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How Can You and Goodwill Help the Environment?
The average American discards about 68 pounds of used clothing per year, which doesn’t include household items, accessories, furniture, e-waste or shoes that are also tossed into landfills on an annual basis. And clothing materials can take up to 50 years to decompose, while plastics and metals can take hundreds of years. With 15 percent of all garbage being made up of reusable items, it’s important for everyone to take stock before tossing the trash. Goodwill has been a pioneer in “reduce, reuse, and repurpose” since 1916, and has diverted almost 3 billion pounds of usable goods from landfills.
Did you know that Goodwill recycles e-waste for free? Many people are not aware of the hazardous chemicals and compounds found in old computers, cell phones or stereo equipment. These toxic substances which include mercury, arsenic and lead, if not properly contained, can seep into the ground or be released into the air or water supply. This poses some potentially serious health threats to the general public. Help keep our planet from turning into an e-wasteland by donating anything with batteries or a plug to a Goodwill donation center.
Keep our Landfills from becoming Landfulls
Reduce your clutter and your carbon footprint by donating unwanted items; reuse and repurpose by shopping Goodwill retail stores for gently used and new household goods and clothing; and recycle e-waste at no charge at your neighborhood Goodwill drop off location. Thanks to your generous donations, Goodwill Southern California diverted over 56 million pounds of textiles, paper, electronics and other recyclables from landfills in 2013 alone. That’s about the weight of the Eiffel Tower, times 3! You may think that no-one wants your old stuff but the success of our retail stores would prove you wrong. If you’ve ever watched the reality shows “Pawn Stars” or “American Pickers,” you know that one person’s cast-offs are truly another person’s treasure.
And when you become the treasure hunter at a Goodwill location, you’re reducing carbon emissions significantly. The process of producing one new t-shirt involves pesticides to grow the cotton; thousands of gallons of gasoline to transport the raw materials to a manufacturing plant; chemicals, dyes and more energy to create the garment; plastic and cardboard packaging; and more carbon emissions to ship the garment to retailers.
Lowering Your Emissions Advances Our Mission
When you shop at, or donate to, Goodwill, you’re doing something good for the planet, but you’re also doing something good for people in need. The mission of Goodwill is to transform lives through the power of work. Your donations and purchases help fund a variety of employment programs and services for individuals with disabilities or vocational disadvantages. These programs include training, education, computer skills and job development services that help prepare and place people in sustainable employment, providing not only a paycheck, but a sense of purpose and dignity.
So whether you’re a Prius-driving, tree-hugging, granola-eater, or a bargain-hunting, vintage-wearing, fashionista (or maybe a little of both, and then some?), we’ve got you — and mother earth — covered.