Goodwill Industries International (GII) and the Goodwill network have had a long history of environmental sustainability. Since its inception in 1902, GII has focused on recycling and reuse. In late 2007, GII launched a sustainability initiative, which has morphed into the current Goodwill Sustainability Program.
The objective of the program is to “Use Less, Serve More” (to serve more people while having a smaller environmental footprint), in support of the Goodwill mission. We focus on the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of people, planet and prosperity. It is built on Goodwill’s value of environmental stewardship and designed to support the Goodwill network grow their internal sustainability programs through tools, best practices, and knowledge sharing.
There are a number of Goodwills across North America who have taken actions that align with the triple bottom line. Below are two such examples:
Reuse and recycling takes many forms, and can create jobs as well as helping the environment and the bottom-line.
Green Works offers cost-saving, labor-intensive asset recovery and industrial recycling services to socially conscious municipalities, utilities, automotive suppliers and manufacturers, as well as construction and demolition companies. Green Works is a non-profit subsidiary of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit (MI) and creates revenue to fund vital job training, education and placement programs for those facing employment challenges in metro Detroit.
State-of-the-art equipment and processes make the company an invaluable resource for sorting, refurbishing, recycling and reprocessing metals, oils and other industrial materials. Green Works recycling processes result in “up-valuing” material such as aluminum/copper windings and wire for its clients. Green Works enhances value by processing and breaking down industrial recyclables into furnace-ready form. These materials are then sold in commodity markets for reuse in foundry/manufacturing processes.
Since its creation in 2010 through 2015, Green Works has recovered over 75 million pounds of ferrous and non-ferrous metals and over 400,000 gallons of used oil has been salvaged.
Growth does not have to equal increased waste to landfill.
In the new space, they also opened up a 17,000 square foot “by the pound” outlet store. With the outlet store diverting approximately 1.2 million pounds per year, it is the largest diverter of waste to landfill for the Goodwill. With their new large space, they were able to expand recycling categories as well as increase their electronic waste recycling to include rural areas. They have also implemented new processes to increase landfill diversion, such as moving from centralized to decentralized donation processing and eliminating dumpsters at stores.
Chad Albaugh, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas’ director of operations shares, “With the added space and implementation of new processes, we have been able to make great strides in our efforts towards zero waste. Just as important, we have been able to build strong partnerships within our state and are recognized as leaders in environmental stewardship.”
NOTE: This is an update to a post originally appearing in April 2016.