Zero Waste in Golden Bay

Zero Waste in Golden Bay

This guide covers Golden Bay only. For other parts of the Tasman District, or for Nelson City, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Nelson-Tasman Region Homepage.



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!

  • Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka – Takaka is sorted for all its bulk food needs at this friendly, local co-op/store! They stock a huge range of foods in bulk bins, including spices, fresh dates, nuts, grains, flours, dried fruit, legumes, cereal/muesli, seeds, psyllium hulls, slippery elm, salt, spirulina, seaweed, and more! There are also many types of liquid foods you can refill your own bottle/jar/container with, such as nut butters, oils, tamari, vinegars, tahini, syrups, miso paste, and umeboshi paste + vinegar. 
  • FreshChoice Takaka, 13 Willow Street, Takaka – as far as supermarkets go, this one has some good options. Their pick and mix/bulk bin section has a standard selection for a large supermarket (including nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, dried fruit, snacks, lollies, as well as rarer products like almond meal and savoury/nutritional yeast flakes), and the prices are relatively low – especially if there are some on special!
  • Get refills of local olive oil into a BYO bottle at Village Market Takaka, Library car park, Takaka.

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!

  • De-lish Delicatessen, Shop 2, 30 Commercial Street, Takaka – sells flash cheese off the round – just ask for how much you want and byo container.
  • Get Kervella cheese off the round at Village Market Takaka, Library car park, Takaka.
  • Supermarket delis – Most supermarkets have a deli section offering unpackaged meat, seafood, olives and other antipasti, salads, lunch foods and more. All Countdown supermarkets officially allow you to BYO container for these goods! Watch this space for New World and PAK’nSAVE extending this practice to the South Island also…

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).

  • Takaka Infusion, 26 Commercial Street, Takaka – here you can find beautiful artisan handmade European breads (probably the best rye/spelt sourdough we’ve had!) without the packaging – just byo bread bags 🙂
  • MAD Cafe, 7 Tasman Street, Collingwood – artisan sourdough bread.
  • 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. 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 Village Market Takaka, Library car park, Takaka – a great market for all manner of food, arts, crafts, clothes and more. As always, byo bags, bottles and containers!
  • Trade Aid FreshChoice Takaka, 13 Willow Street, Takaka stocks Trade Aid coconut oil (in a glass jar without the plastic seal around the rim).
  • Unpackaged sweets and treats – Choco Loco, 47b Commercial Street, Takaka sells artisan chocolates and truffles unpackaged (so just byo container) or in a cardboard giftbox; The Top shop Dairy & Takeaways, 4 Willow Street, Takaka sells loose lollies (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:

  • TLC (The Little Café), 65a Commercial Street, Takaka
  • Wholemeal Café60 Commercial Street, Takaka
  • Looks like there’s also a coffee roaster called Tonic that may well do this too, but we had trouble tracking them down to ask (can anyone help with this?!).

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:

  • Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka. They also sell loose teabags (just ask at the counter to check that that particular brand of teabag doesn’t have plastic in it!)

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 Village Milk, 472 Abel Tasman Drive, Clifton. Simply BYO bottle to fill up, or purchase a reusable glass bottle there that you can then refill on future occasions.

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:

  • Super Liquor Golden Bay, 15 Commercial Street, Takaka (which has both craft and cheap stuff)
  • Liquorland Golden Bay, 5 Motupipi Street, Takaka (which is very cheap, and also sells cider on tap).
  • Mussel Inn, 1259 State Highway 60, Onekaka.

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 – you can get organic drinking chocolate and Aztec hot chocolate powder in bulk from Golden Bay Organics, 5 Motupipi Street, Takaka.
  • Kombucha – Mama Zingmade in Golden Bay, sells refillable bottles of kombucha. Bring your empty bottle to the Takaka market or select retail outlets for refill and get a 50c deposit back. The bottles will be returned to MamaZing for sterilisation and refill – YAY!

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 Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka;

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

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 Takaka Infusion, 26 Commercial Street, Takaka.

