This guide covers Nelson City only. For the Tasman District, please refer to the Zero Waste in the Nelson-Tasman Region 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 water bottles at Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street (metal); The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street (metal); Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson (metal); Pomeroy’s Coffee and Tea, 105 Montgomery Square, Nelson (metal); Health 2000 Nelson, Shop 7 City Centre Arcade, 219 Trafalgar Street, Nelson; The Kitchen, 111 Bridge Street, Nelson (metal); .
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Nelson:
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. You can get the high quality Meals in Steel (who are a living wage employer) stainless steel lunchboxes and food containers at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street. Alternatively, you can get unbranded tiffins (stainless steel, multi-tier lunchboxes that are also excellent for getting takeaways in) at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street.
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 The Green Collective Loot and/or Rethink at The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street; Craig Potton Gallery and Store, 255 Hardy Street, Nelson; or 100% cotton reusable bags made by HappBee Planet from Prego Mediterranean Foods, 90 Collingwood Street, Nelson. As well as 100% cotton produce bags, The Pantry Door, 526 Main Road, Stoke also stocks bags made by Boomerang Bags Nelson.
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 Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; and Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street
The following stores sell 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 The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; Prego Mediterranean Foods, 90 Collingwood Street, Nelson; Content Homeware, 73 Bridge Street, Nelson (the Dishy brand – BEWARE of the other brand of wooden dishbrush in store because the heads on these are not natural fibres so are not home compostable);
Also, you can get wooden veggie brushes with plant fibre bristles which can also be used as dishbrushes (they just don’t have a handle) at Bin Inn Nelson, Montgomery Square, 16 Bridge Street; The Organic Green Grocer, Ecoland, 31 Vanguard Street; and Organic Foods Nelson, 93 Collingwood Street.
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:
It’s easy to get soap without packaging in Nelson. The following stores sell totally naked (or only paper 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.