Green Living

These are the best recycling centres to get a bargain from

Eco-writer, Fi and her fellow magpies share some of the recycling centres turning trash into treasure at landfills around the country


When I first moved back to Auckland after living in the South Island, I was shocked to find that there weren’t more recycling centres in the region – places I had come to love and support in cities such as Dunedin and Nelson.

Thankfully, I eventually discovered a few gems, and the number of ‘dump shops’ (as they are affectionately known) has been growing ever since as more landfills are converted into recycling centres by Auckland Council. With another set to open in Onehunga next year, and plans to have 12 community recycling centres across Auckland by 2024, reusing and repurposing in the region is only getting better.

Some of these shops are also making use of technology – Devonport Community Recycling Centre and The Tipping Point at Waitakere Refuse & Recycling Centre both post items for sale on their Facebook pages.

– Finder’s Fi, @fiona_ralph

Nelson & Motueka

Stop at the Motueka and Nelson recycle centres for bargains on furniture, ceramics and bric-a-brac. If you’re prepared to sort through the clutter, you’ll be rewarded with amazing finds. I’ve bought couches, a sewing machine, ornaments and more at these spots.

– Finder’s Fi, @fiona_ralph

Alexandra & Wanaka

Simply the best op-shopping experience I have had! The shops are within junkyards and there are containers dedicated to each category, eg men’s clothes, furniture, sporting goods, kitchenware. The saying ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ doesn’t apply here – they have sinks and anything else people throw out that could be reused. At Wastebusters, they work towards zero waste through reduction, reuse and recycling, so shopping there doesn’t just mean you can discover treasures for your home, you’re also supporting a great initiative and helping the planet.

– Alice Pearson, @pearsonandprojects

  • Wastebusters, Ballantyne Road, Wanaka, and Boundary Road, Alexandra


Just a few metres from the Invercargill dump, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore is an amazing place to find a bargain. It’s the only place a friend and I were able to locate cassette tapes after a long hunt around op-shops. They have a massive selection of furniture and, since it’s such a big store, it’s the perfect spot to hunt for outdoor treasures like kids’ trikes. Because people can drop items here for free, instead of paying to dispose of them at the neighbouring dump, there is an amazing selection for sale.

– Jenna-lee Shave, @snapsbyshave


In selecting my favourite secondhand stores, I wanted to honour the incredible mahi that goes into sorting, cleaning, educating and inspiring communities at recycle centres around Aotearoa. Often tucked away, never on main streets, these are real treasure troves of recovered resources and are well worth scoping out to find gems and support their awesome zero-waste kaupapa.

– Sarah Lancaster, @sewlovenz

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Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Florence Charvin, Wendy Fenwick.

This article was first published in Your Home and Garden. Follow YHG on Instagram, Facebook and sign up to the fortnightly email for inspiration between the issues.

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