Cut­ting waste at the Sus­tain­able Pantry

Waihi Leader - - News - By MELANIE CAMOIN news@wai­

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.

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