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 100% organic cotton produce and/or bulk bin bags by either Loot or Rethink at FreshChoice Takaka, 13 Willow Street, Takaka

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

  • Beeswax wrap – Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka (by Tasman Gold and Arjuna’s Wraps); Takaka Infusion, 26 Commercial Street, Takaka; Made in the Bay, 80 Commercial Street, Takaka (Arjuna’s Wraps). (PS – it’s much cheaper to make your own, you just need some natural fabric from an opshop or quilting store, and unpackaged beeswax).

Refills of cleaning products

The following stores sell liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO containers/bottles:

  • Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka (Ecostore refills)

Low-waste dishwashing

You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka

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. Bird’s Gift Emporium, 27 Commercial Street, Takaka – stocks cotton cloths, and Swedish Kitchen Culture cellulose and cotton dishcloth sponges that are home compostable when they reach the end of their life (but which are unfortunately wrapped in plastic)


  • Eco Planet laundry powder comes in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! Available at FreshChoice Takaka, 13 Willow Street, Takaka.
  • Non-plastic clothes pegsGo Bamboo pegs available at Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka.

Ingredients for DIY cleaning products

  • Baking soda & epsom salts – available unpackaged in bulk bins at Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka.
  • Bars of soap for dishwash liquid – we make our own dishwashing and laundry liquid using certain bars of soap (see how it works here). You can use Clean Earth‘s scent-free olive oil bar (available unpackaged at the Clean Earth stall at the Village Market Takaka, Library car park, Takaka, or Dr Bronner’s castile soap bars, available at Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka.

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 Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka; FreshChoice Takaka, 13 Willow Street, Takaka;

Unpackaged Bars of Soap

It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Golden Bay. The following stores sell totally naked bars of 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!

  • Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka – sells Global Soap’s shaving bars
  • Artisan, 30 Commercial Street, Takaka – Global Soap‘s shampoo bars (go for the unpackaged version!)
  • Village Market Takaka, Library car park, Takaka – Clean Earth Soap makes a shampoo bar available at the market.

Reusable Menstrual Products

There are zero waste, low cost alternatives to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. Menstrual cups are stocked at Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka; Golden Bay Pharmacy, 17 Commercial Street, Takaka; FreshChoice Takaka, 13 Willow Street, Takaka

Liquid toiletries on tap

  • Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka stocks Ecostore liquid bathroom products on tap (just BYO bottles!).

Ingredients for DIY 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 Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka.
  • Epsom salts – available in bulk dispensers at Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka.


  • Cotton Buds – Go Bamboo makes home compostable buds so you can avoid the single-use, unrecyclable plastic ones. Get them from Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka; FreshChoice Takaka, 13 Willow Street, Takaka;
  • Toilet Paper Golden Bay Organics, 47 Commercial Street, Takaka also stocks Pacific Green individual toilet paper rolls that are wrapped in tissue paper.
  • Legit Lotionz – an enterprise started by two young locals, Lily and Abbie, who make delicious, 100% natural, handmade lotions in Golden Bay. They’re really into reducing environmental impact and will talk to you about sustainably packaging your product. They’re also working on getting refillable containers so that you can send your empties back to them for a refill. Yay! Order from them through their instagram page.

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! Having a composting, worm farm or bokashi bin system at home is a better way to deal with your food scraps. If you’d like help setting one up or working out what the best system would be for you, the Tasman District Council has great info and resources on its website to help you set a system up and they both offer all residents a $20 subsidy coupon that you can put towards a new compost/worm farm/bokashi system (with participating retailers).
  • 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 is one such example).
    • Recycle – If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, take them to the Nelson Environment Centre to be recycled – the centre recycles a huge range of electronics, making it the regional hub for e-waste recycling. 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.

Zero Waste Information and Support Networks

  • 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. The kaiarahi for Te Tau Ihu (top of the South Island) is Mel McColgan, so get in touch if you know an organisation Para Kore could work with in the region (or if you are involved with an organisation that would like to have Para Kore’s support!)
  • Plastic Free Golden Bay – a local group to share ideas for plastic free living in Golden Bay, specifically! There’s also a Plastic Free Golden Bay group.

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.

Skills and Resourcefulness within Communities

  • Community gardens – 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. 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. In Takaka, check out the Golden Bay Organic Community Gardens at the Golden Bay Sustainable Living Centre.

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