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.
Lots of pantry staples – from flours, grains and rice, through to condiments, spices, legumes, nuts, seeds and liquid foods – usually come in single-use packets. These shops stock all manner of pantry foods loose in bulk bins (or operate return & refill systems for their packaging), allowing you to put these goods straight into your own bags, jars, containers and bottles, and skip the packaging!
The following shops sell unpackaged meat, sausages, smallgoods, seafood, cheese and/or deli foods and will happily put these straight into a BYO container – woohoo!
The following stores bake and sell unpackaged bread and bakery goods (in some of these stores some items might be pre-packed or wrapped in cling film, just avoid those things!). Simply BYO bread bag to put the bread/bakery goods into. Some places will bag up their bread later in the day, so you want to get in there before they do that (i.e. before 1pm).
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 Gernanium Bakery), sauerkraut in glass jars (byo jar), honey in bulk (BYO jar!), apple cider vinegar on tap (BYO bottles!), 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:
We avoid teabags as most have plastic in them, which we don’t want in our tea or our soil. Using loose leaf tea is an easy way to get around this. The trick is to find somewhere that sells loose leaf tea packaging-free, so you can put the leaves straight into BYO jars/containers! You’ll find loose tea leaves in bulk dispensers at:
Sourcing cow’s milk without the plastic bottles or non-dairy milk without the dreaded Tetra-pak is no mean feat! We’ve found the following options:
Look out for places that sell beer on tap and BYO bottles/flagons to fill up. Breweries are awesome, but lots of liquor stores offer this option too! We found beer on tap at:
Also, don’t forget that most liquor stores do ‘swappa crates’ of beer – i.e. crates of twelve 745ml bottles of classic NZ beer (e.g. Lion Red/Brown, Speights, Tui, Export Gold etc.) which can be returned (when the bottles are empty) and are then sent back to the brewery for sterilisation and refill (a better outcome for glass bottles than recycling because reusing the same bottle over and over requires way less energy and resources than recycling).
Say “no more” to disposable takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles by getting yourself reusables instead! Get reusable water bottles at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave, Whanganui; Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, Whanganui; Steven’s, 88 Sainthill Street, Whanganui; and at Strange Dog, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups:
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 100% organic cotton produce, bulk bin and/or string bags at Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Ave, Whanganui; Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, Whanganui; Steven’s, 88 Sainthill Street, Whanganui; Bamboo on the Quay, 35 Taupo Quay, Whanganui; New World Ōhākune, 12 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune and New World Taumarunui, 10 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.
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; Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, Whanganui; Bamboo on the Quay, 35 Taupo Quay, Whanganui; Springvale Garden Centre, 18 Devon Road, Whanganui; Steven’s, 88 Sainthill Street, Whanganui; and Blank Kanvas Concepts, 181a Victoria Street, Whanganui. In Ruapehu get them from Strange Dog, 45 Clyde Street, Ōhākune or New World Ōhākune, 12 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune.
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:
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Wild Oats, 136 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui; Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, 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, Whanganui; Ruby and French, 57a Victoria Avenue, Whanganui; and Country Lane Originals, 55a Victoria Ave, Whanganui
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:
The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
We’d encourage you to get your everyday toiletries – from shampoo through to shaving soap – in bar form, which means you totally avoid the plastic/aluminium bottles that liquid products usually come in!
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. Menstrual cups are sold at Countdown Whanganui, corner Taupo Quay and Wilson Street, Whanganui; Countdown Victoria Ave, 433 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui; Pharmacy 145 on Victoria, 145 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui; New World Ōhākune, 12 Goldfinch Street, Ōhākune, and Unichem Pharmacy, 93 Hakiaha Street, Taumarunui.