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Sustainable shopping options abound in the Waikato

If you’re the kind of traveller who prefers to tread lightly on the planet during your journey, you’ll find the Waikato wonderfully in tune with your flow. Some seriously sustainable surprises await you in the Waikato: from food and drink produced in harmony with nature and pre-loved goodies waiting for their next relationship (go on - swipe right), to proudly home-grown Kiwi goods. Some sellers boldly buck the trend by limiting their packaging, or simply resist using it altogether, so be ready to bring your own reusable receptacles.

Environmentally friendly food producers

Enjoy delicious food, drink and nourishment from some of the most environmentally friendly producers in one of New Zealand’s key food producing areas.

Tomtit Farm

Location: Matangi Road, Matangi

Tomtit Farm’s friendly farmers up the freshness stakes with fare harvested and delivered the same day. To minimise carbon emissions they keep deliveries strictly local – within a 50 km radius. Variety and diversity are the name of their game, with certified organic vegetables, herbs, salad greens, micro-greens and flowers up for grabs. Visit in the summer for one of their heart-warming Pick Your Own Flowers days.

The Organic Food Shop (TOFS)

Location: Commerce Street, Hamilton

One half butcher one half baker, the team at TOFS pride themselves on producing weekly essentials good for the environment and good for you. All their food is made from scratch, using 100 percent organic ingredients (including love) to limit the impact on the environment. TOFS’s old school whole animal approach reduces waste to an absolute minimum by using every part of the animal that can be consumed. This means their beef, chicken, lamb and bakery delights are as environmentally friendly as it gets. They also offer a nationwide delivery service.

Volare

Locations: Empire Street, Cambridge; Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu; Gallagher Drive, Hamilton; Gordonton Road, Hamilton; Grey Street, Hamilton

Volare prepare exceptional handcrafted sourdough breads and beautifully baked biscuits, pastries and slices for restaurants, cafés and other purveyors of fine baking throughout the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. This ‘deliver local’ approach helps to minimise the distance their bread travels, reducing carbon emissions and ensuring it remains fresh when it arrives at its destination. They allow their sourdough culture to ferment for almost 24 hours to maximise the magic of their signature sourdough bread.

Fill Good

Location: Victoria Street, Cambridge

Holistic wholefood heroes Fill Good offer organic produce to suit diary-free, gluten-free, keto, vegan and all other lifestyles. Over half their high-quality products are served from bulk bins to cut down on avoidable plastic waste. Whether you’re after superfoods, sweets, or home cooking basics, Fill Good is the ideal place to fill up with good feels.

Wholly Cow Butchery

Location: Victoria Street, Cambridge

Want to discover exactly what a “local, circular, closed-loop, regenerative system” butchery is? Mooove along to Wholly Cow to witness the flavour fitness of their prime quality, ethically sound meat. They treat the farm as an eco-system and take a holistic view of land management, building up the nutrients in the soil with by-products of the butchery. This means the animals in their care play a part in the operation of the farm throughout their entire lifecycle. They also take a whole animal approach by using all parts of the animal and minimising wastage.

Kōwhai Creamery

Location: Broadway Street, Matamata

Serving up the cream of the crop from pasture to plate (or cone) in the form of gelato, sorbet and shakes are cool customers Kōwhai Creamery. The magic ingredient making their products extra special is the top-quality Jersey Girl Organics milk from the farm next door. Not only is the creamery’s main supplier as local as you can get, the farm’s cows are raised ethically and organically. If you’re into cool conscious confectionary, this is a great place to visit.

Shop Without Packing (SWOP)

Location: Bow Street, Raglan

Blazing a green trail with a zero-waste approach to packaging, this Raglan refillery sells tea, oils, herbs and spices, pancake and waffle mix and much more. Keep up to date with the latest delicious arrivals on their Facebook page.

Farmers’ Markets

Location: Waikato-wide

Looking for the freshest and finest local produce on offer? There’s a host of farmers’ markets throughout the Waikato where you can browse all manner of homegrown and homemade delights: from berry growers to boutique milk producers, honey to handicrafts and fresh fish purveyors from Raglan.

Champions of unique home-grown giftware, homeware and clothing

Businesses that sell local products produced in New Zealand keep what’s going round coming round.

