The West Coast’s dispersed geography presents a larger challenge to low-waste living than many other parts of the country. Outside of Greymouth, access to bulk bin stores is minimal and smaller communities some distance from these towns could really benefit from co-ops to help reduce waste and the costs of bulk buying. These are questions that we’ll leave up to locals to work out. Needless to say, there are many other initiatives occurring across the West Coast that involve communities coming together to reduce waste and lots of opportunities, beyond simply where you shop, to make a dent in your household rubbish.
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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!
Health 2000, 112a Palmerston Street, Westport – stocks some unpackaged items which you can put into BYO bags/containers, such as whole nutmeg, vanilla pods, and licorice sticks.
- Scarlett & Co, 25 Palmerston Street, Westport – lots of beautiful jams and preserves are made here, and when you’ve emptied the jar of its contents, you can return the jar and lid to Scarlett & Co for a 50c refund or discount off your next purchase, and Scarlett & Co wash, sterilise and reuse the jars!
- The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth – this store 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, baking goods like food-grade baking soda and several liquid foods, like vinegars, oils, syrups and tahini. They also have a peanut butter extruder, just BYO jar!
- Local Crafts & Honey Stall, (a few Ks north of Hokitika on State Highway 6) – honey in refillable glass jars (if you prearrange, you can also leave your own empty jars for honey refills).
- Supermarkets – New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport (New World Greymouth, 128 High Street, Greymouth; Countdown Greymouth, 174 Mawhera Quay, Greymouth; New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika; Four Square Stafford Street, 140 Stafford Street, Hokitika) – these supermarkets have 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 bins at places like The Cook’s Pantry.
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!
- Westfleet Fresh, 69 Gresson Street, Greymouth
- The Butcher’s Block, 17 Robinson Street, Blaketown, Greymouth
The Butcher’s Block, 297 Kaniere Road, KaniereThomson’s Homekill Butchery, 26 Wanganui Flat Road, Hari Hari – call in advance to see what is available
Stella Cafe & Cheesery, 84 Revell Street, Hokitika – you can get unpackaged cuts of expensive fancy cheese off the wheel into your own container.
- New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika – stocks unpackaged live mussels at a self-serve counter. We put them straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO containers rather than the plastic bags the stores usually provide.
- Four Square Franz Josef, 24 Main Road, Franz Josef – if you let them know in advance (for example, by giving them a phone call), the owners have specified that you can have unpackaged cuts of meat put aside for you to pick up in your own container.
- Unpackaged live mussels – New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport stocks unpackaged live mussels at a self-serve counter. We put them straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO containers rather than the plastic bags the stores usually provide.
- BYO containers to supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more – all unpackaged. All Countdown supermarkets officially allow you to BYO container for these goods! Watch this space for New World and PAK’nSAVE to extend this practice to the South Island… Supermarkets with delis: New World Greymouth, 128 High Street, Greymouth; New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika.
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).
- The Future Dough Co, 31 Broadway, Reefton – just ask in advance about getting a loaf of bread into your own bag as it is otherwise prepackaged.
- Stone Oven Bakery & Cafe, 105 Revell Street, Hokitika
- New World Greymouth, 128 High Street, Greymouth
- New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika
- Four Square Stafford Street, 140 Stafford Street, Hokitika – only bakery goods are unpackaged (not loaves of bread, but they may be willing to leave some aside if you ask…).
- Four Square Franz Josef, 24 Main Road, Franz Josef – owners are happy to set aside (i.e. not pre-package) some of their bread and baked goods if you let them know in advance.
- Most supermarkets (and even some Four Squares) stock unpackaged bread, bread rolls and/or bakery goods in their bakery section. New World Westport has a decent range – just pop them into your own 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. 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. Check out Greymouth Sunday Market, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, 73-87 Tainui Street, Greymouth; and Revell Street Market, 51 Revell Street, Hokitika. For example, at the Revell Street Market in Hokitika you can get local honey in returnable/refillable glass jars (Paparoa Bee Company and Blue Spur Milk & Honey), and packaging-free produce from the Fruit Madness stall.
