Zero Waste in West Christchurch
This guide covers West Christchurch only. For other parts of Christchurch, please refer to the Zero Waste in Christchurch City 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!
- Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton – this great wholefoods/organic shop has a good range of unpackaged/loose seeds, nuts, dried fruit, legumes, grains, flours and other pantry staples in bulk, as well as liquid refills of tamari, apple cider vinegar, and oil.
- The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton – a packaging-free store that has just about every whole food you could desire (flours, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, spices) as well as a few snacks and treats in bulk (like chocolate and potato chips). There are also a wide range of cereals and granolas, nut butter extruders, and even pasta and gluten-free pasta! A great range of liquid foods in bulk too, from oils and vinegars to syrups. Some more unusual finds include balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, coconut nectar, tahini and macadamia oil. They also have a nut butter machine producing almond, cashew and peanut butter on alternate days.
- Sun Mart, 221 Blenheim Rd, Riccarton – stocks unpackaged/loose peanuts, beans (including soy), rice, millet, cashews and shiitake mushrooms in bulk bins.
- China Town Market, 384 Riccarton Road, Upper Riccarton – sells dumplings wrapped in (banana?) leaves, and loose/unpackaged beans, peanuts, & several types of rice in bulk bins.
- Sunson Asian Market, 386 Riccarton Road, Upper Riccarton – sells loose/unpackaged peanuts, cashews, grains (rice, oats, pearl barley, millet, corn grits), beans (incl soy, kidney, adzuki, mung, chickpeas), wolf berries, and more in bulk bins.
- Basics, 8 Brake St, Upper Riccarton – has a nice range of loose/unpackaged peanuts, various beans (incl soy beans) and various rices in bulk bins.
- Spice Bazaar, 405 Main South Road, Hornby – sells unpackaged/loose nuts, seeds, dried fruit, legumes, spices, flours, sugar, coconut, rice and other grains in bulk bins.
- Supermarkets – all major supermarkets in Christchurch have well stocked 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 Bin Inn or Wholefoods: Market and Health Store.
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!
- Elite Meats, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, Corner of Waimari and Riccarton Roads, Upper Riccarton – BYO container to this butchery to get fresh cuts of meat without the disposable plastic.
- Meat at Millers, 205 Waimairi Road, Ilam – ask if you can BYO container to get fresh cuts of meat without the disposable plastic.
- Hei Hei Butchery, 36 Wycola Ave, Hei Hei – BYO container to this butchery to get fresh cuts of meat without the disposable plastic – they really encouraged it here!
- Theo’s Fisheries, 82 Riccarton Rd, Riccarton – BYO container for fresh seafood without the disposable plastic.
- PAK’nSAVE, The Hub, Hornby – this supermarket sells self serve seafood (live mussels, prawns, whole fish and heads, squid)
- Unpackaged live mussels – there are a few stores around town that stock unpackaged live mussels at self-serve counters. We put them straight into upcycled ice cream containers/BYO containers rather than the plastic bags the stores usually provide. You can find unpackaged live mussels at New World Ilam, 47C – 57C Peer St, Upper Riccarton/Ilam.
- 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! As do most Fresh Choice supermarkets. Watch this space for when New World and Pak’nSAVE extend 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).
- La Wheat, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, Corner of Waimari and Riccarton Roads, Upper Riccarton – sells unpackaged bread and bakery goods, just BYO bag.
- 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. Often the answer is yes! There are some splendid markets in Christchurch and we weren’t able to visit all of them to see what low-waste goodies were on offer – but we encourage you to find your local market (if you haven’t already) and have a hunt around for what you can get without waste!
- Veggie boxes/co-ops – there are lots of fruit and veg co-ops around town from whom you can order your veggies each week. Around the country we’ve found that unless these co-ops have a zero waste policy, the fruit and veg will usually be pre-packed, so it’s essential to contact them before ordering and have a conversation about whether the co-op is willing to use reusable bags for your box, or to leave things unpackaged (you may be the first person who’s ever asked, so always good to plant the seed!). Generally, if it’s a local operation, it should be possible to arrange this. If it’s not possible to arrange, we recommend looking elsewhere or simply getting unpackaged fruit and vege from markets or supermarkets. Some veggie box schemes to look at are the Affordable Fruit and Vege Group (which many community organisations are linked into, so there’ll likely be a local pick-up in your area), Veggie Co-op New Brighton, Lyttelton Fruit and Vege Collective, Christchurch South Fruit and Vegetable Collective, Ooooby, and Lucy’s Growers Market.
