This guide covers Mid-Canterbury only. For the rest of the Canterbury region, please refer to the Zero Waste in Canterbury 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).
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:
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 metal water bottles at Kitchen Kapers, 91 Tancred Street, Ashburton; and Fusion Gallery, 214 East Street, Ashburton. You can get reusable glass water bottles at The Somerset Grocer, 161 Burnett Street, Ashburton; several different brands at Simply Eco, 106B Victoria Street, Ashburton; and at Methven i-SITE, 160 Main Street, Methven.
There are lots of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups, including Simply Eco, 106B Victoria Street, Ashburton (several varieties), The Somerset Grocer, 161 Burnett Street, Ashburton (the SoL brand); Kitchen Kapers, 91 Tancred Street, Ashburton; Fusion Gallery, 214 East Street, Ashburton (who stock the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup and a stainless steel reusable cup by Moana Rd); Smith Gallery, 38 McMillan Street, Methven (Cuppa Coffee Cup); Primo e Secundo, 40 McMillan Street, Methven (Methven branded); and at the Staveley Store, 2 Burgess Road, Staveley (Joco brand).
Reusable lunch boxes or containers are great to have on you when you’re out and about in case you want to get takeaways, to carry leftovers home with you, or if you find food to forage. Simply Eco, 106B Victoria Street, Ashburton stocks Meals in Steel stainless steel lunchboxes, Planet Box stainless steel lunch boxes, and various plastic lunch/bento boxes.
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 get yourself reusables at Simply Eco, 106B Victoria Street, Ashburton, which sells lunch tote bags, 100% organic cotton produce, bulk bin and string bags, several repurposed produce bags and lots of other food-themed cotton bags. Get other 100% cotton produce bags New World Ashburton, 75 Moore Street, Ashburton; Kitchen Kapers, 91 Tancred Street, Ashburton; Paper Plus, 212 East Street, Ashburton; and SuperValue Methven, 34 The Mall, Methven.
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 Simply Eco, 106B Victoria Street, Ashburton (including one with a spoon on one end!); Kitchen Kapers, 91 Tancred St, Ashburton; Somerset Grocer, 161 Burnett Street, Ashburton; East Street Pharmacy, 182 East Street, Ashburton; The Pantry, 121 Main Street, Methven; and Methven Pharmacy, 101 Main Street, Methven.
The following stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO containers/bottles!
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Simply Eco, 106B Victoria Street, Ashburton; and Kitchen Kapers, 91 Tancred Street, Ashburton. Simply Eco also stocks the Go Bamboo veggie brushes, which are 100% home compostable when they do wear out, though they are veggie brushes, lots of people like to use them as a handless dishbrush!
We also encourage people to move away from using dishcloths, 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. There are various options in Ashburton:
It’s easy to get soap without packaging/better packaging in Ashburton. The following stores sell totally naked/paper/cardboard wrapped 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.
Eco Educate – run by Lesley Ottey, Eco Educate is a force of waste minimisation education in both Waimakariri and more recently in Ashburton. Eco Educate runs workshops in schools and in communities on a wide range of waste reducing topics, from composting, gardening, recycling, and rethinking waste. You may have also heard about Lesley’s toy rescue progamme, which is quite amazing! Get in touch if you are based in Ashburton and would like to have Lesley run a workshop for you or your local school.