Melbourne’s recycled resource centres are like glittering mirages of potential crafty goodness to me. Positioned in the Eastern suburbs, its a logistical exercise for me to get to them (and carry my loot away) without a car. So visiting them has remained on my to-do list for a long time. When friends decided to check them out and offered me a lift, I jumped at the chance!
The recycled resource centres in Melbourne are non-profit organizations. They collect rejects, seconds and factory offcuts from companies for distribution to the community. The range on offer is mind-boggling, and always changing. The centres are a great resource for crafters, parents, schools, kindergartens and community groups. They’re also fantastic for businesses looking to reuse their offcuts, rejects and discontinued lines.
You can buy a membership, which gives you discounts on purchases. It’s also totally ok to shop casually. To shop, bring a garbage bag to the shed, or buy one when you arrive. Fill up the bag with any combination of items you are interested in. You’re welcome to buy as much as you want of most supplies. Popular or small quantity items are clearly marked with a limit per customer. Prices are by the bag, although there’s negotiation room if you don’t want a whole bag.
There are three recycled resource centres in Melbourne that I know of, we were able to visit two.
Reverse art truck
The Reverse art truck isn’t actually a truck. It’s a couple of connected sheds on a leafy property in Ringwood. They run another centre in Cranbourne, although this centre is going to move to Narre Warren soon. As far as I know, this is the original resource centre in Melbourne. It’s well organised, with lots of programs like school holiday and craft workshops.
We were like kids in a lolly shop here. The shelves are full of enticing items. This centre is great for its variety of tiny intriguing items like plastic eyes. You’ll find picture books, various plastic pieces, containers and lots of printed party items. There’s also off-cut wood, boards, random metal pieces and landscaping fabrics.
It felt like the perfect place to bring a crafty primary school aged kid. My friends were making festival costumes, so they got lots of coloured, shiny ingredients. I picked up some plastic lids to put under the base of my house plant pots. I also found some rubber circles I hope to use as insulation on the base of candles.
Their website seems to be down, but the Reverse Art Truck Facebook page is good for seeing new stock as it comes in.
Resource Rescue is a huge warehouse on an industrial estate in Bayswater. Its prices are slightly cheaper than Reverse Art Truck. I liked that it was more spacious than the Ringwood centre, but that also makes it less cosy.
There are a lot of the same items here as at the other centre. Resource Rescue has a strong collection of toys and books, craft papers and fabrics (mostly fashion weight, but some upholstery).
This centre is particularly good for older crafters like myself; parents with young kids might be interested in the toys. It was here that I found what I was looking for: hessian sacks to line a planter box I’m building.