Local Goodwill® Organizations Support Sustainability Efforts

Goodwill organizations divert more than 3 billion pounds of clothing and household goods from landfills every year by recovering the value in consumers’ donated goods. Three billion pounds is equivalent to 8,185 jumbo jets or 300,000 pick-up trucks. But that’s not all that Goodwills do to support the environment. Local Goodwills support a range of programs — from waste and energy reduction to reuse and other more holistic approaches.
This Earth Day, I would like to take a moment to recognize some of those programs.
Goodwill – Easter Seals Minnesota (Saint Paul) made a commitment to make their existing stores green and build all new stores to recognized sustainability standards. By setting realistic goals and creating an action plan, the Goodwill’s changes resulted in 20 stores receiving the Energy Star label and one more store becoming LEED certified. Some of the steps taken included accessing use of energy-saving lights (installing sensors and setting digital times at offices to capture off-hour savings) and installing a rain sensor irrigation system to minimize watering plants. The plants used at each site were chosen for being drought tolerant to further reduce water usage.
Goodwill Industries of Central Florida (Orlando) partnered with a local company, NovaSol Energy, to install solar panels on two of its retail stores. The panels were optimized to provide maximum energy harvesting and efficient long-term operations and maintenance. The energy generated from the solar panels is expected to be equivalent to what is consumed annually in 16 average Floridians’ homes.
In 2009, Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia (Maple Shade, NJ) partnered with a local municipality for the collection of computers, computer peripherals, TVs, consumer electronics, clothing and shoes at no charge. Today they have expanded that partnership to include other municipalities and partner organizations.
Goodwill organizations are striving to have a light footprint, not just by diverting clothes from landfills, but by exploring sustainability efforts in all aspects of their mission and business.