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Takeaway without throwaway

Christchurch coffee connoisseurs now have a convenient, environmentally friendly option for their daily takeaway coffee, with reusable cup sharing company Again Again launching its revolutionary system in the city.



Twenty-two cafés around Christchurch have joined the launch, including 16 Coffee Culture cafés, three Switch Espressos, Prima Roastery, XCHC and Procopé.

“Our mission is to make reuse as normal as the convenience of takeaway coffee,” Again Again Founder Nada Piatek says.

“People already want to do the right thing, now we’ve provided a system that makes that possible without sacrificing convenience.”

Again Again makes a fleet of reusable steel cups, silicone lids and cardboard heat sleeves available by deposit and return at participating cafés. Customers order their coffee as usual. They pay a $3 deposit when they ‘check out’ a cup, which is fully refunded when they return the cup to a participating café. Again Again then manages cup redistribution around its café network.

The company’s research suggests fewer than five percent of coffees are served in personal reusable cups, which require users to plan in advance, remembering to wash and bring their cups with them every time.

Again Again estimates its café network now diverts 50,000 cups from landfill every month or 600,000 per year, which Nada estimates will reach 800,000 once the new Christchurch café network is up and running.

Nada says the 295 million disposable cups that go to landfill every year in New Zealand is a problem worth solving. “Our mission is to make reuse normal by making it convenient.”


Get composting!

With the spotlight shining brighter on sustainability and climate change now more than ever, there’s never been a better time to give love to your garden. Nourish your plants/vegetables and recycle your food scraps at the same time with compost! Here’s a guide to get you started.




  1. First things first: a good structure to contain your compost heap. Compost bins are the go-to, but if you’re feeling creative then build your own – just make sure it has a cover. Choose a sunny, sheltered position for your compost system and ensure it is easily accessible.
  2. Next you’ll need a layer (no more than 10cm deep) of carbon-rich brown matter; we’re talking straw, twigs and small branches, dry leaves and cardboard.
  3. Add alternate thin layers of brown matter and green matter – grass clippings, vege scraps, manure and coffee grounds. Haven’t got the energy for layering? Just make sure there is a good mix of green and brown material.
  4. Add a little water with each layer to keep it moist, and mix with every few additions. The content of your compost bin should have the consistency of a damp sponge.
  5. Turn your compost every two to three weeks in order to facilitate aeration and faster decomposition. A well-maintained compost can be ready in six to eight weeks.
  6. Mature compost should smell earthy and be dark and crumbly. You shouldn’t be able to recognise any of the original components.




Sustainability in architecture: Allfrey + South

With interest growing in sustainable lifestyles, we caught up with architect Craig South of Allfrey + South Architects for his thoughts on the role architecture has to play in the sustainability equation.




Sustainability means different things to different people. As an architect, what does sustainability mean to you?
I think we all have our own ideas on what comprises a sustainable lifestyle. For some people, it has a lot to do with location and wanting to live close to where they work. For others, it may be about choosing a home with a smaller footprint or wanting to install solar panels. In our practice, we listen closely to our clients and are very happy to work with them to achieve their particular goals in this area.

Discussing sustainability in architecture might once have been considered a little unorthodox, but it is now an almost universal aspiration for people to want to live in well-insulated, energy-efficient homes. We live in a world where we have to make more sustainable choices and, as a practice, this is something we consciously and actively accept. We currently have a number of projects underway from alterations to new passive houses that set very high sustainability standards.

Why is sustainable architecture important?
We want to create beautiful architecture that people can enjoy living in, so there’s still a balance that needs to be struck. It would be a mistake to prioritise sustainability above all else but, of course, it makes absolute sense to include sustainability features because these result in warmer, drier, healthier homes that are more fun to live in. Who wouldn’t want that?

Rather than designing to code, we always aim well above that in terms of insulation, ventilation, solar heating and so on. It’s not just us being ‘eco-conscious’. Many of our clients want to go down this route because it makes so much sense. While above code projects may cost more upfront, the benefits are ongoing in terms of delivering power savings and a comfortable way of life. From a re-sale perspective, homes designed for sustainability will also remain more attractive in the long-term and continue to hold their value.

What is Allfrey + South’s approach to sustainability?
It is part of our baseline commitment to our clients and, by setting the bar high, we hope we can help inspire others to follow our lead. Fundamental elements of sustainable architecture include orientation that appropriately considers sun, shade and wind; and having high standards of insulation (including the slab) and ventilation. By ventilation, I don’t necessarily mean mechanical ventilation; good natural ventilation can be achieved through effective window design that promotes air flow and air quality. Recycled materials can come into the sustainability equation too, though often we find it is the heritage value of such materials that are particularly valued.

Fundamentally, we are guided by respect for our clients and will always work to achieve their lifestyle goals. How far we can go down the sustainability road is largely dependent on the conversations we have with them. It is a real pleasure to work with clients who are passionate about sustainability and want to share their journey towards a better way of life with us.


