News | 29 November 2022

Tip Shop celebrates being pick of the litter for 25 years

The Tip Shop will be celebrating 25 years of turning trash into treasure with a week of birthday specials that don’t cost the earth.

Staff at the Tip Shop in front of the store

Started by a couple of locals in 1997, it became part of Wellington City Council’s tip operations after a couple of years where it was originally run by two staff but has expanded to a team of 20 today.

Over a quarter of a century the shop has sold countless weird and wonderful items including a wicker coffin, a Helen Clark portrait on a plywood sheet recovered from the landfill and auctioned for charity, and over 5,000 working laptops.

More than 500 cars pass through the drop-off area on a busy weekend, the shop has stocked over 2000 TVs for recycling this year alone, and the team has supplied household items for 22 refugee background families.

The Tip Shop has its own Instagram and Facebook accounts and reaches a wide audience through Trade Me. The Trade Me site focuses on electronics and quirky, often vintage, items, one of which was a pair of 18th century Marten’s Margins spectacles which sold for an unprecedented $8,150 – and earned widespread media coverage.

The Tip Shop is as much a community hub as it is a centre for recycling, reusing and repurposing says Waste Minimisation Manager Jenny Elliott.

“We’re proud to offer a sense of community to customers from all walks of life – some of whom have been visiting the Tip Shop since the beginning, and many come in two or three times a week.

“We’re now diverting around 1,000 tonnes per year to reuse or recycle, and we’re going from strength to strength, diversifying our activities and focussing on repair and reuse whenever possible.

“These are just a few of our achievements – we have small wins everyday – so make sure to come visit us and pick up a pre-loved treasure for yourself or Christmas presents for the whole whānau.”

Recycle Centre Manager Shelali Shetty is always on the lookout for other opportunities to support their goals.

“We love to collaborate, and we encourage anyone who has an idea and they’re looking for resources to get in touch.

“We already work closely with Sustainability Trust, Hopper Refill, Maker’s Space and several other like-minded organisations – and are always open to work with more.”

The Tip Shop will have some super 25th birthday specials up for grabs from 18-24 December, so don’t miss out, and grab some bargains that won’t cost the earth this Christmas.

Wide angle lens landscape of Tip Shop interior
Photo credit Andy Spain

A bit of Tip Shop history

  • The first Tip Shop initially started when a recycling officer from the Council cleansing department came up with the idea to set one up in 1997.
  • A shed was sourced from the disused Council Wilton department and put up in place on the site of what was the old car pound along with another building which is now staff offices.
  • The Tip Shop continued with some locals managing it but closed about a year later.
  • Council’s Citilandfill’s team then took it over and expanded the recycling bin station and site.
  • One of the two Council staff working at the shop was a member of the Capital trout club at the time, and he campaigned for the trout pond which was built by Landfill staff near the site shortly after.
  • When Citioperations planned to move to the landfill from its Torrens Terrace site the Tip Shop was moved to its current location in 2005.