Palace a far cry from the tip
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.’’