Kiwi op-shops drowning under deluge of unsellable junk

It's one of the most popular times of the year to declutter the house, but Kiwis clearing out en masse are taking a toll on op-shops.

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It’s costing them dearly, prompting a call for more discerning donations. Source: 1 NEWS

Secondhand stores are being inundated with useless, poor-quality items that need sorting and checking, prompting a request from Auckland Council to put more thought into charitable donations.

Tipping Point Recycling Shop, a secondhand store in the West Auckland suburb of Henderson, was established to stop items unecessarily heading to the dump.

People drop off anything and everything, from old skis, to clothing and pianos.

Staff on site repair items if needed before selling them.

Project manager Jon Morgan, also known as 'Green Jon', said the business turns over about 200,000 kilograms of stuff a year.

But the store's inundated at the moment, with Mr Morgan telling 1 NEWS it's a popular time for Kiwis to be cleaning out their homes.

"The whole site is under quite a bit of pressure," he said.

Showing 1 NEWS an area with trolleys overflowing with electronics, he explained they're all waiting to be checked.

"Seventy per cent of this will end up in the landfill," he said.

"Take your mind to the worst possible thing you can imagine.. and it comes into op-shops and places like this.

"We are probably fortunate here, because we have the council site over here and the really bad stuff will go over there - dirty mattresses, couches that animals have been sleeping on."

Other secondhand stores in the community usually have to find ways to dispose of unwanted items themselves.

Auckland Council's general manager for waste solutions, Parul Sood, said "they have to think about if it's crap, where do they dispose it of, and if it's an additional cost to them".

Ms Sood said stores also struggle with having limited space for storage.

She said it's important for people dropping over donations to think about whether it'd be worth someone else buying.

"It is checking what that product looks like - so you've got clothing, is it worth someone else wearing it?"

Clothes with holes or stains are thrown out, but Ms Sood says they can be taken to facilities that turn fabrics into rags.

She also recommended people calling op-shops ahead of dropping items off, to confirm they need the items on offer.

"If it is actually rubbish and you can't do anything with it, you can take it to a transfer station. Or in Auckland, you have the ability of collecting it from within your property, the inorganic collections."

The ultimate message, though, is for Kiwis to be more thoughtful about the full lifecycles of what they buy.

"The best way to de-clutter is to avoid waste in the first place," Ms Sood said.

Mr Morgan agreed, adding that he dreams of turning "zero-thought customers into zero-waste champions".

"We want people to value their goods - they last longer, then the landfill is not needed," he said.