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Kiwi consumers changing to greener shopping habits

By Carly Gooch Default Admin | 01 Mar 2020 12:25

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New Zealand consumers are changing the way they shop as environmental awareness grows. 

Bulk bins are soaring in popularity, eco-stores are seeing a surge in customers and more people are repairing before replacing goods.

Consumer New Zealand's latest survey revealed shoppers were making an effort to reduce their environmental impact.

It showed 47 per cent surveyed "always" or "usually" tried to get products repaired, 52 per cent "always" or "usually" tried to avoid products with too much packaging and 88 per cent were taking reusable bags shopping most of the time - with all figures up from the same survey two years ago.

Bin Inn group business manager Trevor Craig said there had been a "significant" increase in customers over the last 18 months.

Bin Inn is a nationwide stockist of wholefoods and speciality groceries which encourages customers to use their own containers and bags to fill from the bulk bins.

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Local shopper Monique Wijnen takes her own containers to the Nelson Organic Co Op.

He said it was obvious Kiwis were becoming "very environmentally aware and eco-friendly".

But he said some parts of the country were quicker on the uptake, with smaller regions catching on more than the metropolitan areas. 

"Places like Auckland, it's a different lifestyle, they're always in a hurry ... so they're probably slower to adapt."

Meanwhile, Nelson residents are keen to reduce, reuse and recycle where they can. 

Nelson's The Pantry Door owner Phillipa Ashton was passionate about sustainability before climate change was in the public eye. 

Ashton said Nelson had been a "hub for alternative thinking" since the 1970s and with this in mind, three years ago she bought the business which offers bulk bin options, local products and ethical trading.

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Bin Inn has seen an increase of customers around the country as people become more environmentally conscious. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF

In the last six months she said there had been noticeably more trade, with new customers every day.

"It's been really big, to the point where we struggle to keep bins full." 

She said people were starting to realise that climate change was happening on their doorstep.

"This is going to affect our region, so all of us have to make changes, not just a few hippies."

Nelson Environment Centre manager Anton Drazevic said there was a definite change in behaviour, moving towards "the 'R's" which included refusing single use, reducing consumption, repairing before replacing, "and as a last option, recycle".

"We can thank the children for this one."

He said young people's global response to climate change had made people pay attention.

Customers were taking an interest in replacement products at Nelson's Organic Co-Op and Environment Centre across the board, "from women's health care products to cleaning products, to using your own containers".

"One of our most popular products, believe it or not, is biodegradable bags for pet poo - it shows you how people are thinking."

Although everyone could make small changes to help the planet, Drazevic said it was "more expensive to be eco-friendly at the moment".

"If you look at the product bell curve, that's what it's always like being an early adopter, and we're still in the early adoption phase of eco products."

But it wasn't about making consumers feel guilty about their choices, he said. 

"It's about encouraging people on a pathway on their own journey to finding a better balance with the products and services that they consume."

Source: Stuff

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