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Be Green When Travelling in New Zealand

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NZ Pocket Guide is 10 years old. Thank you for trusting us with your trip for over a decade!

How to Be Environmentally-Friendly When Travelling in New Zealand

New Zealand is environment-conscious. As a nuclear-free country, New Zealand is aiming to use 100% renewable energy by 2050. The least we travellers can do is travel responsibly in an eco-friendly way. Find out how to be environmentally friendly when travelling in New Zealand in this guide.

Even the simplest things can help make you environmentally friendly when travelling in New Zealand, such as the amount of energy we use in hostels, recycling to save money and energy, and thinking about our transport options. We’ll go through it all in the article below.

How to Be an Eco-friendly Traveller

It’s as simple as transferring what you might do at home to when you are travelling.

  • Recycle plastics, tin, glass and paper using recycle bins
  • Swap books and clothes with fellow travellers
  • Reuse water bottles and bags
  • Don’t litter
  • Walk, cycle or use public transport
  • Save energy in the hostel by switching lights off, cooking meals with other travellers and washing full loads in the washing machine.

Oh, and check out our 31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in New Zealand for more tips.

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Recycle and Reuse!

A good way to save money and the environment is by reusing water bottles and bags. There’s no need to keep getting new plastic bags when shopping. Some supermarkets in New Zealand, like Pakn’Save, charge you for using their plastic bags.

With so many recycling bins in hostels, on the streets, and recycling collection from homes, there’s no excuse not to recycle plastics, glass, paper and tin!

When you’re travelling for a long time, it might come to a point where you want to get rid of some clothes. Do a clothes-swap with fellow backpackers or take your clothes to a second-hand store like the Salvation Army. For more ways to get rid of spare clothes, head to 7 Ways to Get Rid of Your Excess Luggage Before You Leave New Zealand.

Most hostels have a book exchange, where you can leave a book and pick up another one to read.

What is the Environmental Impact?

Recycling helps reduce harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases caused by waste.

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Don’t Litter

Littering anywhere in the world is a bad move. In New Zealand, you’ll have lots of opportunities to explore the national parks, perhaps go camping, or take a Great Walk. Make sure to take all rubbish out of the park with you until you find a bin.

What is the Environmental Impact?

Littering not only looks bad but can be harmful to wildlife as animals and birds that get trapped in the litter or choke. It can also pollute waterways.

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Use Public Transport

There are lots of public transport options in New Zealand, from plane to train. But buses are your largest network here, connecting you to the majority of towns and cities in New Zealand.

Public transport is not only the more eco-friendly option, but it saves on costly fuel.

Better yet, walk or cycle! For more information on public transport, take a look at our Transportation category.

What is the Environmental Impact?

Taking public transport means fewer cars on the road, which means less greenhouse gas emissions. Yay!©

Be Green in Your Accommodation

We have gone through recycling bins and exchanging books in accommodations such as hostels, but there are other ways you can be more environmentally-friendly in your accommodation. You’ll notice that New Zealand accommodations have signs everywhere to switch off the lights when you leave a room makes sense. Also, when using the washing machines, put in a full load rather than lots of small loads. Or, team up with someone else to wash your clothes and cook meals. This saves money and energy.

If you are using other forms of accommodation like camping, then limit your environmental impact with these 11 Golden Rules of Camping in New Zealand.

What is the Environmental Impact?

The main resources of energy and non-renewable. The more we waste, the quicker we’ll run out.

Other Ways to Be Environmentally-friendly

The stunning forests, lakes and sea are some of New Zealand’s main attractions. That’s why it’s important to look after them when we visit. Here are some articles with some hand eco-tips.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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