Zero Waste in Whanganui & Ruapehu Districts

Zero Waste in Whanganui & Ruapehu Districts

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.


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Our heartfelt gratitude to Sugarcube Studios, the creators of EcoSpot, for bringing our guides to life – designing a map for us and creating such joyful imagery to go with it!


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!

  • 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 Barn149A 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!).  They also stock unpackaged chocolate in bulk dispensers, yus!
  • 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.
  • Thistle Sweet Shop, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui – sells lots of unpackaged sweets, choc truffles, fudge – just BYO bags and containers!
  • Canaan Honey, 176 Mosston Road, Westmere – BYO jar/container to fill with fresh honey!
  • Volcano Vibe Collective, 43 Seddon Street, Raetihi – a collective space to showcase local art, run workshops and also sell organic produce. The store stocks lots of unpackaged herbs and spices in bulk dispensers – BYO jars!
  • 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 shops sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods and will happily put these 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.
  • Supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering unpackaged meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more. All Countdown, New World and PAK’nSAVE supermarkets officially allow you to BYO container for these goods!


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).

  • 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 – No two ways about it, if you want a good source of unpackaged (often locally grown) produce, markets are the place to go! At most markets you can meet the grower/producer face-to-face, making them an ideal place to start fruitful conversations about waste-free food, and to develop relationships and systems that enable you to get your favourite fruit, vege and preserves without the packaging. At markets you may also find local producers of pre-made foods like tofu, preserves and sauces etc. 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. 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! Another market to check out is the Little Barrow Market in Ōhākune, held on Saturdays in the winter time on Goldfinch Street.


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 coffee in other stores. Here are the spots we found:

  • Havoc Coffee Roasting, 73 Westmere Station Road RD1, Whanganui – you can either visit the roastery or find them at the River Traders Market (where they also sell unpackaged beans, yus!)
  • Volcano Coffee, another roaster located at The Craft Haus, Ōhākune Railway Station, 27 Thames Street, Ōhākune
  • Get yourself Kōkako coffee beans into your own jar from Kai Nui, 24 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui. 
  • Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui (coffee beans in bulk bin + in-store grinder)
  • Bulk Barn, 149A Somme Parade, Whanganui (coffee beans in bulk bin + in-store grinder)
  • New World Whanganui, 374 Victoria Ave (coffee beans in bulk dispensers)
  • Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui (+ in-store grinder). 


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:

  • Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui – a great selection of unpackaged loose-leaf teas (you can have a BYO jar/container weighed before filling with tea straight into it). 
  • Bulk Barn149A Somme Parade, Whanganui – standard black tea in bulk bins – both in tea bags and loose-leaf (we recommend going for loose-leaf).
  • Volcano Vibe Collective, 43 Seddon Street, Raetihi – stocks unpackaged herbal teas in bulk dispensers – BYO jars!
  • Bell loose leaf black tea is packaged only in cardboard and paper (no plastic). You can buy Bell loose leaf tea at most supermarkets, including New World Ōhākune and New World Taumarunui.


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:

  • Milk on tap or from a vending machine – raw milk is available on tap/from a vending machine at Okoia Valley Milk, 723 No 3 Line, Whanganui. Simply BYO bottle to fill up, or purchase a reusable glass bottle there that you can then refill on future occasions.
  • Milk powder in bulk bins – available at Bin Inn Whanganui, 200a Victoria Avenue; or in Ruapehu district at Max Save, 79 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.


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:

  • Uh-oh! We found no beer on tap! Anyone know somewhere?!?

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).


  • Bulk Barn149A Somme Parade, Whanganui sells a range of drinks in bulk dispensers, like drinking chocolate and even soda syrups.


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 stainless steel water bottles at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave, Whanganui, and at Strange Dog, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune.

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

  • A range of reusable takeaway coffee cups available at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave, Whanganui
  • Moana Rd stainless steel cups at Strange Dog, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune
  • The Keep Cup brand at The Craft Haus, Ōhākune Railway Station, 27 Thames Street, Ōhākune or New World Ōhākune.
  • The NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at Kai Nui, 24 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui and Unichem Pharmacy, 93 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
  • The NZ-made Ideal Cup at Angel Louise Cafe, 48 Seddon Street, Raetihi.

