This Friday marks 46 years since the first Earth Day in 1970. You may not know it, but if you have donated to your local Goodwill or shopped at a local Goodwill store or online you have helped make our planet a little cleaner and a little greener.
How much greener? In 2010 Goodwill (and you!) helped divert more than 2.4 billion pounds from landfills through donations to, and purchases from, Goodwill. How much is 2.4 billion pounds? It equals 2,431 fully loaded Boeing 747-8I airplanes – in one year! That’s a thousand more 747’s than have been ordered since the plane first flew commercially in 1970.
For 2014, the amount we helped divert from landfills reached nearly 3.3 billion pounds. That’s a lot of planes!
In Washington, DC, Goodwill is aiming to help similar organizations step up energy efficient efforts. There already exists tax breaks for energy efficiency efforts. Unfortunately, these tax breaks mean little to a nonprofit company that pays no federal taxes. Yet, nonprofit businesses comprise 5.4 percent of the national GDP and are estimated to be worth $887.3 billion to the US economy.
How can policy be shaped to extend incentives for energy efficient retrofits to this critical sector of the US economy if tax breaks and tax credits are not available to them for this purpose?
Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Cartwright (D PA-17) have introduced legislation (S. 600; H.R.2132) aimed at solving this problem. Their bills would create a pilot program to provide grants to underwrite part of the costs a nonprofit incurs to boost energy efficiency. S. 600 is part of comprehensive energy policy reform legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday.
The House passed its energy policy legislation, H.R. 8, last December and the members of the House and Senate will meet in a conference committee to resolve differences between the two bills. In order to keep you posted on the legislation and the provision to help all US businesses become cleaner and greener, join Goodwill’s Legislative Action Center.
Thanks, and happy Earth Day!