This guide covers the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki districts only. For other districts in the Waikato Region, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Waikato Region post.
The Coromandel Peninsula (including the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki Districts) is stunningly beautiful and there is an energy in the community to keep it that way. Dotted around the peninsula are all kinds of businesses and initiatives seeking to support the local community to minimise waste, from Inspire Whangamatā and the Colville General Store, through to the Seagull Centre and The Goldmine. If you are interested in travelling around and learning about what communities are doing to minimise waste, you’ve certainly got options in this part of the country! For those living around Thames-Coromandel or Hauraki District, strategic shopping (that is, combining trips around the peninsula with zero waste purchases) can mean that it is possible to live with very little rubbish. It’s an exciting prospect and we got the feeling that low-waste businesses and community initiatives are on the rise.
For the meantime, here are some spots we came across, and loved. If we’ve missed anything that you know about, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or comment below, and we’ll add it in! 😀
Food options (i.e. stores that offer loose items which you can put, unpackaged, into your own BYO bags/containers)
- Bin Inn Thames, 707 Pollen St, Thames – offers a wide array of dried food in bulk (including, but not limited to, nuts, seeds, cereals, grains, flours, and legumes), a range of spices, liquid foods (including vinegars, oils and syrups), sweets and treats, and items essential for zero waste living, such as baking soda, salt and other specialty baking/cooking goods. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar! All Bin Inn stores around New Zealand are currently offering 5% discount when you bring your own containers!
- Thames Organic Shop, 736 Pollen St, Thames – stocks Trade Aid’s chocolate and coffee range which comes in home compostable packaging. Rather than having bulk bins, Thames Organic Shop repackages their bulk wholefoods into cellophane packaging, which is home compostable. However, they may be amenable to refilling your BYO bags/containers out the back, as they keep their bulk supplies on site. So just ask!
- Savour & Spice, The Depot, 715 Pollen St, Thames – this gorgeous spice store has a wide range of high quality spices and spice blends. The owner is happy to refill your containers with the spices, which are kept on site, so you can get your spices packaging free. For the spice blends, whether you can get refills of those depends on availability – if they’ve got some unpackaged out back then they’ll refill those too 🙂
- Bite Deli, The Depot, 715 Pollen St, Thames – this store stocks a range of delicatessen meat, cheese and treats products which they will happily put in your BYO bags/containers.
- The Coromandel Smoking Co., 70 Tiki Road, Coromandel Township – will put their delicious smoked mussels directly into your BYO container – packaging free!
- Coromandel Meatkeeper, 55 Kapanga Road, Coromandel Township – this butcher will put cuts of meat directly into your BYO container, otherwise they wrap cuts of meat in paper (rather than plastic).
- Colville General Store, 2314 Colville Road, Colville – offers a range of bulk dried food as well as liquids (including oils, vinegars, tamari). They also stock Trade Aid chocolate bars, which come in home compostable wrappers. Next door to the store you will also find the Colville Cafe, from which local business, Wholefood Cafe, operates. Wholefood Cafe serves real food, without the throw away aspect – you won’t find any takeaway cups, dishes or cutlery here (you can take away, provided you BYO cups/containers etc!). Instead, simply take a seat, relax, and enjoy a waste-free kai that is good for your body as well as your psyche!
- Inspire Whangamata, 606 Port Road, Whangamatā – this very inspirational organic shop (also a yoga studio and organic, vegan cafe) recently took down all their shelves, removed all packaging from their store, and have stripped back to only offering their organic wholefoods in bulk. Simply BYO your bags and containers and they’ll fill them up for you over the counter 🙂 They stock a wide range of wholefoods and if they don’t have something that you are after, you just need to ask them and they’ll endeavour to order it in for you!
- Whangamata Foodmarket, 612 Port Road, Whangamatā – has a small selection of bulk products, including lollies and sweets, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
- RAW Artisan Market Place, Unit 2/8 Haszard Street, Waihi – stocks Loving Earth chocolate, which comes in home compostable wrappers, and Lewis Road Bakery bread, which also comes in home compostable wrapping.
