A Remarkable Market On The Journey To Zero Waste

Queenstown's Remarkables Market is a vibrant and welcoming hub, showcasing local produce, crafts and food, with an ambition to become New Zealand's first waste-free market.

Hear from more changemakers making a difference – watch another episode.

In this episode of From the Ground Up:

  • You’ll meet Sherryn, manager of Queenstown’s Remarkables Market, which is on the journey of becoming New Zealand's first zero waste market.
  • Discover how the Remarkables Market is saving thousands of pieces of waste from landfill, through initiatives like single-use free serveware and a mug library.
  • Learn how they’re inspiring vendors and visitors to minimise waste and join their zero-waste mission.

The Remarkables Market is a weekly market located at The Red Barn in Remarkables Park Queenstown. Overlooking the Remarkables mountain range, it’s a vibrant community hub for both locals and visitors. It’s the place to sample local produce, crafts and gifts, and enjoy live music over coffee and brunch with friends and family.

“We are really proud to be the first market in New Zealand to go single-use serveware free. We are trying to inspire people around the world to do what we are doing in our little corner of the world to keep it beautiful,” says Market Manager, Sherryn Smith.

Since opening, Sherryn and her team have been on a mission to minimise the waste produced by the weekly market.

“The Red Barn is actually a recycled helicopter hanger… we've also gathered a whole lot of recycled items from within the community, like the playground that came from a park in town. We encourage our store holders to use recycled products and really think about how they can recycle things on their stalls.

With multiple coffee carts and a popular smoothie stall, Sherryn noticed roughly 800 single-use cups were ending up in landfill each week equating to over 20,000 for a market season.

At the beginning of the 2017-2018 market season, the Remarkables Market made steps towards reducing their waste by purchasing a selection of second-hand cups from the local Salvation Army store for people to drink their coffee from as they explore the market. A cup stand was installed in a prominent location at the entrance to the market and market staff collected and washed the used cups by hand throughout the market day.

“We started our mug library to help reduce the single-use cups that were going into the rubbish bin 'cause we were getting sick of those! Other businesses in town have been taking it on board as well and now a number of cafes have mug libraries too.”

The 2019-2020 market season saw the Remarkables Market become New Zealand’s first market to ban single-use cups.

“It's a big shift, but we get a lot of positive feedback. A lot of people say they're gonna go home and talk to their local market about doing better.”

The Remarkables Market team still felt there was more they could be doing to work towards their goal of being a zero-waste market. Recently, they’ve collaborated with local initiative, DISHrupt to reduce waste from single-use serveware.

“DISHrupt have a library of dishes and cutlery that people can hire for events. We've offered them free on-site storage in return for using their enamel dishes and cutlery for our Saturday markets. And we’ve made a big push that store holders must use home compostable products.”

The next step for Sherryn and the Remarkables Market team is to look into how rooftop solar panels could help meet their energy needs.

“We've still got a whole heap of things we can do. Our sustainability journey is about helping keep Queenstown beautiful and getting people to think about what they're doing. Little changes can make a big difference.”

The Remarkables Market runs every Saturday from 9am - 2pm, October - April. Follow their journey here.

From The Ground Up video series digs deep into the stories of local businesses building a regenerative future within the Queenstown community. From pioneering world-firsts to grassroots initiatives, each episode celebrates those making a difference to the environment and their communities, from the ground up.

Hear from more changemakers making a difference to Queenstown’s environment and community – watch another episode.

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