Interviewers: What inspired you to start all this? This entire area?
Annette Wiles: I’ll start with the Recycling Shop. This used to be a repair shop and it wasn’t financially viable, so instead of continuing to go downhill and this costing us money, we closed it down and came up with this idea. Which we thought would be good, as it gives us another element to this shop; it’s a place for the girls; it’s clothing; it’s bits and pieces; some knick-knacks; ideas on what to do with things.
Interviewers: Where do you get all your items?
Annette: In the general yard, the items are dropped off in the recovery area, which is near the landfill entrance. And the idea of the Recycle Shop is to reduce the waste for landfill, so the more we keep out, the better. The waste goes through us, then to the landfill, so we take out anything we can recycle and sell it.
Interviewers: Is plastic recyclable?
Annette: Well it could be, but we’re not a plastic recyclers, we’re product recyclers. And if you take a plastic water-bottle for example, the blue ring around the lip and the wrapping strip shows that it isn’t recyclable; if it didn’t have those, the bottle would be. It’s the same with milk cartons.
Interviewers: Do you think you are helping the environment?
Annette: Yes, I think we are. Every year, we divert 10,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.
Interviewers: What’s it like working here?
Annette: I love it; it’s the best. I’m the administration manager, so I get to see and do a lot of things.
Interviewers: When are the opening hours?
Annette: We’re open 7 days a week, and we only close for three days a year, but those are some public holidays. And the shop is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm for six days, and everywhere else is open from 8am to 4pm. This place has been open for 24 years.
Interviewers: Does it cost any money to drop off?
Annette: No not ususally. We’ve got some fee rules that apply to us though: Mattresses fee $20, gas cylinders are $20-$15, and refrigerator units have a fee of $15. Car bodies are around $25 and tyre costs change depending on what vehicle.
Interviewers: How do you decide what goes in to the shop or not?
Annette: Well, it’s really hard because people like so many different things. And there’s a lot of us working here, and everyone throws in something so others find things they might like.
Interviewers: Have you teamed up with any other businesses or places?
Annette: No. If we get something that doesn’t belong we just reallocate it and give it to the right people. So when you look at us, cut it off at the gate. We do not work with the council (no funding from them) – we are not part of the actual tip.
Interviewers: Well, what about the interesting statue at the front?
Annette: That statue was made many years ago by a lady named Katie Stevens, She was an artist in residence, with space out back where she could use our products. The statue started as a “living statue” in the conservatory of Rosalind Park. But eventually it began to wither so Katie brought it back and covered it in the motherboards out of computers.