Plenty of gear . . . Waikouaiti man Shane Webby in his yard, which has a bit of everything. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

For Shane Webby though, everything is treasure. And he is not far wrong.

The qualified and long›time carpenter has got into upcycling and the Waikouaiti man is finding plenty of uses for what other people decide should be heading to the rubbish bin.

‘‘You work on building sites and there is so much that gets thrown out. People just do not have the time or want to do something with it. But they lose so much stuff which can be used again,’’ Mr Webby said.

He calls himself an upcycler.

Upcycling is defined as taking something no longer in use and giving it a second life and new function. In doing so, the finished product often becomes more practical, valuable and beautiful than it previously was.

Mr Webby’s yard on the main road on the south end of Waikouaiti has become a haven for all sorts of products. There are windows and doors, tape and hosing, spades and shovels.

And lots and lots of bicycles, although he said every bike which was repaired and made roadworthy again had to be safe, as he would be liable for damage should it break.

He had connections with Habitat for Humanity, which provided him with lots of pieces to be worked on.

He worked for a building company in Dunedin for the best part of 20 years, before deciding about six months ago to try to make a go of his upcycling business.

People now were coming to him to find items which were not available at usual outlets, while there was always a demand for things like secondhand windows and doors.

‘‘You might get called to go pick up a door from a building site and then there will be something else sitting around.’’

Just last week he went to a building site to pick up a door and then saw some shelving lying around. It was not wanted so he threw it on the back of the truck and it was back in his yard. It might be used as shelving or turned into something else.

‘‘Everything sells, eventually. Everything has got a use.

‘‘We just waste so much. It is just the time factor. On a building site you are always rushing, always thinking about the next job, so if you have no immediate use for something, you just throw out.

‘‘But it can used in so many other ways. I have caught up with a guy who does garden art so he wants different stuff. He used knives and forks. I’m selling him forks for 20c each and it comes up very nice.

‘‘It has surprised me how popular it has been. People love just looking around.’’

The closure of Shaw’s Yard in Dunedin, which sold lots of secondhand doors and windows and other building products, meant many secondhand building items were not easy to get.
Garden furniture and structures were very popular, as were forks and spades, he said.

Old laundry tubs were also in high demand.

His most unusual item was a Mickey Mouse pocketknife believed to be more than 80 years old. He picked it up at a house he was helping clean out.

People enjoyed looking for something different and he was offering a service which was appreciated, he said.

But a warning — just do not call him a hoarder.

‘‘I’m not a hoarder. Everything gets sold. Stuff comes and goes all the time’’