- Options for zero waste fruit and vege box delivieries – On the West Coast you have two options for zero waste fruit and veg boxes. Fruit Madness run a very affordable, packaging-free (apart from the occasional brown paper bag) fruit and veggie box delivery for Grey and Westland districts (there may be the odd brown paper bag). Most of the produce is NZ-grown too. Nice! If you’re into organics, then check out Fresh2U Organic Food Delivery – organic, Tasman-grown fruit + vege boxes with NO packaging delivered to your door, anywhere on the West Coast in an upcycled cardboard box! The odd item might occasionally come in plastic, if you don’t want this, simply say that you want a 100% plastic-free/packaging-free box when you set up your order and the business owner and packer, Lucy, will ensure no plastic gets in your box. If you’re looking for local, hassle-free organic produce that is zero waste, Fresh2U is absolutely one to check out!
- Unpackaged sweets and treats:
- Box of Delights, 106 Revell Street, Hokitika – stocks a range of unpackaged sweets you can put in your own bags.
- Sweet Alice’s Fudge Kitchen, 27 Tancred Street, Hokitika – makes and sells unpackaged fudge.
- Four Square Stafford Street, 140 Stafford Street, Hokitika – stocks some snacks & sweets in bulk bins.
- Carnipaws, 25 Sewell Street, Hokitika – sells unpackaged bones, dog biscuits and treats for your pets – BYO bags/containers.
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 unpackaged coffee in other stores (which usually have in-store grinders also). Here are the spots we found that offer these options:
- UB2 Cafe, 92 Palmerston Street, Westport (roasts their own beans and the owner will happily put these directly into your own bags/containers without any packaging).
- Whanake Gallery & Espresso Bar, 173 Palmerston Street, Westport – you can get unpackaged coffee beans/ground by Underground Coffee Company put into BYO bags/containers.
- The Future Dough Co, 31 Broadway, Reefton will happily put coffee beans from their bulk coffee bags into your own container.
- Kawatiri Coffee Roastery at Virgin Flat Road, Cape Foulwind – a bit off the beaten track, but the owners will happily put their unpackaged, freshly roasted beans into a BYO container – it’s worth contacting the roaster in advance if you plan to drop in to ensure that they will be around.
- The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth – you can get Prima Roastery (a Christchurch based roastery) coffee beans in the store’s bulk dispensers.
- The Hokitika Sandwich Company, 83 Revell Street, Hokitika – unpackaged Havana coffee beans
- Stella Cafe, 84 Revell Street, Hokitika – unpackaged coffee beans by Underground Coffee Company (just ask nicely and go at a time when the cafe is not too busy).
- Full of Beans Cafe, 2902 Franz Josef Highway, Franz Josef can put unpackaged coffee beans into your own bag/container.
- ALSO, a thing to be proud of, Westland District is one of the only places in the country with a cafe that has totally phased out disposable takeaway coffee cups! That’s the cafe at Ōkārito Kayaks, 1 The Strand, Ōkārito – awesome!
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:
- The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth.
- Bell‘s loose leaf tea is packaged in 100% paper and cardboard (no plastic) and is readily available in most supermarkets, Four Squares and dairies.
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 CJs Fresh Milk, 26 North Beach Road, Cobden, Greymouth. Simply BYO bottle to fill up, or purchase a reusable glass bottle there that you can then refill on future occasions.
- Milk powder in a bulk bin – available at The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth.
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:
- West Coast Brewery, 10 Lyndhurst Street, Westport.
- Liquorland Westport, 207 Palmerston Street, Westport.
- Liquorland Recreation, 68 High Street, Greymouth
- Super Liquor Hokitika, 121 Revell Street, Hokitika
- The Bottle-O Hokitika, 56/60 Tancred Street, Hokitika.
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).
- Drinking Chocolate – The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth stocks organic drinking chocolate unpackaged.
- Kombucha – you can find Crafty Gran Kombucha at the Local Crafts & Honey Stall, (a few Ks north of Hokitika on State Highway 6). This is kombucha in refillable glass bottles (if you prearrange, you can also leave your own empty bottles for kombucha refills).
NB: For a whole range of kitchen/food packaging alternatives, check out Daily Use which runs out of Hari Hari! You can order items online, but you can also arrange pick-up if you’re local. Mean!
