A mortuary table is not only one of the strangest items to pass through the nation’s largest recycling store, but one of the fastest to find a buyer.
“It sold out on the same day, which is fascinating,” said Darryl Jellyman, who manages the tipping point inside the Auckland council’s Waitākere waste transfer and recycling station in Henderson, in West Auckland.
The mortuary table tops a list of faster items that are picked up by the hundred or so patrons a day who visit the sprawling center, where one person’s trash becomes another’s treasure.
“Lumber sells very well, as do general household items, such as pots and pans, plates, appliances and tools,” Jellyman said.
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Tipping Point’s product line is wider than any retailer – from boats and building materials to clothing, sporting goods, paint, lawn mowers and unused popcorn machines.
Everything is not snapped up. “Bathroom fixtures, toilets… people don’t seem to like used toilets,” Jellyman said.
There is the strange gem. A local painting, for example.
“It was St Mary’s Church in Parnell. The original had been sold to a collector of [United Kingdom], and he had run 200 draws to fund the retention. He got a good price, ”he said.
The Tipping Point has a more serious purpose than just being a source of good business.
Auckland Council estimates the store has kept 222 tonnes of waste out of landfills and is the flagship of a network of nine community recycling centers, some of which are growing.
Last year, Trust employees who checked general waste at the transfer station prevented 8,658 tonnes of waste from going to landfill by diverting materials such as steel, glass, wood and concrete towards recycling.
The Tipping Point store is operated as a social enterprise by the Henderson South Community Trust.
It has about a dozen full-time and part-time employees, and for some, having a job has been life-changing.
“One or two haven’t worked in their adult lives. It’s their first job at the age of 30 or 40 – it’s huge, ”said Trust CEO Kathryn Lawlor.
“They are either long term unemployed or, due to drug or alcohol history, mental health or maybe literacy was a challenge,” she said.
“For the trust, the income to self-finance our own projects is quite important. “
Tipping Point’s mix of social enterprise and recycling appeals “to everyone, from those who don’t have too much money to spend, to collectors looking for specific items,” Jellyman said.
“We had some collector’s artwork that sold for great prices.
“People travel from afar. “
While Thing was there, customers included a trader who bought lawn mower collectors and tools for his stall at a weekend market.
Community recycling centers received a boost in 2020 with $ 10 million in funding from the Department of the Environment to add new centers and support their expansion.
They are part of a larger Auckland Council strategy to have zero waste by 2040.