The Rotary Club of Warrandyte Donvale Op Shop has been operating for around 17 years, starting out in the basement of a small house on the banks of the Yarra River in Warrandyte, Vic. It has gradually evolved into the second largest retail operation in Warrandyte after the local supermarket, through the club’s willingness to consider calculated risks and take advantage of opportunities to expand.
Initially located within a small shop behind the main street, over the years the club has leased the adjacent premises, undergone building modifications, and today the op shop is five shopfronts rolled into one.
The shop’s mainstay was originally clothing with some bric-a-brac, but as it expanded, the club was able to display and sell furniture and myriad household goods that were constantly being donated.
Some years ago, the intrepid volunteers decided to really get into recycling – so they placed various bins outside the shop for items such as aluminium cans, glass jars, plant pots, milk bottle lids, bread tags and various other items.
The recycling was extremely popular with the local community, so once the much larger shop was completed, manager Judith had a plan to spruce up the recycling drop-off area.
“In addition to recycling and the usual op shop staples, staff pick up unsold food from local supermarkets, as well as precooked meals by Melbourne charity Alex Makes Meals. These are placed in a fridge outside the shop, so locals can come and take what they need.”
Club members known as ‘the three Bobs’ put their noses to the grindstone and built modular units that were put into place then painted and decorated by the op shop volunteers. It is now a very professional looking space outside the shop, with Rotary branding and recycling information.
In addition to recycling and the usual op shop staples, staff pick up unsold food from local supermarkets, as well as precooked meals by Melbourne charity Alex Makes Meals. These are placed in a fridge outside the shop, so locals can come and take what they need. The shop’s discrete location behind the main street has been a major contributor to its success.
Manager Judith says the recycling centre attracts customers inside to buy things when they come to drop off their goods for recycling, so it is win-win all round. The Rotary Club of Warrandyte Donvale is very proud of its op shop, the efforts of its many volunteers, and the community support it receives.
What does the shop recycle?
- Soft plastic wrappers and shopping bags are taken to Coles.
- Metal of various types and aluminium cans.
- Batteries are taken to Aldi.
- Ink cartridges go to Officeworks.
- Bread tags are used by a local kindergarten.
- Can ring-pulls are picked up by a local school.
- Milk bottle tops are sent to organisations such as Lids for Kids, who turn them into things such as prosthetic hands.
- Customers pick up and reuse plastic containers, plant pots, glass jars, boxes, mobile phones, unused coat hangers and unsold books, bras are sent overseas by one of the volunteers, and plants are put in the surrounding garden.
- Banish Recycling in Sydney takes items such as empty tubes of all types (like toothpaste), lotion bottles and jars, makeup tubes and tablet blister packs.