Tip Shop treasure trove back open for business

11 June 2020

The saying one person’s trash is another person’s treasure may be cliché, but it sums up nicely the ethos of the Southern Landfill Tip Shop.

Exterior of Tip Shop.
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Over the years, the popular opportunity store has provided a second life to many weird, wacky, and wonderful items destined for the rubbish.

A massive painted portrait of former prime minister Helen Clark, a coffin, and a pair of spectacles thought to be more than 200 years old are just a few of the interesting finds that have made their way through the Tip Shop’s doors.

From today [11 June] the Tip Shop will be open regular trading hours, with staff ready to welcome back keen bargain hunters following the Covid-19 lockdown. The store has been given a freshen-up, with a newly painted floor, a rearrange, and a good clean and tidy.

Recycle Centre Manager Shelali Shetty says it’s exciting to be open again, however she encourages people not to all rush to the shop and Recycling Centre at once. 

Two Tip Shop staff members holding a chair.

“We know lots of people spent time during lockdown having a clear-out of their houses, garages and sheds. Lots of our customers have been asking when the Tip Shop will open, so we are anticipating a spike in visitors.

“If possible, we kindly ask that you either delay your visit or come to the Tip Shop during weekdays when we are not so busy.”

The Tip Shop employs 14 fulltime, part-time, and casual staff.  As the Tip Shop is not rates funded, the revenue goes back into covering operational costs.

Shelali says to reach a wider customer base, the Tip Shop team auction off various items through the Tip Shop Trade Me account.

“The items we tend to focus on are general items like sewing machines, turn tables, amplifiers, laptops and PlayStations.

Interesting looking picnic table condiment holder.

“We also receive a lot of old-school tools that you don’t really find anymore, so we clean those, polish them, and on-sell them on Trade Me. However, in saying that, we do try and maintain a balance of stock between Trade Me and the Tip Shop so everyone gets a pick.”

Currently listed on the Trade Me account is a pair of steel-framed spectacles with horn or tortoiseshell inserts, a style commonly seen in the 1700s and known as Martin’s Margins.

Shelali, who has been working at the Tip Shop for four years, says in the past people have donated damaged items such as mouldy curtains and broken china, but it’s time this changed.

“The team have pretty much always taken in everything because we have a lot of varied customers who visit our site, from artists to construction workers and builders – you name it. What we have been failing to sell is really low value items, such as plastic containers.

“We want to start receiving only things that add value and fit well with the waste hierarchy, where they can be reused and stay in a customer’s house for say five to ten years instead of six months, only to be thrown out again.”

For the time being, the Tip Shop will also not be accepting any textiles, including clothing, curtains, mattresses and upholstered furniture, as these are difficult to clean. The rule around accepting textiles will be reviewed in a month.

A Tip Shop staff member welcomes customers.

Wellington City Council Waste Minimisation Manager Jennifer Elliott reminds people to please ensure all donated items are clean and fit for purpose.

Cash payments will be accepted in the Tip Shop, contact tracing measures are in place, and there is a new layout in the parking area, including new pedestrian walkways. Jennifer says staff will be on hand to advise and assist customers.

“If people want to drop off items to the shop, they should use the left lane to access the drop-off area. Please avoid parking and walking across the car park with donations.

“People visiting the shop or the recycling banks can access these via the right lane. However, the area in front of the recycling banks is for dropping off recycling only, not for parking. 

"If you plan to shop but also have items for recycling, we suggest you visit the shop first and then drive round to the recycling banks before you leave the site.”

The Tip Shop is open Monday to Saturday, 8.30am - 4.30pm, and Sunday 9am - 4.30pm. Please note that drop offs for donations and e-waste will close at 2pm each day.

Keep an eye on the Tip Shop Facebook page for any updates.