Architect Craig South
Craig South



Ministers launch sustainable living programme

Carbon emission, waste and pollution are in the spotlight as we seek to create a sustainable future for New Zealand.




Future Living Skills gathers and presents useful information from reputable sources to support behaviour change and consumer choices. The community education programme is now being made available for free online, making the quest for sustainability a far more palatable journey.

While earlier versions of the Sustainable Living Programme have run in participating councils for many years, a grant from the Ministry for the Environment through the Waste Minimisation Fund has enabled Future Living Skills to make its education materials accessible online, supporting Kiwis to generate less carbon, send less waste to landfills and less pollution to rivers.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage launched the nationwide roll-out of Future Living Skills in Christchurch on Friday 27 September, accompanied by Housing and Energy Minister Megan Woods.

“Future Living Skills begins with reducing waste and protecting waterways, and goes beyond,” National Coordinator Rhys Taylor says.

“Our learning guides help you to understand lower-carbon living, in your energy, travel and food choices and when homes are designed or renovated.”

A year ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that we have 12 years to drastically reduce global carbon emissions in order to stay below 1.5°C of warming, and Rhys says this was the turning point when the world began to wake up.

“Children started their School Strike for Climate Change and they continue that action across New Zealand. They recognise the urgent need for community education of their parents and grandparents, and they are expecting adults to catch up with the younger generation’s commitment to transition to a low carbon emission economy.”

Future Living Skills’ website provides information on eight topics, informed by science and independent of commercial bias. Evening courses and public workshops will continue to be available through member councils that have driven the programme in their districts, and others are expected to follow suit.

“Much information on global issues comes from unknown sources and is unreliable and sometimes deliberately fake, so providing reputable New Zealand-relevant information on reducing your footprint is important,” Rhys says.

“To take effective action on reducing waste, protecting water and avoiding global warming’s worst effects, we all need practical knowledge on how to get more from less,” Rhys says.

Future Living Skills gathers and presents useful information from reputable sources to support behaviour change and consumer choices. Member councils fund and check programme content, support local courses and can provide geographically specific information.

Try out the Future Living Skills learning guides for free by registering at




Waste-free Bathrooms

The bathroom wastepaper basket might soon be a redundant commodity as we go from wasteful to tasteful in the busiest little room of the house.



We look at tips to keep the bathroom a stylish, sustainable sanctuary – where consciences will also get a good clean.

Those plastic shampoo, conditioner, and beauty product containers all add up. Imagine what a family uses in a month – then do the maths. Thankfully, solid soap and beauty bars with recyclable cardboard packaging are a popular and evolving eco choice. And some innovative products are making it simple to start, and keep, a new sustainable habit.

Christchurch-based company Ethique, who has recently won the Westpac Champion Innovation Award, has deliciously scented, natural solid shampoo and conditioners that last and last – as well as cleansers, scrubs, moisturisers and serums. Solid beauty products are value for money too, as you’re not paying for extra packaging and fillers. And soap that comes in cardboard, or handmade varieties sold simply as is, are usually as good for your skin as they are the environment.





Favour the luxury of cotton facecloths, instead of disposable wipes. Loofahs, which come from a tropical vine of the cucumber family, are biodegradable and have long been a bathroom basic for expert exfoliation. Along with natural sea sponges, they also look great in the eco bathroom, blending with the trend for natural materials such as timbers and stone.

Bamboo for the bathroom is sustainable and affordable, and right at home here. Bamboo and wooden toothbrushes can replace all those colourful plastic ones that choke the landfill. Use bamboo cotton buds, and even hairbrushes or scrubbing brushes – along with natural wood, they create a spa-style Scandinavian vibe in the bathroom too.





For the sustainably serious, toothpaste can even be bought in a jar, or you can make your own all-natural concoction. Stainless steel safety razors should last a lifetime and replace another high-turnover item that has over-taken in its mainstream plastic form. Also, go for glass containers over plastic.

Ladies, consider reusable sanitary options like menstrual cups or reusable pads – this saves a mountain of plastic and packaging over time. Buy toilet paper in bulk to save on packaging, or change to a paper-packaged brand – and recycled toilet paper is even better. Choose the refill options of your favourite products, especially cleaners.




Try and use up what you already have in the house before buying more – for example those fancy soaps that have been given as presents. Be inventive and creatively recycle. Perhaps cut up old towels to make facecloths or to wrap around soap for a DIY lathering body scrub.

Online shopping sites such as are specialising in sustainable beauty products. And many owner/operator gift shops have sustainability top of mind when sourcing for their stores.

The fresh new focus on pure artisan eco beauty is luring us away from our no-longer-viable dependence on plastics. The bathroom is a great place to start cleaning up the planet.




