When I wrote this post in early 2016 there were hardly any bulk stores in Auckland, and many of them were old school Bin Inn’s or Indian Spice shops. This post quickly became outdated as we’ve seen waste become an area of interest in the last 3 or so years. I could be continually updating this post as so many dedicated zero waste bulk stores pop up around Auckland, but instead my friends Hannah and Liam from The Rubbish Trip have done the hard work. Read their Regional Shopping Guide here, and check out their interactive map here.
Update: June 2017
Since I wrote this blog post there have been a few other bulk bin stores pop up, yay! My favorite bulk store is now Bin Inn Onehunga, this store is actually walking distance from my house (!!) and the staff know me by name. The owners are lovely and are often ordering in more products at my request. They also have a really good home brewing selection. There are some great specilaity and organic items, and the shop is really affordable. I love this shop as it is my local, the staff are super friendly and they even let me host a zero waste shopping workshop there!
Bin Inn have also announced that all stores will be offering a discount when you bring your own containers! “From 3rd July Customers who bring in their own containers will receive a 5% discount off the price of that product. A nationwide offer so every Bin Inn store will be offering this. A small start to our new plastic reducing initiatives in our stores.”
The other bulk store that has since opened is GoodFor, a wholefoods refillery located in Ponsonby. They are a packaging free shop, and have more organic and niche items, such as kombucha on tap. GoodFor also have an online store, products are shipped in paper packing.
It’s pretty exciting how mainstream the zero waste movement is becoming, I frequently see people shopping with their own jars and bags now!
Original Post May 2016:
|A typical Bin Inn shop|
At the beginning of the year I started writing a list of the bulk stores I’ve found so far, and then this post sat as a draft among many other draft blog posts… So I figured I’d finally share my bulk store finds, but on another forum. As Zero Waste Home‘s donation drive for the Bulk App was a success I have now added all of the locations there. For those of you not in the know, Zero Waste Home (Bea Johnson) created this great app where you can add & rate bulk food locations to a map. However the app needed a serious update, so there was big donation drive to update the app and also create a website. The website and app are now functional, and donations are still being accepted.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of locations had been added since I last logged in, the Auckland zero waste network is definitely growing! I’ve added a few in Auckland and a couple further afield in the North Island. My personal favourites are Bin Inn, and Khyber Spice Invaders (Royal Oak) who have loose cheese and olives and plenty of bulk selection, just ask first about using your own containers as they don’t have a proper tare system. Early last year I went to Bulk Food Savings on Dominion Road and I was really disappointed as a lot of food was pre-packaged. My favourite bulk store to date is actually not in Auckland, but in Kamo (Whangarei) which I discovered on a camping trip. They have a decent selection of cleaning products, pet food, honey, tahini and pasta (the holy grail of zero waste success).
There are still a few I am planning on checking out once I have a few reasons to go to those directions. I plan on checking out Bulk Barn in Henderson, which is the local for A Zero Waste Warrior, although I have been to the one in New Lynn.What I haven’t included on the map is supermarkets and organic stores, many of which have bulk sections but don’t allow BYO containers (or I haven’t asked yet). I still use these places, either re-using old ziplock bags or re-using paper bags or lightweight mesh/cloth bags. Most Pak n Save’s have decent bulk food sections and I’ve had no issue with using my own bags there before, they mainly get funny in the butcher & deli sections.
Another great food map is the New Zealand Fruit and Food Share Map which shows public fruit and nut trees and herbs. I love walking down a street and finding public fruit trees in parks or street berms. Here’s a handy site to check what’s in season also. I found a whole bunch of pear trees years ago and made a crumble out of them, I hate seeing anything go to waste- including fruit. I’ve mentioned on my instagram account a few times that I have made friend’s with my neighbours who have excess fruit, they are always very happy to give it away as it goes wasted otherwise. Neighbourly is another good place to ask around, I got my original Kombucha SCOBY from there, as well as sourdough starter and have given plants and SCOBY in return.Let me know of any gems in Auckland also and don’t forget your jars and bulk bags.
Happy package free food hunting everyone!