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 water bottles at Heritage Giftworld, 176 Palmerston Street, Westport, Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre, 4294 Coast Road, Punakaiki, Pancake Rocks Cafe, 4300 Coast Road, Punakaiki, The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth (metal), Hokitika i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, 36 Weld Street, Hokitika (metal), GiftNZ, 23 Tancred Street, Hokitika (metal & glass), Four Square Franz Josef, 24 Main Road, Franz Josef (metal), Glacier Shop, 29 Main Road, Franz Josef (metal) and Fern Grove Gifts & Souvenirs, 26 State Highway 6, Franz Josef (metal & plastic).
- Get the NZ-made Ideal Cup at Whanake Gallery & Espresso Bar, 173 Palmerston Street, Westport.
- Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at The Soapbox, 114 Palmerston Street, Westport; Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre, 4294 Coast Road, Punakaiki; GiftNZ, 23 Tancred Street, Hokitika; Sunshinz Fashion and Beauty, 29 Weld Street, Hokitika; Pukeko Store & Cafe, Main Road, Harihari; Full of Beans Cafe, 2902 Franz Josef Highway, Franz Josef; West Coast Wildlife Centre, Corner Cowan & Cron Streets, Franz Josef; Glacier Shop, 29 Main Road, Franz Josef; and Fox Glacier Guiding/Hobnail Giftshop, 44 Main Road, Fox Glacier.
- Find the Keep Cup brand at Scarlett & Co, 25 Palmerston Street, Westport; The Future Dough Co, 31 Broadway, Reefton; Ramble & Ritual, 51 Sewell Street, Hokitika (this cafe also welcomes BYO containers/cups for takeaways, and charges 50c extra for people who want their takeaways in disposable containers).
- Joco Cups are sold at Revell Street Market, 51 Revell Street, Hokitika.
- There are reusable stainless steel coffee cups sold at Glacier Motors (Allied Petroleum), corner of Condon Street & Main Road, Franz Josef, and Fox Glacier General Store, 37 Main Road, Fox Glacier.
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. You can get Eco Bag organic cotton string and produce bags at SuperValue Reefton, 65 Broadway, Reefton; Rethink 100% organic cotton produce & string bags at New World Greymouth, 128 High Street, Greymouth; or My Vita Bag 100% organic cotton produce/bulk bag packs at Four Square Franz Josef, 24 Main Road, Franz Josef.
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 Glacier Shop, 29 Main Road, Franz Josef.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wrap
- Purchase at – Torea Gallery & Craft Shop, State Highway 67, Granity; Pink Possum Quilting, 27 Mackay Street, Greymouth, Gibson & Co, 6 Guinness Street, Greymouth, Local Crafts & Honey Stall, (a few Ks north of Hokitika on State Highway 6), Revell Street Market, 51 Revell Street, Hokitika and Glacier Shop, 29 Main Road, Franz Josef.
- DIY (waaay cheaper!): You just need to get natural fibre fabric (cotton) and unpackaged beeswax. Keep an eye out at secondhand stores and fabric stores for off-cuts of cotton, or see if you can get some upcycled natural fibre fabric from Buller Fabric & Fibre, 180 Palmerston Street, Westport; Pink Possum Quilting, 27 Mackay Street, Greymouth, Sew Hokitika, 139 Hampden Street, Hokitika or Glacier Shop, 29 Main Road, Franz Josef. Get unpackaged beeswax at the Local Crafts & Honey Stall, (a few Ks north of Hokitika on State Highway 6) and Revell Street Market, 51 Revell Street, Hokitika (through Paparoa Bee Company and Blue Spur Milk & Honey). If you’re in Karamea, look out for beeswax wrap making workshops run by the Karamea Community Arts Council.
- 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 Gibson & Co, 6 Guinness Street, Greymouth.
Refills of cleaning products
The following stores stock liquid/powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers!
- The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth – stocks a range of commercial liquid cleaning products on tap, as well as nappy wash, laundry powder and dishwash powder unpackaged in bulk bins.
Go Bamboo wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles are home compostable (when they do wear down) and can be used as a handle-less dishbrush! These are available at Four Square Karamea, 103 Bridge Street, Karamea, and The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport.
We 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.