Plant-based delivery extends reach: Green Dinner Table

Green Dinner Table has now successfully launched into Wellington, taking the Christchurch home delivery business to a whole new level.




The company sources fresh, locally sourced, plant-based ingredients, packages them up with delicious, easy-to-follow recipes, and delivers to their clients’ homes every Sunday, ready for the week ahead.

Already the concept is taking off in the nation’s capital, with residents raving about their Mexican-loaded Nacho Wedges, Gado-Gado with Canterbury Quinoa and Fermented Chilli, Cauliflower Steaks, and Crispy Orange Tofu with Sticky Rice.

The best part is, they’re consistently receiving new referrals as the popularity of the concept spreads by word-of-mouth.

The business was first set up by Christchurch friends Tom Riley and Cole Stacey in 2016.

Cole, a registered nurse, had already adopted a plant-based diet, and chef Tom had recently returned home after time spent working in kitchens throughout Sydney, Edinburgh and Toronto when they came up with the idea.

Fast-forward three years, and they’re now working out of the historic British Hotel in Lyttelton, passionate about introducing new flavours and cooking methods to the public.

Included in the delivery boxes – of which you can opt for either couple or family plans – are responsibly sourced local produce, restaurant-quality sauces, pastes and spice mixes that are made fresh weekly, and all ingredients are pre-proportioned, meaning less wastage. Where possible, all efforts have been made to include recyclable and biodegradable packaging.

For more information, or to find out how you can order your Green Dinner Table boxes, check out




Eco-sustainable sewage solutions: NaturalFlow South

Are you looking for a simple, environmentally friendly sewage treatment system that doesn’t require expensive, on-going maintenance?



The NaturalFlow system not only provides an eco-sustainable sewage solution and produces a high-quality result to treat wastewater, but also saves money and time. Keeping it simple is the company’s philosophy – using power-free, natural processes to treat wastewater. One of NaturalFlow South’s many satisfied customers say they came across the company after a large amount of research into septic systems for their new home in Glentui.

“Living off the grid with solar power meant that we had to make sure our system worked well for how we live and also how the system would fit into our property and lifestyle. The gravity-fed option was great as it has no need for any power at all. We have been very happy with NaturalFlow – from the initial quote with the owner to the patience of Carina with council consents delays.

“The guys on-site were great and even managed to put in the trench without any damage to trees or plants. We are also using NaturalFlow for a UV filter for our household water as we are on a rural water scheme. Couldn’t have asked for better!”

NaturalFlow South owner Kingsley Kepple sells and supplies NaturalFlow systems to a range of customers across the South Island, from farmers and lifestyle block owners to camping grounds and homestays.

Visit for more information or phone 03 323 8541.




Our CarbonNZero Hero: The Fermentist

A recent Purpose Business Report found that 70 percent of Kiwi millennials are prepared to make major lifestyle changes to reduce the impact of climate change, and 50 percent are now supporting/buying from ethical brands.



The Fermentist is a Christchurch-based craft brewery that our millennials can be proud of. In September they launched their first certified carboNZero beer, the Kiwi Pale Ale (KPA) – a first for them and a first for New Zealand. Their goal is to be the nation’s first fully carbon neutral beer brewery by 2020.

General Manager at The Fermentist, Simon Taylor, says that all emissions from the entire lifecycle of their KPA have been accounted for, “from the fertiliser that goes into growing the grain to the refrigeration of the product in the consumer’s home”.
The relatively small carbon footprint that remains is offset through carbon credits purchased from Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsula.

Head Brewer at The Fermentist, Kirsten Taylor, is passionate about supporting the local environment so she is thrilled to be getting in behind Hinewai Reserve. “Carbon sequestration is more than simply planting trees – it’s important that it is part of wider native forest regeneration efforts. That is what makes Hinewai so special and the perfect fit for The Fermentist,” she says.

If you think about it – that the beer in your hand has left no footprint on the world… that’s something close to magnificent!

Find The Fermentist at 380 Colombo Street, Sydenham, phone 03 363 8413 or visit




Walking the talk

Walking the talk and making changes one step at a time is Sara Templeton’s lifestyle for herself and family, the city she loves – and the planet.



After her role as Hagley Ferrymead Community Board Chairwoman, Sara was voted in as Councillor for the Heathcote Ward in 2016. Her new position was very motivating. “I was now in a job that I can really help make a difference in the wider community,” she says.

“I didn’t like the idea of puffing my way to work on a regular bike, but believed in the cycleways’ potential to cut emissions, so did some research and bought an e-bike. By car it’s 20 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic, but on my bike it’s 24 minutes every day.”

The e-bike gave some base fitness and adding in a little jogging led to her entering the 10km section of the Christchurch Marathon in 2017. Sara went from an overweight middle-aged mum with three to the healthiest she’s been in decades.

