March 2019 | Maeken Danen
THROUGHOUT MY childhood here in Tasmania, my sisters and I would often have small projects around the garden and paddocks that required basic materials such as timber, pipe, bricks, and nails. Having limited funds for new materials, we turned to 2nd hand items and discovered that 80% of our needs where met at the local Deloraine tip. Needless to say, this became our favourite shop and still is for most of us, including me.
Trips to the tip are very fruitful. Not only can goodies be found in the shop area but also amongst the disposal piles.
Lengths of timber in excellent condition can be found in the wood pile as well as pallets which are great for turning into compost bins, keeping things off the ground or pulling apart, producing straight, even boards that can be used in a variety of DIY projects. Existing nails can even be taken out, straightened and reused if required!
The metals pile always has roles of old chicken wire. Whilst most is only good as plant guards or patch jobs, occasionally there is a piece good enough for a fence. We built several poultry pens out of just such wire. Not only was it good enough to keep the ducks and chickens in but also to keep the cows and goats out. Sheet tin was also a common find and there was always enough of different lengths without having to cut them up too much. Sometimes, when building, we would find that there were even holes pre-made in just the right spots!
The paint was another great collection. Many cans are just the remains of a larger project but are still perfect. We used only tip paint for our projects, one sister even scored a can with enough to paint the inside of her room!
Old fridges make great garden beds once the doors have been taken off. Drill a few holes in the bottom, turn it upside down and fill with dirt. Because fridges are so deep, you can fill the bottom half with chunks of woods, old cotton sheets, and weeds. They will be decomposed by the time that space is needed by the roots of plants. Chest freezers make excellent beds if you need an extra tall one but feel free to fill much of the space with inorganic materials as it may never be used by roots.
Bathtubs are also good garden beds but can also be used in hydroponic systems and as stock water troughs. They last a long, long time and best of all, can be fitted with plugs for easy cleaning! A friend of mine used bathtubs on his property in NSW for all his stock. With correct fittings, they are just as good, albeit smaller, than industrial concrete troughs. They are cheaper too!
The tip shop itself contains a wide range of things from an excellent array of ceramic basins - some brand new, clothes, including a great deal of bed linen in good condition which could otherwise be used for rags, picture frames, furniture that may only need a nail or two, doors, solid and fly-screen, toys and much more. The book and magazine section contain literature of many topics, from cookbooks, fishing magazines, health and diet as well as novels. Over the past several years, I have collected the entire Harry Potter series for 50 cents instead of $150+. I have also stocked up on all my folders, plastic sleeves and some lined workbooks for the coming school year.
There are also several shelves of kitchen utensils and appliances as well as nicely sized glass jars with lids that, with a good scrub, shape up nicely. The electrical appliances work more often than not. The teacup and tumbler collection is magnificent with a wide variety of colours and even matching sets to choose from. The glass jars are a favourite of mine because occasionally, there is a very unique and often very old jar with interesting designs on it that may work as part of a decorative piece or put in a wall. Be careful when purchasing plastic or metal with marks or rust as these can be difficult to clean and may contain unwanted germs.
With so many useful things lying around at the tip, it seems a waste to let them be carted off for processing. They can be used in so many creative ways and help cut down on the amount of waste we already have to deal with not only in Tasmania but in the world. And there must be more ways to use tip waste that I have not mentioned or even thought of. So maybe check out the tip next time you are out that way and see for yourself the plethora of goodies that can be found and reused at a great price!