Palace a far cry from the tip

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

Hid­den away on Bro­ken Hill Road, Porirua, sits a jewel in the city’s crown - Trash Palace.

The pur­pose-built re­cy­cling de­pot, made out of re­cy­cled ma­te­rial, has been a pop­u­lar fea­ture of the Spicer Land­fill since 2002, pro­vid­ing the wider Welling­ton com­mu­nity with an al­ter­na­tive to dump­ing un­wanted goods.

In­stead of clut­ter­ing the land­fill with cloth­ing, suit­cases, stereos, skis, even lawn­mow­ers, peo­ple swing by the de­pot’s drop-off point to check if their item is in good enough con­di­tion to be­come some­one else’s prized pos­ses­sion.

Trash Palace man­ager Mar­ion Ton­gariro says if you can name it, you will prob­a­bly find it at the de­pot.

Since re­open­ing in April last year, the 12 staff have saved be­tween 600 and 700 tonnes of goods from end­ing up in the land­fill. Ton­gariro es­ti­mated about 30-40 tonnes had to be dumped.

‘‘Land­fill­ing is our last op­tion, so we will try to get rid of some­one’s old and used items in some other way.

‘‘But in the past 12 months, up un­til the end of March this year, we have re­cy­cled 95 per­cent of ev­ery­thing that we have ac­cepted here. I al­ways say to peo­ple ‘ imag­ine if what was in here was in the land­fill in­stead’?’’

The Palace was es­tab­lished as a way to di­vert waste from the land­fill, but shut its doors when the then­op­er­a­tors, Mana Re­cov­ery Trust, went into vol­un­tary liq­ui­da­tion in 2015.

It sat empty for a year un­til Christchurch-based Metal­lic Sweep­ing signed a con­tract with the Porirua City Coun­cil.

The goods are given a once-over be­fore be­ing ac­cepted and on-sold, or re­paired and re-used, but any­thing that can’t - like white­ware, tele­vi­sions and com­put­ers - is bro­ken down and taken to the tip.

Re­cently, Porirua Whi­tireia IT stu­dents have part­nered with the de­pot to pro­duce an on­line in­ven­tory sys­tem that will en­able staff to keep track of items.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the pro­ject will show cus­tomers whether the part they need is avail­able, and aims to im­ple­ment an or­der and pay on­line sys­tem.

‘‘We have reg­u­lars that visit us ev­ery day, and I would say that the shop staff know about 95 per­cent of peo­ple by name,’’ Ton­gariro said. ‘‘We get peo­ple who come in just for a chat.’’

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