Buying it back this month

Celebrate National Recycling Week this month by participating in Buy it Back Day on Saturday, 14 November.

Buy it Back Day encourages mindful purchasing by buying something secondhand or buying products made from recycled materials. We visited a popular op shop in Geelong to check out what was on offer and discovered reducing waste was only part of their story.

The team at Vinnies South Geelong has been busy managing a constant stream of donations in past weeks. For many people, COVID-19 lockdowns provided time to undertake a long overdue clean-up of wardrobes and cupboards and op shops across the region have welcomed the influx of second hand treasures.

Assistant manager at Vinnies South Geelong, Kristy Frew, said they can receive upwards of 5,000 donations per week, so the store is always well stocked.

The extensive range of homewares, including glassware and crockery is the biggest seller while women’s clothing and accessories are popular among savvy shoppers. Combined, these two sections sell more than 2,500 items each week.

According to Kristy, up to 10% of clothing they receive is new and still has the tags attached. Last week they received a cocktail dress that retailed for $950. It’s on sale now for $150.

It is the opportunity to find a hidden treasure that brings some people through the doors, while others simply appreciate the quality, prices and range of products.

The shop has undergone a complete transformation since Kristy and new manager, Martin Schleutker came on board a few months back. The fresh new look and clever displays are increasing sales, while attracting more donations at the same time.

They are also expanding their offering and are one of the few stores to sell tagged and tested electrical appliances. But not everything is pre-loved with Vinnies recently introducing its own range of new homewares including doonas, bed sheets, pillows, socks and tea towels.

A team of 30 volunteers ranging in age from 19 years to 80 plus years keeps the busy shop running. Martin and Kristy have also recently introduced a work experience program for young people to help them learn new skills and increase their self-confidence.

National Recycling Week is held from 9th November to 15th November. This year’s theme is “Recovery – a future beyond the bin”.

Visit the website for more tips on actions you can take to reduce waste to landfill and support the circular economy.

Kristy Frew – Assistant manager at Vinnies South Geelong

“Buying second hand goods from Vinnies helps reduce waste to landfill, but it also helps raise money to give people a helping hand when they need it and that’s a great thing.

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