- Trade Aid – Trade Aid‘s 1.5kg sugar bags are also great for upcycling as bulk bin bags, and are home compostable when they do wear out. Trade Aid’s coconut oil is one of the few on the market that does not have a plastic seal around the lid. You can get the sugar at New World Ilam, 47C – 57C Peer St, Upper Riccarton/Ilam and New World Wigram, 51 Skyhawk Road, Wigram.
- De Spa Chocolatier, 218 Riccarton Road, Riccarton – sells unpackaged truffles, fancy chocolates and chocolate buttons – BYO container!
- The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton – stocks a wide range of unpackaged sweets and snacks in bulk.
- Pet Food – pets need to eat too! At Nick’s Pet Food, 15 Michelle Road, Wigram you can get pet food put in your own containers. Easiest to drop your containers off earlier when placing your order and pick them up later (if a largish order).
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:
- Black & White Coffee Cartel, 2/20 Waimairi Road, Bush Inn, Upper Riccarton
- The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton
- One of the many Coffee Culture cafes at 10 Rotherham Street, Riccarton; and Bush Inn, 364 Riccarton Road, Upper Riccarton
- Crafted Coffee Company, 121 Blenheim Road, Riccarton (just go earlier in week before everything is packaged and sold).
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 Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton
- Bell‘s loose leaf tea comes packaged in paper and cardboard 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:
- Glass bottle return/swap scheme for dairy milk – Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton stocks Roan Farm full cream milk in reusable glass bottles. The first time you buy a bottle of milk, you pay a little extra to cover the cost of the bottle and to ensure that you return it when you’re done. Return empty bottles to Wholefoods Market, and exchange it for a full bottle for only the price of the milk (or else get your deposit back). The empties are then returned to Roan Farm for sterilisation and reuse – so the bottles just go around and around – true zero waste!
- Plant mylk in reusable glass bottles – get a range of delicious plain and flavoured plant mylks made by Honest Mylk every Saturday at the Christchurch Farmers’ Market, 16 Kahu Road, Riccarton. Once your bottles are empty, return them to Honest Mylk at the market for a discount on your next purchase, and they will be sterilised and reused!
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:
- Volstead Trading Company, 55 Riccarton Road, Riccarton
- Wigram Brewing Company, 57 Sonter Rd, Wigram
- The Twisted Hop, 7 Parkhouse Rd, Wigram
- Raindogs Brewing Co, 5 Edmonton Rd, Hornby
- Brewers Union, who sell local craft beers on tap at most farmers’ markets in the region.
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 – get raw organic cacao powder from the bulk bins at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton.
- Kombucha – get booch on tap at The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton. Also, MamaZing operates a bottle swap from Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton. Just return your empties (and get a deposit back for your efforts), which will then be washed, sterilized and reused – 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 Natural Attraction Hairstylist and Antiques, 184 Clarence Street, Windmill Centre, Riccarton; and The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
There are heaps of places to buy reusable takeaway coffee cups in Wellington:
- Find the Keep Cup brand at Coffee Culture, 10 Rotherham Street, Riccarton; Bush Inn, 364 Riccarton Road, Upper Riccarton
- Get the NZ-made Cuppa Coffee Cup at @cquisituons, Westfield Riccarton, 129 Riccarton Rd; and Cafe 1894, The Undercroft, University of Canterbury, University Dr, Ilam (also gives a 50c discount if you BYO cup).
- Get the very leak proof Frank Green cups at Coffee Culture, 10 Rotherham Street, Riccarton; Bush Inn, 364 Riccarton Road, Upper Riccarton.
- The Joco brand at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; Park Ranger, 114 Riccarton Rd, Riccarton.
- Stainless steel cups are sold at The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
Reusable lunch boxes/containers
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 Bento Ninja stainless steel lunchboxes at Natural Attraction Hairstylist and Antiques, 184 Clarence Street, Windmill Centre, Riccarton, and Meals in Steel stainless steel containers at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; and The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
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 My Vita Bags or Rethink at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; and The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
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 Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; and The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
Alternatives to plastic cling wrap, plastic sandwich bags and tin foil
- Beeswax wraps – available at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; and The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
- Reusable sandwich bags – you can get Ginger Pye reusable sandwich wraps at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton
- 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 @cquisituons, Westfield Riccarton, 129 Riccarton Rd.
Refills of cleaning products
The followings stores stock liquid and/or powdered cleaning products in bulk dispensers – BYO bottles/containers!
- Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton.
- The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton – stocks Conscious cleaning products who take their bulk containers back to be reused
You can find dishbrushes with wooden handles and removable + replaceable, home compostable heads at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton. 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 Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton – as these are made only of bamboo and plant fibre, they’re home compostable should they ever wear down.