- You can get the Budget brand 100% cotton dishcloths at New World Greymouth, 128 High Street, Greymouth; New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika; Four Square Franz Josef, 24 Main Road, Franz Josef; and On the Spot Express, 5 Pauareka Street, Haast.
- 100% cotton flannels that could be used as dishcloths are sold at the Hokitika SPCA Opshop, 108 Revell Street.
- For something a little more fancy, get the Bianca Lorenne 100% cotton cloths at The Vintage Tree, 81 Revell Street, Hokitika.
- If you want to try your hand at knitting or crocheting your own dishcloth, head to Sew Hokitika, 139 Hampden Street, Hokitika for your 100% cotton yarns (and potentially some assistance and advice!).
- Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powder brands both come in a cardboard box with no inner plastic lining, and the scoop is also made of cardboard. You can get one or the other of these at FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport and New World Westport, 244 Palmerston Street, Westport.
- SoapNuts – these are a home compostable alternative to laundry detergent and this particular brand comes in a cardboard box with no plastic lining. Find it at Revell Street Market, 51 Revell Street, Hokitika.
- Non-plastic clothes pegs – bamboo pegs (with a metal spring mechanism) are available at Four Square Karamea, 103 Bridge Street, Karamea; FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport; Four Square Reefton, 47 Broadway, Reefton; and New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika.
Ingredients for DIY cleaning products
- Baking soda, washing soda, soda ash, epsom salts white vinegar – find these in the bulk dispensers at The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth – BYO bottles/containers
- Bars of castile soap (which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid) – get locally made castile soap by The Crafty Chook (the castile bar is called Naked As”) at Hokitika i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, 36 Weld Street, Hokitika. Otherwise you can get Dr Bronner’s castile soap bars at Health 2000, 112a Palmerston Street, Westport and Health 2000 Greymouth, 81 Mackay Street, Greymouth.
NB: For a whole range of zero waste bathroom products, check out Daily Use which runs out of Hari Hari! You can order items online, but you can also arrange pick-up if you’re local. Mean!
These are 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 get these at:
- Four Square Karamea, 103 Bridge Street, Karamea
- FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport
- The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport
- A Wild Peace Wellness Centre, 122 Palmerston Street, Westport
- Four Square Reefton, 47 Broadway, Reefton
- New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika.
- Glacier Shop, 29 Main Road, Franz Josef
- Fox Glacier Guiding/Hobnail Giftshop, 44 Main Road, Fox Glacier.
Unpackaged bars of Soap
It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Westland and Grey districts. The following stores sell totally naked bars of soap:
- The Soapbox, 114 Palmerston Street, Westport – lots of variety (Indulgence Soap, Buckley & Phillips Aromatics, Inga Ford, Spa and in house made).
- The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport
- Pancake Rocks Cafe, 4300 Coast Road, Punakaiki
- Greymouth Sunday Market, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, 73-87 Tainui Street, Greymouth
- Nimmo Gallery & Store, 102 Mackay Street, Greymouth – locally made by Blue Spur Milk & Honey and Fair & Square, made in Northland.
- Flair, 79 Mackay Street, Greymouth – Nelson-based Global Soap
- The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth – locally made by Omoto Valley Soap
- Westland Pharmacy, 10 Weld Street, Hokitika
- Fleur De Lis Florist, 109 Revell Street, Hokitika
- Revell Street Market, 51 Revell Street, Hokitika – locally made by Blue Spur Milk & Honey.
- Hokitika i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, 36 Weld Street, Hokitika – locally made by The Crafty Chook.
- Tui Gallery, 20 Main Road, Franz Josef – locally made by The Glacier Soap Company.
- Glacier Base Gift Shop, 63 Cron Street, Franz Josef – locally made by The Crafty Chook.
- Glacier Shop, 29 Main Road, Franz Josef – felted soap.
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!
- Get locally-made shampoo bars at Torea Gallery & Craft Shop, State Highway 67, Granity.
- You can get Blue Spur Milk & Honey shampoo and lotion bars, as well as various lotions/salves which are either packaged in compostable cardboard or in glass jars which you can return to be washed and reused, at The Soapbox, 114 Palmerston Street, Westport; Nimmo Gallery & Store, 102 Mackay Street, Greymouth; and Revell Street Market, 51 Revell Street, Hokitika.
