A world of wonder and purpose

9 October 2020

For the passionate and hardworking staff at the Tip Shop, it’s much more than just a job.

A staff member at the Tip Shop collecting a box of donations from a man and a woman, with a quirky sailor life-sized model as well as other random items in shot.
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They don’t just turn up to get paid – they are there to make a difference – to people and to the planet.

“Not everyone wants to buy new, and not everyone can afford to buy new,” says Team Leader Jemma.

“It’s important to offer those alternatives that are affordable to people who can’t [afford full-priced items] or want something with character or with a history in it.”

Jemma says the shop’s mission is simple – to provide resources and encourage resource reuse and recovery, while still being a functional business.

And as a business, it’s certainly not your usual one.

All manner of extraordinary and curious objects regularly find their way to the Tip Shop, based at Wellington’s Southern Landfill.

If you’re a collector of vintage WWF wrestling action figurines, you can score a bunch listed on the Tip Shop’s Trade Me account, providing you beat the current bid of $255.

Resource Recovery Officer Ray – who the Tip Shop team endearingly call Uncle – says he was super surprised to discover a massive portrait of a former prime minister, which was dropped off at the shop a while back.

“When I first saw it, it looked like three pieces of plywood, and in my mind straight away I thought ‘oh someone could use that plywood’.

“Then when he pulled it out he kind of showed me and said ‘this is actually a painting’. I said, ‘is it? Give us a look’ – it was Helen Clark.”

Resource Recovery Officer Amy recalls an absurd cow collection – “boxes and boxes” of cow jugs, cow salt and pepper shakers, and the like.

Tip Shop customers browse the items on offer, including books and records.

And there was once a coffin that turned up, and more recently a pair of rare antique spectacles that sold for $8,200 on Trade Me.

“I just don’t know where people get this stuff from, but it ends up at the Tip Shop,” Jemma says.

The Tip Shop accepts donated items that people no longer want, but are still in usable condition, and gives them a second life.

Ray says if the store wasn’t there, countless worthy items would all be in the landfill.

Amy says the shop is about caring for the environment, while at the same time giving customers a good deal.

The Tip Shop is currently recruiting. Check out the video to find out what it is like to work there.