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:
- Get 100% cotton cloths that can be used as dishcloths at Red Current, Westfield Riccarton, 129 Riccarton Rd.
- Eco Planet and Next Generation laundry powder come in a cardboard box with a cardboard scoop – no plastic lining! You can get both from New World Ilam, 47C – 57C Peer St, Upper Riccarton/Ilam
- Soapnuts NZ soapnuts come in a cardboard box with no plastic lining. You can get them at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton.
- Ethique laundry bars (which come in compostable cardboard packaging) are available at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton.
- Alternatives to plastic clothes pegs – Natural Attraction Hairstylist and Antiques, 184 Clarence Street, Windmill Centre, Riccarton stocks Bento Ninja stainless steel clothes pegs. Get Go Bamboo pegs made from bamboo with a metal spring mechanism from Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton.
Ingredients for DIY cleaning products
- Baking soda and white vinegar – you can get non-food grade baking soda and non-food grade white vinegar on tap/from a bulk bin into BYO containers/bottles at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; and The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
- Bars of castile soap, which you can use as a base for homemade dishwashing and laundry liquid (see how it works here) – get Dr Bronner’s castile bars from Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton
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 Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; Uni Pharmacy, The Undercroft, University of Canterbury University Dr, Ilam; New World Ilam, 47C – 57C Peer St, Upper Riccarton/Ilam; The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton; Homestead Health, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, Corner of Waimari and Riccarton Roads, Upper Riccarton; Unichem Pharmacy, 102 The Runway, Wigram Skies; Stay Well Pharmacy, 27 Shands Road, Hornby; and Life Pharmacy, 418 Main South Road, Hornby.
- Dental Floss – most Countdown supermarkets stock Do Gooder floss, which comes in a refillable glass tube with a screw on metal lid. The WHITE floss is made of 100% silk and is home compostable (the black, bamboo and activated charcoal floss has polyester in it so is landfill only). When you run out of the floss, no need to get a new dispenser, you can get refills of the floss in paper/cardboard packaging from www.do-gooder.co.nz – just pop the refill into your original metal/glass dispenser.
Unpackaged Bars of Soap
There are a couple of places in West Christchurch that sell unpackaged soap: @cquisituons, Westfield Riccarton, 129 Riccarton Rd; The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton; and Homestead Health at the Bush Inn Shopping Centre stocks a range of unpackaged soaps (including those made by Eco Store).
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!
- Many places stock the popular Ethique range which includes shampoo bars, conditioner bars, shaving bars, deodorant bars, moisturiser bars, etc. (all of Ethique‘s bars come in home compostable packaging):you can go straight to the source at Ethique’s Factory Shop, Unit 15/3 Stark Drive, Wigram. Other stockists in the area are Uni Pharmacy; Unichem Pharmacy, Wigram Skies; Wholefoods: Market and Health Store; and Sunson Asian Market, 386 Riccarton Road, Upper Riccarton.
- The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton – stocks their own brands of shampoo and shaving bars.
There are low cost alternative to disposable sanitary items like tampons and pads. You can buy menstrual cups at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store in Riccarton; the Uni Pharmacy and New World in Ilam; and the Unichem Pharmacy in Wigram Skies.
Ingredients for DIY cosmetics/toiletries
- Baking Soda is an essential ingredient in lots of homemade toiletries such as toothpaste and deodorant, as well as a great general cleaner when teamed up with vinegar. You can get it unpackaged in bulk bins (non-food grade) from Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton; and The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
- Epsom Salts – available in bulk bins at Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton.
Liquid toiletries on tap
The following stores stock liquid toiletries in bulk dispensers for refills – BYO bottles!
- Wholefoods: Market and Health Store, 52 Riccarton Road, Riccarton.
- The Source Bulk Foods, Bush Inn Shopping Centre, 20 Waimairi Road, Upper Riccarton.
- Cotton buds – Wholefoods: Market and Health Store stock Go Bamboo cotton buds (which are home compostable).
NB: This section is Christchurch-wide, rather than limited to Christchurch Central.
Reuse and Recycle
- Food waste and composting
- Household 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! In Christchurch you are very fortunate that the City Council runs a green bin system, so please use this for your food scraps. Remember though that when you give your food scraps to the council, you are giving away a valuable resource. If you are interested in starting up gardening, you might consider setting up a home compost so that you can nourish your own garden and avoid having to buy compost in plastic bags.
- Edible business food waste: If you are a Christchurch business chucking out food that is still edible but not saleable, you can get in touch with City Harvest – an excellent initiative that takes from businesses edible food that would otherwise go to waste, and redistributes it to people who need it.
