRRC was made possible by a fantastic collaboration between Tupoho Whanau Trust, Whanganui District Council and Sustainable Whanganui.
- Sustainable Whanganui, 83 Maria Place – Whanganui’s ‘all-purpose’ environment centre provides a diverse array of services, workshops and facilities to help the community become more sustainable and resilient. Some of their flagship projects are the Reuse Academy, where valuable materials that might have otherwise gone to landfill are rescued donated and (you guessed it) reused or passed on for all sorts of purposes. Some of the things they collect and use are textiles, jars, broken crockery for mosaics, and a range of things for arts and crafts. Some of Sustainable Whanganui’s other projects include planting fruit trees in schools, helping events to achieve zero waste, and the Green Bikes bicycle repair workshop which rescues and reconditions discarded bikes (as well as supporting members of the community to learn basic bike maintenance).
- The Koha Shed, 88 Duncan Street, Whanganui – this amazing community asset provides support to those in need in all manner of ways. It is a space where household items are donated and then given away, where a thriving garden produces fresh veges for the community as well as an opportunity for people to learn a thing or two about growing food (a great way to get kai without packaging!), and where people in tough situations can find support and a helping hand. The Koha Shed’s offerings help to mitigate wasteful consumption through sharing resources. It is community-led and ever-expanding, so keep an eye on their upcoming projects, and get involved as a volunteer, or even just pay them a visit!
Zero Waste Information and Support Networks
- Plastic Bag Free Whanganui – a group committed to reducing plastic usage in Whanganui, including coordinating the sewing of reusable bags and sharing information about low-waste living online and at local markets.
- 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 Whanganui and Ruapehu are Aroha Beckham and Amoa Hawira, respectively… Get in touch, they’d love to hear from you! 🙂
Share and Exchange
- Toy Libraries – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys and save money by joining a toy library! Check out this list of the closest near you, including Whanganui Toy Library, 142 London Street.
- Sharing Sheds/Community Fruit and Veg Stands – these are stands/shelves in the community where anyone can drop off excess fruit and veg from their garden, and anyone is free to take what’s there, free of charge. The wonderful art of sharing means that excess produce doesn’t go to waste. Furthermore, items can be shared without excessive amounts of packaging. These are popping up around the country; Free Food has produced a searchable inventory to help you find the closest to you!
Skills and Resourcefulness in Communities
- Heritage Food Crops Research Trust, 126A Springvale Road, Whanganui – a treasure in Whanganui, run by the incredible Mark Christensen, researching the beneficial, health-giving properties of various strains of heritage crops. You can volunteer at the trust, to help Mark raise and grow the seedlings he tests. But ALSO because Mark is so keen for more and more people to plant and use these crops (because they are so good for us all!) if you would like to have any heritage seeds from Heritage Food Crops Research Trust, all you need to do is ask and you can have them for free (yes, really). Give Mark a call, or call in, or send a pre-paid and pre-addressed envelope with your seed requests. Planting and growing these crops at home or in your community garden means more food that you can get without the packaging!
- Menzshed – provides a great opportunity for men of all ages to share tools and a workspace (reducing the wasteful overduplication of these resources) and to pass on skills of woodworking and other trades. Menzsheds all round the country frequently offer communities the service of repairing broken items like furniture (at a small cost), and also creating bespoke items for community and charitable purposes – so definitely look up your local!