Staff at the Rotorua store ditching its Coca-Cola products say they have been overwhelmed by the public reaction to their stand.

Okere Falls Store announced this week it will be removing its Coca-Cola fridge from mid-next month, citing environmental and health concerns behind its decision.

The fridge not only contains fizzy drinks but also other products owned by Coca-Cola, including Powerade and Kiwi Blue water.

"We were not expecting it to get this much traction, it has been quite surprising," office admin Kimi Chater said.


A notice posted outside the store and on its Facebook page said the team believed "what you drink should not only taste good, it should be good for the land".

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It said plastic bottles took more than 500 years to break down and poisoned the environment and wildlife.

Okere Falls Store near Rotorua. Photo/File
Okere Falls Store near Rotorua. Photo/File

For every six plastic bottles bought, only one was recycled. The manufacture of plastic bottles also caused pollution, the post said.

"Put it simply - plastic bottles are an environmental nightmare at every point of their existence."

The notice said fizzy drinks should be without preservatives, phosphoric acid and colouring and with "nothing that you can't pronounce and not loaded with sugar".

Ms Chater said the store owner Sarah Uhl and staff were completely on board with the decision.

"Sarah returned from the World Rafting Championships in Indonesia on a mission after seeing the harmful effects of plastic. She wanted to do more and this store was a good place to start because we already stand for being as sustainable and organic as we can as well as being health-conscious.


"We looked at our stock reports to see how much Coke products we were selling compared with low sugar products and those were really holding their own against coke.

"Unfortunately we can't completely get rid of plastic because we make coffee so have milk bottles but this is a step forward to raise awareness and maybe someone in the milk industry will come out with a plastic alternative."

One of the store's regular customers, Keith Hughes, said he backed the move.

"I have been coming here since it opened and to me, this decision is a no brainer.

"I haven't had a Coke in about 50 years so that aspect doesn't worry me too much but plastic sucks and this move is a start."

Another customer, Patricia Lunt, said anything in favour of the environment and curbing childhood obesity was brilliant.

"I hope it snowballs because it's a win for any business that takes up a flag for children."

By this morning more than 800 people had reacted to the Facebook post, 288 had shared it and 79 commented.

Many responses were positive with one congratulating the store for setting an example and another supporting its vision for a healthy environment and healthy people.

From mid October we will no longer be stocking Coca-Cola products! Here's why......

Posted by Okere Falls Store on Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Other commenters suggested selling Coca-Cola in glass bottles or offering a plastic recycling service.

One questioned why the store was singling out Coca-Cola rather than other companies that sold drinks in plastic bottles.