Owning their impact by:

Diverting 5,000 tonnes of perfectly good, pre-loved items from landfill

  • Type: A local government and not-for-profit partnership
  • Based: Balcatta

Workpower’s Balcatta Recycling Shop is a key part of the City of Stirling’s goal to divert 65% of domestic waste from landfill by 2020.

What was their motivation?

Social enterprise Workpower, in partnership with the City of Stirling, reinvented the Balcatta Recycling Shop in 2016 to divert more perfectly usable household items from being sent landfill.

This treasure trove of retro and second hand furniture, household items, clothes, building materials and more isn’t just helping the City of Stirling and its residents to own their impact, it’s also creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Did you know?

The second hand market is more lucrative than you may think, Gumtree reports that it is a $34billion economy in Australia!

Workpower facility
Some of the many second hand items in the Balcatta Recycling Shop

What is Workpower doing to make the Balcatta Recycling Shop a success?

  1. They salvage and sort – the shop is located alongside the Balcatta Recycling Centre, where City of Stirling residents are able to drop off unwanted items. Workpower staff salvage goods with plenty of life left in, keeping them out of landfill longer and presenting them in an ordered way to help shoppers find what they might be looking for.

  2. They make shopping second hand appealing – the shop is open seven days a week, 362 days a year making it easy for people to access good quality pre-loved items. Workpower also runs an onsite café and concierge service…it’s little wonder the shop has so many returning customers!

  3. They sell, then re-invest – the beauty of this award-winning re-use shop is it’s self-funded. Items are donated, therefore the proceeds used to pay the eight staff who are on-site every day and enable general improvements to the shop. Shoppers also benefit from heavily discounted prices, so it’s a win-win situation for all!

  4. They track – both Workpower and the City of Stirling wanted to understand the volume of waste arriving and the Balcatta Recycling Centre so they could also track (and grow!) how much they were diverting through encouraging re-use.

What impact is it making?

  • 6,000 people drop in to the shop each month – Workpower has creative a place where they can own their impact by choosing to shop second hand, rather than brand new.

  • 5,000 tonnes of waste is diverted from landfill each year, simply through sales at the shop.

  • 3,000 families donate their unwanted items here annually so they can be re-sold to someone who does want them, rather than thrown away.

  • 300 – 400 tonnes of recyclable waste is processed by the Recycling Centre each month with the help of its sorting team – this includes large volumes of scrap metal, cardboard and paper, as well as building materials and plastics.

  • 50% of the staff working at the shop and recycling centre have a disability – their job gives them greater financial independence, a connection to the community and in many cases brings enjoyment and a sense of self-worth.

What does the future hold for Workpower and the Balcatta Recycling Shop?

With solid data on the amount being diverted from landfill now available, the hope is to further grow this in future years by encouraging even more people to shop sustainability and think about recycling, re-using and repairing, rather than just buying new.

The Balcatta Recycling Shop is also a great example of how partnerships between not-for-profit organisations and local governments - or corporate enterprises – can be mutually beneficial, sustainable and highly successful – they would love to see more of these in the future!

How can YOU get on board?

It’s actually pretty easy – just remember that your old items could be another person’s treasure; or theirs yours!

More inspirational stories