An extraordinary amount of corporate and construction, or demolition, material ends up in landfill when owners consider it to have reached the end of its useful life. It is these materials that make up the large majority of what goes into landfill, currently about 83%, but what else can we do with it?

Joe Youssef placed himself at the heart of this question and rose to the enormous challenge of repurposing and redistributing perceived ‘waste’ to those who look at it as an exceptional, life-changing resource. He founded All Heart NZ in 2016 and communities around Aotearoa began receiving office chairs and tables, storage furniture, stationary, de-branded clothing, technology, hotel linen and repurposed retirement-home furnishings. Everything, including the kitchen sink!

All Heart NZ employees come from all walks of life and Joe seeks to bring on staff who are looking for a chance, helping them to return to the workforce, for whatever reason, and gain meaningful employment. Roles are varied and have recently extended towards upcycling materials that need work before they can be redistributed, and breaking down materials into their separate recyclable parts, diverting them from landfill and extending their use.

“We have a tendency to think and act in a linear way. We extract resources to create a thing that is then sold, consumed, and ultimately thrown away. That has to stop. At All Heart NZ we don’t talk about waste, we talk about resource.” – Joe Youssef, Founder and Chief Encourager, All Heart NZ

“Businesses aren’t buildings, they are people,” Joe reminds us. As soon as a better way becomes available, people are drawn to it. Since All Heart NZ started six years ago, the All Heart NZ network of providers and recipients has grown to a level that requires minimal storage. An All Heart NZ driver will pick up and drop off all items on the same day as matches are made in advance. There is also a social enterprise stream at All Heart NZ. Items that can be repurposed or sold are taken through the retail network, All Heart Store, providing a circular solution for the resource, creating further employment, volunteerism, and training opportunities.

With All Heart NZ looking to grow further outside of Auckland, establishing its regional All Heart Store network was key. However, funding was a significant constraint. Through the partnership with the Whakatupu Aotearoa Foundation, Joe has been able to explore new initiatives and grow the store network, including adding additional services to the business model, enabling corporates to strategically rethink and redesign waste out.

Having seed funders that can appreciate the vision and get behind it is absolutely critical. Joe worked closely with Carl Vink, Chief Executive of Whakatupu Aotearoa Foundation, on realising the vision. “Joe is one of the leading lights in trying to change the mindset of our businesses and communities, while also providing the critical infrastructure to help organisations do better with the material they no longer need,” says Carl.

By the numbers

As at October 2022

4.4m kgs

resources recovered


community recipients reached


corporate providers reached


our investment