Cutting waste at the Sustainable Pantry
The Sustainable Pantry has opened this week in Waihi and the owners make reducing plastic packaging their priority.
Rachel Payne and Rebecca Cullimore are ditching as much as packaging as they can in their bulk food store and cafe.
Don’t expect to find single-use plastic bags — instead bring your own jar or container to fill with nuts, flour, spices and laundry products.
Rachel says the concept is not new but the issue of overpackaged food needs to be addressed.
“We used to have a similar bulk food store [Bin Inn] in town around 20 years ago. Nowadays, people want to change their way of consuming and they are pushing retailers for a change,” she says.
The team has also set up a kombucha — fermented tea — dispenser and will encourage people to bring their own cup.
Rebecca says people will be rewarded for bringing their own container.
“We don’t care if it is a reusable coffee cup, a drink bottle or other type of container, even if it is plastic, come in and fill them up.
“We’re not going to shame anyone for bringing a plastic container. They are already in the pantry so don’t throw them out but reuse them instead.
“If you bring your own, you will get discounts,” Rebecca says. They sell glass containers in store too.
Opening the store was to show their children a practical way to reduce packaging.
“As parent, the message is so strong to our kids and starts from kindy. Local kindies are really big on reducing their packaging and talking about environmental issues.
“[Less packaging] is the future and has to be,” Rachel says. Other businesses have also been conscious of plastic packaging and phasing out single use plastic bags.
Others — like Raw Artisan Market — provide fabric Boomerang Bags made locally by volunteers and reduce their food packaging.
Larger companies — like
Mitre 10 and New World supermarket — are phasing out single-use plastic bags, encouraging customers to bring their own bags or boxes.
According to the Ministry For the Environment an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic waste enters the global marine environment each year, with the most common being plastic, then food wrappers and containers followed by caps and plastic bags.
Industry estimates of current consumption in New Zealand of standard supermarket single-use shopping bags are 154 bags per person per year.
Owners of the Sustainable Pantry Rebecca Cullimore and Rachel Payne are asking customers to bring their own jars, cups and bottles into the store.