- Flair, 79 Mackay Street, Greymouth – stocks Global Soap’s 3-in-1 shampoo/shave/shower bar.
- Hokitika i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, 36 Weld Street, Hokitika – stocks two types of shampoo bars locally made by The Crafty Chook.
- Tui Gallery, 20 Main Road, Franz Josef – stocks shampoo bars locally made by Glacier Naturals.
Reusable Menstrual Products
There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. Menstrual cups are popular with many women. These are stocked at Westland Pharmacy, 10 Weld Street, Hokitika and New World Hokitika, 116 Revell Street, Hokitika.
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 – you’ll need a shaving brush to make this work. You can buy razors, replacement blades and shaving brushes from NZ Barber Shed, 182 Palmerston Street, Westport; and High Street Barber, 12 High Street, Greymouth. Many pharmacies also stock shaving brushes, such as Buller Pharmacy, 168 Palmerston Street, Westport; and Unichem Olsen’s Pharmacy, Corner Tainui and Guiness Streets, Greymouth.
Ingredients for DIY toiletries/cosmetics
- Get baking soda and epsom salts from bulk dispensers at The Cook’s Pantry, 35 Guinness Street, Greymouth (BYO containers!)
- Fox River Bath Co makes a range of cosmetic products, and many of the containers can be returned to the company for reuse/refill. The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport stocks a range of their products and are happy to be a drop off point for their empty jars/containers.
- Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds. Get them from The Black & Dane Trading Co., 151-153 Palmerston Street, Westport; and FreshChoice Westport, 18 Fonblanque Street, Westport.
- Get reusable nappies and unpackaged bath bombs at the Greymouth Sunday Market, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, 73-87 Tainui Street, Greymouth.
- Tahi Skincare oil blends, which come in glass vials with metal screw lid, are sold at Nimmo Gallery & Store, 102 Mackay Street, Greymouth.
- Glacier Motors (Allied Petroleum), corner of Condon Street & Main Road, Franz Josef sells individual rolls of toilet paper, wrapped in tissue paper.
Reuse and Recycle
- Food waste – food waste and scraps going to landfill not only produces methane, but also represents the loss of an excellent resource that could be turned into compost to enrich our soil, or, if the discarded food was still edible, the loss of perfectly good food that could go to someone that wants to eat it! If you would like to set up your own home compost, worm farm or bokashi system so you can deal with your organic waste at home, the Grey District Council has some good info and resources on their website to help you set a system up. If you are a Westport business chucking out food that is still edible but not saleable, you can get in touch with The Sharing Shed – a great initiative that takes from businesses edible food that would otherwise go to waste, and redistributes it for free.
- E-waste – electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, with huge environmental implications because of the toxins that can be leached from this waste, but also the loss of incredibly precious resources embedded in these items that are not recovered when the waste is dumped in landfill.
- Repair – Rather than throwing you broken electronics out – have you considered trying to get them repaired first? You could pay someone to do it, or look out for Repair or Fix-it Cafes where experts donate their time to fix people’s broken items for free at a designated repair event (usually run by community centres, churches or councils).
- Recycle – If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, see if you can take them to your local transfer station to be recycled (for example, you can do this at McLean’s Pit in Greymouth) – it will come at a cost to you (until the Government starts to regulate manufacturers of these products), but it’s a small cost relative to damage these items otherwise cause in landfill. Alternatively, you can drop off small electronic items for free at Go Tech, 65 Mackay Street, Greymouth (they state that they can take “any dead or unwanted phones, tablets, laptops and desktops” as well as “old cables and really anything reasonably small which might have a circuit board in it like modem routers and other network hardware”).
Share and Exchange
- Toy Libraries – reduce the wasteful over-consumption of toys and save money by joining a toy library! Check out this guide to find the nearest Toy Library to you.