- Fruit Valley, 68 Belmont Road, Paeroa – has a range of bulk bins, including spices, beans, legumes, grains, salt and even baking soda!
- Markets! – the Coromandel Peninsula has some great markets. A real standout being the Thames Market, which is endeavouring to be plastic-free (and doing a pretty darn good job of it!), and there are lots of things on offer that you should be able to get rubbish-free if you BYO bags and containers, including locally produced plants, fruit and vegs, bric-a-brac, second hand goods, arts and crafts, fine food, cheeses, speciality oils, health and body care products, flowers, bread, and knit wares. Throughout the peninsula generally, get down to your local markets and simply BYO produce bags to achieve a waste-free shop.
- Milk – you can get fresh, raw milk into reusable glass bottles from a vending machine at Buttercup Dairies, 124 Hauraki Road, Turua. Just buy the glass bottles the first time you go, and from then on keep those glass bottles and reuse them at the vending machine over and over again.
- Coffee – look out for local roasters and go straight there with your own bags and containers for beans and grinds. Otherwise, you can get beans and grinds in bulk from Bin Inn Thames, 707 Pollen St, Thames and the Colville General Store, 2314 Colville Road, Colville, or look out for stockists of Trade Aid’s coffee range, which comes in home compostable wrapping (just remove the valve before composting).
- Tea – loose leaves are on offer at Inspire Whangamata, 606 Port Road, Whangamatā, just BYO your own bag/container! You can also get Herbal Potential tea, which comes in home compostable brown paper bags, at RAW Artisan Marketplace, Unit 2/8 Haszard Street, Waihi.
- Drinking chocolate – Kokako brand drinking chocolate comes in packaging that is compostable in a home compost. It is stocked in All Things Organic (237 Main Road, Tairua AND 1 Monk Street, Whitianga).
- Beer/alcohol – look out for places that sell beer on tap where you can BYO flagons… you’ll be surprised by what you find. For example, Super Liquor in Whangamatā (corner of Port and Ocean Roads) offers craft beer on tap, while the Liquor King in Coromandel does refills of port and sherry (!)
Kitchen/food packaging alternatives
- Thames Organic Shop, 736 Pollen St, Thames – stocks a range of reusable produce bags.
- Savour & Spice, The Depot, 715 Pollen St, Thames – stocks honey wraps.
- Coco Coffee Bar, 661 Pollen St, Thames – stocks a variety of reusable coffee cups.
- James & Turner Ltd, 131 Kapanga Road, Coromandel Town – stocks silicone pot and bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil) and reusable coffee cups.
- All Things Organic, 237 Main Road, Tairua and 1 Monk Street, Whitianga – stocks reusable coffee cups and reusable drink bottles.
- Grapefruit Gully, 13 Monk Street, Whitianga – stocks reusable coffee cups.
- Fagans, 33 Albert Street, Whitianga – stocks silicone pot and bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil), reusable coffee cups, and 100% organic cotton dishcloths.
- Table Talk, 652 Port Road, Whangamatā – stocks silicone pot and bowl covers (an alternative to Glad Wrap and tin foil).
- Bella Design, 648 Port Road, Whangamatā – stocks cotton dishcloths.
- RAW Artisan Marketplace, Unit 2/8 Haszard Street, Waihi – stocks reusable cloth bags and honey wraps.
- Art Market, 65 Seddon Street, Waihi – stocks locally made cotton dishcloths
- Bargains N More, 67 Seddon Street, Waihi – stocks cloths/sponges made of bamboo and ramie – great to replace plastic sponges! Also stocks a range of jute and hessian bags, ribbons and cords.
- Busy Beeswax Food Wraps – locally made (in Whangamatā) honey wraps (an alternative to Glad Wrap) – either order through Facebook, look out for them in stores around the Coromandel peninsula, or contact Linsay directly to arrange pick-up.