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.

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 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 Strange Dog, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune or New World Ōhākune.

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

  • Beeswax wrap 
    • Purchase 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 New World Ōhākune, and two varieties (including one locally made) at Buy the Gram, 55 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
    • DIY – waaaay cheaper! 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 unpackaged beeswax – 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.
  • 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.


Refills of cleaning products

The following stores stock a range of liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers that you can fill your own bottles/containers with:

  • 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.

Low-waste dishwashing

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 Originals55a 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.

Laundry

  • 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 Barn149A 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; and Unichem Taumarunui, 93 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
  • 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.
  • Parry’s Soap kawakawa soap bar stocked at Cornercopia, 31-33 Clyde Street, Ōhākune, is a great shampoo bar 

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.

Shaving

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 (available at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Street, Whanganui, but also most pharmacies). Most barbers and hairdressers can get razors and replacement blades, so just ask your local. 

Ingredients for DIY toiletries/cosmetics

  • 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 Barn149A 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.

Other

  • 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!


Reuse and Recycle

  • Food waste and composting – food waste in a bin gets sent to landfill where it breaks down anaerobically, producing methane (a potent greenhouse gas). No! In Raetihi, the community garden has a community compost bin that anyone can drop household food scraps to – yay!
  • 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 Shed88 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

  • Community gardens/urban planting – community gardens are an excellent way for residents to get kai without packaging, and to learn skills of growing food and setting up composts – both very useful skills for low-waste living. If you live in Raetihi, you’re in luck because the Raetihi Community Garden is flourishing! Community gardens are always looking for volunteers to help out and come along to working bees, so if you are interested in picking up gardening skills, or if you are already a keen gardener and would like to have the opportunity to share your skill with others, consider getting involved with your local community garden.
  • 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!



4 thoughts on “Zero Waste in Whanganui & Ruapehu Districts”

  • Hiya, I’m a big fan of the work you do and live in the slightly zero-waste-shopping-difficult Ruapehu region and have found this incredibly helpful so thought I would just add some updates!

    Firstly, the Unichem in Taumarunui now stock a pretty decently comprehensive range of Ethique products which is awesome!
    The New World in Ohakune stock the ‘Only Good’ range of plastic packaging free soap, one of which can also be used as shampoo.
    I know that you have noted that Cornacopia in Ohakune stock “Parry’s soap”- a packaging free soap, but its helpful to know that the Kawakawa soap is also a great shampoo bar!

    Pepper tree in Ohakune is under new ownership, they are now called “Strange Dog” but still have a good range of low waste gift ware!
    Unfortunately Sweet Pea Cafe closed down, but Angel Louise Cafe in Raetihi are stockist of the ‘ideal cups’ and also leave their coffee grinds outside the store everyday for anyone to take.

    They also now sell beeswax wraps and metal straws and keep cups at the New World in Ohakune.

    The Raetihi Community gardens have been flourishing, organic produce that anyone in the community is free to take if they need it. The gardens have also got a community compost bin, so any compostable food waste can go there!

    Volcano Vibe Collective is a new initiative that’s just opened in Raetihi, they have lots of Zero Waste local herbs, teas and medicinal plants and lot’s of knowledge about what to do with them!

    The Little Barrow Markets in Ohakune is a new winter market held every Saturday during the ski season at Christie Park, and has great local produce and products and almost all of the stuff I’ve seen has sustainable packaging and a good sustainable kaupapa.

    I hope some of this was helpful, thank you so much for the work you do!

    • Woah! Thanks so much Lauren for all these tips!! We are so appreciative – this is really helpful for us. And great to read that the Raetihi Community Gardens have been flourishing and even have a community compost now. Also, the Volcano Vibe Collective and Little Barrow Market both sound like very cool developments. We’ve updated the guide with this info. Thank you for taking the time to share these new things with us and helping us to keep the guide up to date 🙂 – H and L

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