Journey and Co

Location: Princes Street, Hamilton

From beard care, to baby beanies, to bilingual bingo, Journey and Co offers the ultimate selection of gift items with a plucky range of New Zealand-made products thrown into a mind-expanding mix of unique stuff that makes the perfect gift. Other perfect present picks in stock include wild hibiscus edible flowers, cards and wall art of all shapes and sizes.

Found Store

Location: Riverbank Lane, Hamilton

Found store offers sartorial and homeware treasures once lost, now found, and showcased for the discerning ethically conscious shopper. Found Store also features New Zealand, Australian and international sustainable brands. If you think you’ve walked into a high-end designer shop by accident you may well be dead right!

Soul Shoes

Location: Wallis Street, Raglan

Since 1973, Soul Shoes has carefully crafted long-lasting leather products styled with soul. Bags, belts, wallets, purses, footwear, homeware plus stylish folios for laptops, tablets and mobile phones are on offer with many goods made by hand. Recycled shoe boxes are used for all orders and you can choose to have 100% recycled conveyor belt soles. Soul Shoes supports sustainability by making quality products that are built to last.

Pre-loved goodies looking for a second chance

If someone else loved something once there’s potential to explore a new relationship – why not sweep those slippers off their feet!

Sew Love

Location: Raglan

Sew Love is led by an unstoppable sustainable sewing force called Sarah who magics up wonderfully unique garments from repurposed materials. She offers inspirational sewing lesson sessions at Raglan Community Hall as well as online – this could be “sew” you. At present you can buy her green-fingered creations only on her website.

Recycle Boutique

Location: Grey Street, Hamilton

Recycle Boutique are specialists in top-quality designer, vintage, and street-style pre-loved clothing - no rips, tears or smells allowed. Unearth some iconic treasures using only your nose for a bargain and your sense of style. Recycle Boutique can sell clothes on your behalf – you get 50 per cent of the sale price - what goes around comes around.

Browsers Books

Location: Riverbank Lane, Hamilton

Browsers is an expert buyer and seller of second-hand books ready to satisfy the requirements of the most demanding bibliophile. Rather than wasting energy and resources printing new books, Browsers has more than 25 years of experience helping extend the life of perfectly good books by bringing them to new readers. If there’s a book you’re after they’ll even put it on their watch list and keep an eye out for you.

Thrift’d Streetwear

Location: Casabella Lane, Hamilton

From the streets of the United States to the charming Casabella Lane comes pre-strutted sartorial style from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Pop in to take your wardrobe on a trip back through time. Taking your wardrobe on a trip back through time and investing in Thrift’d’s quality used clothing means you avoid wasting money on unnecessary brand new clothes. Keep up to date with the latest hand-picked old-school offerings on their Facebook page here.

SaveMart

Locations: Maui Street, Hamilton; High Street, Hamilton

Described on their website as “a bargain hunter’s heaven for those who want to look good”, Hamilton is blessed by two SaveMart stores out of 28 across the whole country. You’ll find designer fashions, street wear, family fashion, shoes, toys, books and bric-a-brac on sale. There’s a whole lot of pre-loved loving to be had in their huge warehouses so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to hunt those bargains down!

Va Va Voom Boutique

Location: River Road, Hamilton

A revved up high-end op shop offering up affordable designer and vintage labels, plus unique treasures such as collectable china and silver, plus classic bric-a-brac. Out of the nine op shops Hospice Waikato operates, Va Va Voom specialises in style classics hand-selected by their team of fantastic volunteers. An emporium of chic awaits you at Va Va Voom.

Hospice Megastore

Location: Lake Road, Hamilton

Another gem in the crown of Hospice Waikato’s repurposing programme, their megastore is renowned as being a one-stop op-shop where you can kit out not just your wardrobe, but your whole house too. They have a wide selection of pre-loved goods on offer: from clothes to books, records to furniture, appliances to all manner of home necessities looking for a new life of homely service.

Honourable mentions go to Hamilton’s Habitat For Humanity, Hospice Waikato, Red Cross, Salvation Army, SPCA, and St Vincent de Paul, which all do a brilliant job of making something out of nothing for a range of great causes.

Last but definitely not least, the eco-legends at Waipā District Council, zeroing in on zero-waste, have produced an ultimate guide to share all their sustainable shopping secrets. Check out the thoroughly brilliant and brilliantly thorough Collectors Anonymous guide and Zero Waste Waipā field guide covering eco-shopping opportunities in Cambridge, Kihikihi, Ōhaupō, Pirongia and Te Awamutu.