- Rinse and Repeat – an online store of alternatives to single-use plastic, made by local Coromandel woman Genevieve Lloyd, including food wraps, sandwich bags and produce bags.
- Bin Inn Thames, 707 Pollen St, Thames – stocks a wide range of both liquid and powdered cleaning products/ingredients that you can fill your own bottles and containers with. Also stocks unpackaged bars of soap.
- Thames Organic Shop, 736 Pollen St, Thames – offers refills of some Ecostore detergents, including dishwashing liquid, laundry liquid and multi-purpose spray. Also stocks SoapNuts NZ that come in a cardboard box without a plastic inner lining.
- All Things Organic, 237 Main Road, Tairua and 1 Monk Street, Whitianga – stocks SoapNuts NZ that come in a cardboard box without a plastic inner lining.
- Inspire Whangamata, 606 Port Road, Whangamatā – offers refills of Prana cleaning products.
- Thames Organic Shop, 736 Pollen St, Thames – stocks compostable bamboo toothbrushes, Greencane toilet paper (which comes in a fully compostable wrapper), menstrual cups and Ethique shampoo bars (lightly packaged in cardboard, no plastic!)
- Colville General Store, 2314 Colville Road, Colville – stocks compostable bamboo toothbrushes, Greencane toilet paper (which comes in a fully compostable wrapper), and unpackaged bars of Ecostore soap.
- All Things Organic, 237 Main Road, Tairua and 1 Monk Street, Whitianga -stocks compostable bamboo toothbrushes and products by local business KAIAS Naturals (which can be returned for refill)
- Inspire Whangamata, 606 Port Road, Whangamatā – stocks compostable bamboo toothbrushes, compostable bamboo cotton buds, and Greencane toilet paper (which comes in a home compostable wrapper). They are also open to stocking other items that might help with zero waste living, so just let them know what you’d like to see!
- KAIAS Naturals – this wonderful local business creates natural hair, skin and oral care products and offers customers a 10% discount if they return containers for refills (yes, seriously!). Stocked in various stores throughout Coromandel, but also sell online through their website.
- RAW Artisan Marketplace, Unit 2/8 Haszard Street, Waihi – stocks Go Bamboo’s compostable toothbrushes and cotton buds. The store also stocks cosmetics by Happy Horizons and KAIAS Naturals, both of which are natural, NZ-made and which you can get refilled (just bring the empty container back to the store and they will arrange for the product to be refilled for you!)
- Divine Delights, 88 Seddon Street, Waihi – unpackaged soy fragrant melts and unpackaged soap.
- Seagull Centre, Burke St, Thames – an excellent community-run recycling and recovery centre. Avoid the landfill and instead bring along materials to be recovered, reused, recycled and/or offered as affordable second hand goods to people living in the community. Visit the centre to see what is on offer – metal, timber, building supplies, electronics, clothing, homewares etc. etc. – the list goes on! The centre is also a drop-off point for e-waste, so you can ensure that your broken appliances and electronics are either repaired and onsold, or recycled safely (at a small cost). The centre also runs a fortnightly auction of some really special goods – keep your eye out for that!
- The Goldmine Coromandel Reuse Centre 525 Hauraki Road, Coromandel Town – a newly opened community reuse and recovery centre run by Coromandel Independent Living Trust (CILT). Drop-off unwanted materials here and if they’re fit to be done up and/or reused, they’ll be offered back to the community at affordable rates through the reuse shop (instead of going to landfill)! Take advantage of the store by having a look at what’s on offer. The centre also has a workshop on site for repairs, so check that out too – maybe you can rescue a much-loved item rather than giving it away. If you have e-waste, you can drop that off at the centre for safe recycling and disposal.
- Waihi E-Waste Recycle Depot, 2 Rata Street, Waihi – If you’ve got e-waste to recycle in Hauraki District, anything electronic can be dropped off here (at a small charge).