This January, Sara sold her own vehicle and now mainly cycles, busses or occasionally uses Yoogo Share – a shared 100 percent electric car fleet. “If we all didn’t use our cars for just one workday each week, it would bring Christchurch’s daily traffic numbers down by 20 percent.”

Taking her coffee KeepCup everywhere, she has only used six takeaway cups since being elected – and they’re drinks others have bought her. The Templeton family haven’t used plastic shopping bags for a decade – only cloth, mainly ones she makes. She uses solid-bar shampoos to omit plastic bottles, eats less meat, and buys organic where possible.

“Transitions are never easy when it comes to social movements and large-scale change,” she says. “For example, the Suffragette movement took three petitions before victory. We tend to over estimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we achieve in a generation.”

Now it’s on to the next personal goal. Sara made a pact to buy no more clothing for a year. “On average, an item of clothing only gets worn seven times. It has made me look into my wardrobe to find a few things I had forgotten about!

“My floral blazer from the Woolston Sallies and my Jane Daniels jacket from Time and Time Again in Sumner still get complements. We’re far more critical of ourselves than others are. No one really cares how often we re-wear something.

People may have noticed her necklace from social enterprise Bead and Proceed. Each coloured wooden bead represents one of 17 United Nations sustainable development goals. Sara chose five that represent what mostly matters to her – good health and wellbeing, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, and peace, justice and strong institutions.

The Coastal Pathway is where Sara recharges. She says the clear space on the wide, well-lit walk is so good for the brain. It’s here, or while cycling, that she now does her thinking, planning, and practising Te Reo.

“It’s the small things we do every day. It’s not all or nothing – it’s just making a change. And we don’t need to be perfect at everything.”



Environmental Eating

As food moves to the forefront of sustainability, we’re starting to look more critically at not just the nutritional content of our foodie buys, but their overall environmental impact too.



With our food – from what we eat to how it is grown – accounting for more carbon emissions than transport, our culinary innovators globally have been working tirelessly to play their part in rectifying industry-wide issues and seeking a more sustainable path.

We’ve already seen numerous operators removing single-use plastics, and this year we can expect to see a ton of new plant-based innovations focusing on sustainability, particularly highlighting nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies and even algae! Here are some of our favourites.



  1. ‘Ugly’ produce: Supermarkets and businesses aiming to reduce food waste are looking for different ways to utilise so-called ‘ugly’ produce – basically fruit and vegetables that aren’t ‘ready for prime time’. UK-based supermarket Tesco and US-based retailer Good Use have launched cold-pressed juices which utilise oddly shaped produce that would otherwise be destined for landfill, and locally, our very own Countdown has followed suit with The Odd Bunch, an initiative that packages ‘funny looking’ fruit and veggies at cheap prices – perfect for smoothies, soups and more!

  2. Seed butters: All hail the new nut butter! Perfect for people with nut allergies, seed butters are full to the brim with unsaturated fat, protein and tons of vitamins and minerals – plus they utilise the part of the fruit/vegetable that is commonly discarded. We’re seeing a bunch of creamy ‘butters’ made from every seed imaginable; pumpkin, sesame, poppy, sunflower, hemp – even watermelon!

  3. Essential oils: EPA and DHA are the primary omega 3s needed to support heart, brain, eye and maternal health, and this year they’re on the rise in the food and supplement arena, as is CBD (a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant) oil. Particularly gaining traction amongst vegans and vegetarians is algae oil, which is slowly appearing as the new superfood oil due to being a huge source of DHA – one tablespoon of algae oil packs the same amount of omega 3s as one whole avocado! As it is flavourless, it makes for a nutritious substitute for vegetable cooking oils like canola or sunflower.

  4. Blended burgers: The newest eco-food ‘blend trend’ is projected to mushroom this year, with chefs and food producers alike beginning to combine veggies and grains – such as lentils, mushrooms and quinoa – with meat for burgers that strike that perfect mark between plant-based and meat, offering non-vegetarians a tasty way to eat more plants. Blended burgers are flavourful, healthy and sustainable – the blended burger has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than a patty made of 100 percent meat. In 2018, more than 350 restaurants in the US served their take on the blended burger – and this movement is expected to grow far and wide across the planet.

  5. Gut health: A newfound appreciation for digestive and gut health is emerging, as we become increasingly aware of the powerful role the microbiome plays in both our physical and mental health and wellness. But it’s not probiotic pills that will be in the limelight this year, rather it’s foods and drinks jam-packed with pre- and pro-biotics that are expected to escalate in popularity – particularly items with ‘shelf-stable probiotics’, like pastas and breakfast foods (Kellogg’s is already introducing a new line of pre- and pro-biotic cereals!). Fermented foods full of these necessary bacteria (kimchi, kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut) are predicted to continue to make their well-deserved appearance on supermarket shelves over the next year.