- Compostable packaging: You cannot put compostable packaging in your green bin, so we recommend avoiding it where possible. Some packaging, like that made by Econic is home compostable, so if you set up a home compost then you can buy products packaged in this packaging and it’ll be ‘zero waste’! For packaging that needs to be commercially composted (like “compostable” takeaway coffee cups) – there aren’t many options for actually composting it. Project Lyttelton’s Waste Matters team is worm farming the compostable coffee cups sold at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market. You may also be aware that Cultivate Christchurch is currently working on breaking down compostable coffee cups in their compost, and they are working with roughly 14 cafes around town. However they aren’t big enough to offer a city-wide commercial compost (though they’ll be expanding to more businesses soon). We would recommend not accepting compostable coffee cups and using a reusable instead.
- 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 precious resources embedded in these items that are not recovered when the waste is dumped in landfill.
- Repair: Rather than throwing your broken electronics out – have you considered trying to get them repaired first? You could pay someone to do it, for example, Ecotech Services Ltd, 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 – Project Lyttelton and Linwood Resource Centre are two such examples).
- Recycle – If your electronics really have given up the ghost, rather than chucking them out, there are lots of places around Christchurch where you can take your e-waste to be recycled (just a heads up that there will be a small fee). Check out Kilmarnock Enterprises, an awesome social enterprise operating from the Wigram Business Park that accepts a wide range of e-waste for recycling, providing jobs of meaning for people with disabilities, or Ecotech Services Ltd, that strives for zero e-waste to landfill. Alternatively, you can take your e-waste to one of the three EcoDrops around town to see if they’ll accept for recycling the particular electronic you have, or else you can get in touch with E-Cycle, which also operates in Christchurch.
- EcoCentral – For all your recycling and reusing needs, look out for EcoCentral’s EcoShop, 191 Blenheim Road, and the three EcoDrops around the city. If you’ve got a hard-to-recycle item you no longer want, rather than chucking it out, perhaps it can be reused or recycled – check out the range of items that EcoDrop will accept to see if what you’ve got is on the list. Or, if you ever need a household appliance, crockery, cutlery, furniture or other knick-knack, we recommend going to the EcoDrop (or, for that matter, any other secondhand store) to see if you can find it there first. We were very blown away by the range of goods at the EcoShop.
- Second-hand shopping in Christchurch – there’s no two ways about it – buying things that you need secondhand instead of brand new reduces waste. First, because you save something that might have otherwise been sent to landfill from such a tragic fate. Second, by using something that’s already in existence, you save on the waste and energy that is necessary to manufacture a brand new item. Luckily for you, Anthea Madill of Eco Oikos has created A Secondhand Shopping Guide and Map for Christchurch – yay!
Christchurch Zero Waste Vendors with Mainly Online Presence
- The Rubbish Whisperer is a legendary Christchurch local (Helen Rupp) who is advocating for low-waste living and helping other New Zealanders to do so too by selling items online that help with low-waste living on her website, including alternatives to plastic straws and disposable produce bags. The Rubbish Whisperer also supplies fundraising packs so that schools and scouts can sell items like reusable produce bags for fundraising, rather than chocolate bars and biscuits, which we think is an excellent idea!
- The Green Housewife is based in Christchurch and makes a huge range of eco friendly cleaning products. Though it’s all packaged on the online shop, given that she’s based in Christchurch and seems really approachable, you may be able to contact her and ask whether you could get cleaning products from her in person, without the packaging, into your own bottles and containers. She has a stall at the monthly Halswell Farmers Market, so you could ask her there!
- The Zephyr Co. is a Christchurch-based online store selling NZ-made zero waste products, including beautiful stainless steel straws, produce and bulk bin bags, cotton cleaning cloths and face rounds, and awesome wood and metal craft, among other things!
Zero Waste Information and Support Networks
- Our Daily Waste – a Christchurch-based recycling and waste prevention consultancy run by Dr Sharon McIver. Our Daily Waste supports businesses to reduce waste, runs waste audits and waste education, and helps those who are running events to turn them into zero waste events.
- Low-waste living advocates – there are lots of experts in household waste reduction in Christchurch, all contributing their insights in different and exciting ways. Apart from Helen Rupp (AKA The Rubbish Whisperer, mentioned above), check out Anthea Madill (AKA Eco Oikos and Remix Plastic – see below) who blogs about her zero waste life, supporting others to try out low-waste living too. Her blog is full of useful tips, tricks and insights (like her secondhand shopping guides) and we totally recommend you check it out! Also on the scene is Tess McKay with her Facebook page TrashLess which is bursting at the seams with tips and food for thought on low-waste living.
