News | 26 April 2024
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Things heating up at the Tip Shop

Over the past few years, Wellington City Council has been upgrading its heating across social housing, creating a surplus of heaters. Instead of ending up in the landfill, over 400 heaters have been diverted to the Tip Shop, where they are tested or fixed to be sold at an affordable cost so everyone can have access to warm and dry housing.

Person in high vis standing infront of a shipment of heaters.
Electrical Testing & Compliance Officer Mohit Shah with a batch of heaters from Council housing.

Project Manager of Housing and Capital Projects Casey Zhang says that the surplus of heaters has come from the Healthy Homes Standard, which introduced specific and minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress, drainage and draught stopping in rental properties. These standards create warmer drier homes for tenants, improving their health outcomes.

“All the different homes in social housing are different, so we’ve had a range of different heating requirements to work through. Some need heat pumps, others need top-up heaters. For the ones with new heat pumps, they don’t need their old heaters anymore. We’ve removed the ones in good condition and moved them to a storage facility so that we can repurpose them. 

“We ended up getting in touch with the Southern Landfill and Tip Shop teams to figure out the best way to recycle these. A lot of the heaters are only a few years old and we didn’t want them to sit around and not be used.”

Not many people are aware that at the Southern Landfill, e-waste is collected separately, and a lot of the items are salvageable. Recycle Centre Manager Shelali Shetty says that they have specialist staff who can check through the appliances and trial them before they end up on the shop floor.

“We have a tag and test officer on site who can ensure appliances are safe to be re-used, you must be certified to do this role. There is so much that goes to waste, and they just need to be fixed to have a second life.

“With the heaters, we check that there are no sparks coming from the item and then we run it for a few hours. We see how quickly they heat up, and if there are any knobs and buttons that don’t work. It’s a very thorough process.”

Tip Shop appliances on a shelf.
Tried and tested appliances for sale at the Tip Shop.

The idea came about to deliver the surplus heaters to the Tip Shop in batches from the storage facility, so they can be recycled and sold at an affordable price, with some being priced around $8.

Shelali explains that just because an item is second-hand, doesn’t mean it isn’t in good condition. The most important thing is to keep your home healthy, especially as the days are getting colder.

“We want people to know that there is no judgement, and everyone can access these items, no matter your financial situation. People can actually save money by buying one quality item once and then looking after it. We take a lot of care to make sure the items work well, and this allows us to have affordable options so everyone can be warm at home.”

At the Tip Shop, they are doing what they can for a zero-waste future. 

“We know that we won’t be able to reduce 100 percent of waste, but the Tip Shop exists because we know the quality behind second-hand!”

Find out more about how you can make your home healthier and more energy efficient on the Sustainability Trust website.  Or, visit the Tip Shop.