- West Coast Timebank – There’s a timebank on the West Coast and this is awesome because timebanking and zero waste living are great companions. Through timebanking you can share skills and services without the exchange of money, making it a great way to reduce waste on a budget because you can harness skills of creating and repairing that exist in your community (repairing broken clothes or electronics, for example), or have someone pass these skills on to you (how to garden, how to build). Perhaps you have some of these skills already that you could pass on to someone else for time credits? If this sounds like the kind of thing you might be into, check out the local timebank – they’ll be thrilled to have you! We also heard through the grapevine that through the West Coast timebank you can also share tools, meaning that there’s no need for every person and his or her dog to own a set of tools, instead they can be shared to reduce the over-duplication of resources.
Skills and Resourcefulness in Communities
- 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 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. There are Menzshed groups throughout the West Coast, so definitely look up your local!
- Growing food!
- 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. There are community gardens dotted around the region, including Community Māra Kai in Hokitika and the community garden at Number 37 Community House, 37 Peel Street, Westport – both are definitely worth checking out! 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.
- Incredible Edible West Coast – Food growing from the ground is unpackaged and naturally zero waste – so we’re always on the prowl for living fruit, herbs and veg to pick. So we were very excited to discover that the West Coast has its own branch of Incredible Edibles, which makes it possible to find food growing around the streets of town and for all of us to get amongst it! Check Incredible Edible’s Facebook for an explanation of this amazing public food growing project, as well as how you can become involved.
- Kane AKA The Urban Gardener – If you’re into learning a thing or two about gardening to take to your own home, check out the classes run by Kane, which are currently running out of Number 37 Community House, 37 Peel Street, Westport.
- Sewing, crafts, knitting, crochet – We’re of the view that sewing, crafts, knitting and crochet are all key skills for combating waste in our lives (whether it’s the ability to make your own produce bags and beeswax wraps, knit a dishcloth, or repair broken clothes). Throughout the West Coast you can find lots of great organisations and small businesses where you can either learn or pass on those skills, complete community sewing projects, attend workshops, or simply complete your own sewing projects in the company of others.
- Craft/knitting/crochet/flax weaving – If you’re into joining a knitting, crocheting and/or general craft group, there are awesome groups in Greymouth, including the CoRE/New Coasters supported Greymouth knitting group and In Stitches, up North in Karamea there’s also the Craft Ladies, who meet weekly and there’s also a flax weaving group in Karamea too – great to learn how to use the natural fibres all around us.
- Learn how to sew, repair clothes, and/or upcycle fabrics – check out workshops by Sew Hokitika, 139 Hampden Street, Hokitika, Number 37 Community House, 37 Peel Street, Westport or Pink Possum Quilting, 511/A State Highway 6, Greymouth. Number 37 Community House also has sewing machines and overlockers that you can use for your own projects free of charge, and a fabric bank with lots of upcycled fabrics available for your sewing projects!
- Getting clothes repaired – If you’ve got broken clothes and you’re really not sure how to repair them yourself or don’t really want to, you could consider paying someone else to do it rather than chucking the clothes out. For example, Sew Hokitika, 139 Hampden Street, Hokitikia or Stitched Up Real Good, Westport.
- Groups sewing reusable bags to give out to the community – a great way to learn to sew while helping to reduce plastic bag consumption. These groups are always looking for volunteers (regardless of whether or not you have prior sewing knowledge) for sewing bees. Check out your local Boomerang Bags group – there are branches throughout the West Coast, from Fox Glacier upwards, so get amongst it!
- Community centres and community organisations making things happen – there are a whole host of skills, ideas and initiatives that can help with low-waste living, from how to garden and compost, to preserving and fermenting foods, upcycling, knitting and crocheting, how to repair items, basic woodwork, and so on. There are several centres and public learning spaces that run workshops like this on a regular basis, on a wide range of topics, throughout the West Coast, so it’s well worth checking them out and their workshop schedules. These centres include Fox Glacier Community Centre, 45 Cook Flat Road, Fox Glacier; The Green Team Hokitika; West REAP, 72 Tudor Street, Hokitika; CoRE/New Coasters, 38 Albert Street, Greymouth; Buller REAP, 111 Palmerston Street, Westport; Number 37 Community House, 37 Peel Street, Westport; and Karamea Community Arts Council (contact their FB page to find out about workshops coming up around Karamea).
REGION-WIDE COMMUNITY GROUPS, SUPPORTIVE NETWORKS AND HELP WITH TRICKY WASTE STREAMS