- Remix Plastic – Christchurch’s plastic avoidance and waste conscious living tour de force! Remix Plastic runs HEAPS of workshops on different aspects of low-waste living in both schools and in the community. Part of their approach is to highlight the problems of plastic through small-scale recycling and upcycling of plastic items using a plastic chipper to break up plastic and then recreate it into awesome new items. This leads to great hands-on activities. However, Remix Plastic is about so much more than that. Check the website out and see all the fabulous workshops they have on offer 🙂
- Sustainable Living Christchurch – A Facebook group that people in Christchurch can join to ask advice on sustainable living and where to buy eco products, share their services, and general discussion about all topics eco friendly. The group also organises regular Zero Waste meet-ups (check the event section on the group page) to share ideas, learn about what’s happening already in the Christchurch area, and create initiatives around zero waste where there might currently be gaps.
Skills, Resilience and Resourcefulness in Communities
- Rekindle – we can’t speak highly enough about Rekindle, founded by the absolutely visionary Juliet Arnott. Rekindle is an organisation focused on reducing waste through building community resourcefulness (as Rekindle notes, resourcefulness is the flipside of wastefulness). Rekindle has run many projects since its birth in 2011, including Whole House Reuse, which involved saving all the materials from a house that was to be demolished and redesigning them into beautiful artifacts (thus saving the materials from landfill). The organisation also runs regular free Resourceful Skills Workshops every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 12-4pm at 100 Peterborough Street, and has recently launched The Journal of Resourcefulness that features contributions by experts on all aspects of resourcefulness. ALSO, Rekindle has produced their own Zero Waste in Ōtautahi Map! It includes some of the places listed in our guide, as well as secondhand stores, and it’s in a beautiful, user-friendly format. Check it out (click on the pictures to enlarge):
- Project Lyttelton – This amazing community organisation runs a range of projects that touch on waste reduction and which, even if you don’t live in Lyttelton, are well worth consideration! They run the oldest Timebank in the country. 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 having 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? Project Lyttelton is also in the process of setting up a Library of Tools and Things, which will allow members to borrow items that are useful when you need them, but which you don’t necessarily need to own to get their benefit, such as tools and camping equipment. Systems such as these avoid the wasteful overduplication of these resources that stems from everyone owning their own set of tools or tents. If you would like to donate tools or other items, check this list to see what is currently being sought. Project Lyttelton’s Waste Matters project is also worth a look, providing lots of useful info and services to the Lyttelton community for waste reduction.
- 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.
- Menzshed – there are Menzsheds throughout Christchurch City. 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), work with upcycled material that might otherwise go to waste, and also create bespoke items for community and charitable purposes. Definitely look up your local!
- 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. Christchurch has an absolutely incredible network of community gardens, so there’s sure to be one near you (there’s even one at the University of Canterbury – that’s Okeover Community Garden – so students can get amongst it too. In fact, you’re allowed to take from the garden if you participate in the working bees – yus! Just contact UC DigSoc). 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. While not strictly a community garden, we also want to give a shout out to Cultivate Christchurch who are a trailblazing organisation rethinking urban food systems in New Zealand through their urban farms and composting in Christchurch – check them out or head over to a working bee. Food resilience is a core component of low-waste living and an organisation like Cultivate that places food resilience at its fore is certainly one to watch.
- Rad Bikes (Repair a Dunger) – got a bike that needs fixing? Found a beat up bike somewhere that looked like it might be get chucked out if not for some TLC? Want to do a bike up to save it from landfill? Have no idea what to do or where to start? Check out RAD Bikes – a not-for-profit bike workshop space. Anyone can come and work on their bike here and learn the essential skills for doing so. Sharing tools and a space reduces waste, and getting up to scratch on bike repair techniques will save you money, and potentially also a bike that would otherwise get biffed. You can also come to the shed to restore bikes to give away. Such a great initiative!
- 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). In Christchurch you can find great organisations where you can get involved to either learn or pass on those skills, complete community sewing projects, or simply complete your own sewing projects in the company of others. A stand out example is Stitch-o-mat in New Brighton, which runs lots of great events, including Learn to Sew Mondays. Joining a group that is sewing reusable bags to give out to the community is also a great way to learn to sew while helping to reduce plastic bag consumption and these groups are always looking for volunteers (regardless of whether or not you have prior sewing knowledge). For example, check out Plastic Shopping Bag Free Lyttelton, Boomerang Bags Christchurch or Project Lyttelton’s Welcome Bags project.