One man’s trash is another’s treasure!

Ruby Arthur from Chrome Collective with some plants to on-sell. Photo: supplied.

The first month of a resource recovery trial in Katikati has seen more than eight tonnes of reusable items dropped off by the local community.

Despite this, organisers say they want to keep up the momentum – feeling many Western Bay of Plenty residents still don’t know they exist, and what for.

Chrome Collective is running the Resource Recovery Centre trial onsite at Katikati Recycle Centre from 9am-4pm Thursdays and Saturdays until August 31.

The trial is a collaboration between Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Chrome Collective Charitable Trust, which offers training, employment and advocacy to people with disabilities, to integrate them into the wider community.

WBOP residents can drop off unwanted goods for free at the Resource Recovery Centre to be repurposed, dismantled or re-used instead of sending them to landfill.

Chrome Collective operations manager Sharaine Steenberg says the trial has been incredibly well received.

“There’s so much positivity and the eight tonnes [in four weeks] is way more than we expected.”

Most common donated are fridges, freezers and e-waste like printers, TVs and computers.

“We might have all of Katikati’s sound systems in our shed at the moment,” jokes Sharaine, who says they’re also receiving sporting equipment, garden and power tools, and furniture.

A ride-on lawn mower and a retro lounge suite came in during the first week – now 250 cars go through the gate on drop-off days.

“We’re looking for reusable items – we’re not a transfer station or a dump – but we can take reusable stuff and upcycle or fix it.

If people are unsure what they can bring, they can contact us on Facebook, send us photos of items and we’ll be able to say if it’s something we can take or not.”

In the last week the centre even started to rescue plants.

“Instead of having to pay to drop off greenwaste, I can take, water, replant them – now we’re able to sell them back.

"We’re adding services as we go.”

Chrome Collective has also been able to start introducing its crew into the services.

Ruby Arthur from Chrome Collective and Tony Taylor from Career Moves sort through donations. Photo: supplied.

“They – people with disabilities – are helping us do a lot of sorting and fixing things.”

The idea is that funds from upcycling and on-selling donated items will go back to Chrome Collective – to keep providing its training, employment, and advocacy service to people with disabilities, to integrate them into the wider community.

“Ultimately the reason behind it all is for us to save the planet, but also to create long-term employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

"It’s a win-win story for all!”

Chrome has partnered with the Seagull Centre, which collects most of the items and retails them in Thames, as Katikati Resource Recovery Centre doesn’t currently have a retail facility.

The trial will test the project’s feasibility and determine if the centre can open a retail facility on-site.

“Our numbers are very stable [so far]...but people need to keep on with the momentum and tell everyone about it!”

The trial is made possible with a waste minimisation levy WBOPDC receives from the Ministry for the Environment.

To find out what you can donate, email:

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