From Rags to Riches

We all know Hospice Op Shops offer people a great incentive to reduce their carbon footprint by buying second hand. But what happens to the goods in the store that don’t sell? Is there a risk the shops have overflow that ends of going to the landfill anyway?

Franklin Hospice in Pukekohe is running an ambitious project to take all donations of goods offered to them and reuse or recycle everything.

People like to donate to and support Hospice as a way of giving back to the community and in gratitude for the services Hospice has supported them with personally.  Our shop is not large in size and we were turning down donations due to lack of space.  We decided we had to rethink that decision and be more ambitious about our contribution to environmental impact, supporting our community and minimising waste going to landfill,” says Sue Marshall, CE Franklin Hospice.

 We embarked on this project to say YES to all donated goods and repurpose or reuse everything that we can. The rest goes to the Pacific Islands where it is much needed, with a minimal amount going into landfill.

Here’s what Franklin Hospice Shop does:

  • All items suitable are sold through the shop or TradeMe.
  • All appropriate items not sold are repurposed – ie Jeans turned into bags and glassware into candles.  We have teams of sewers making pet bandanas and wheat bags.
  • We work with other community groups to gift free clothing to those in need.
  • We have established a pipeline where all other items are sent via container to the Pacific Islands where they are much needed and put to good use.
  • All other unusable fabric is turned into rags to be sold to local business who currently buy “new” rags such as painters, mechanics and plumbers
  • Duke of Edinburgh students and volunteers help repurpose the items. The number of students in the project will grow with our capacity to store and process goods. We have around 120 community volunteers
  • We act as a drop off for recycling – things like cans and batteries, volunteers take these to reclaim and we swap them for cash!

“In the throwaway culture we live in today there is so much that goes into landfill that could be reused, recycled or repurposed and this project proves that.  The project is a winner on so many levels, from assisting disadvantaged members of our community to providing project work and education for local Duke of Ed students.  An unexpected benefit from this project has been increased community awareness and support in general.  Any one can do this with a little organisation and some storage space.  It has also been lovely to see so many animals wearing our pet bandanas, “ says Sue.







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