This month, April 22 to be exact, we celebrate Earth Day. A day to contemplate sustainability; leaving a little less behind and perhaps take action against damage that has been done. To commemorate Earth Day, we’re sharing some ideas for simple changes you can make that will make an impact in your life and right here in Central Iowa.
We all know that spring is great time to clean out closets and get ready for the coming summer season. Of course, Goodwill will happily take your gently used clothing and accessories, but did you know that we will also take textiles in any condition? We often hear that people had no idea we accepted stained, ripped or otherwise unwearable/unusable textiles. While we cannot sell these items in our stores, we can recycle or reuse them through our salvage program, which keeps them out of our local landfills.
If you choose to shop at Goodwill, you are making a guaranteed sustainable choice. Not only are you giving a second life to donated items, you are opting out of the fast fashion cycle. There are countless ways to can clean up your habits; take a cue from one of our favorite bloggers, Goldwill Digger. Aside from her commitment to thrift store shopping, has great tips for how to get the most wear from your wardrobe. Check out her post on different ways to style the same top!
Adorable looks created with Goodwill merchandise!
- The average U.S. citizen throws away 82 pounds of clothing every year.
- 85% of worn or torn textiles goes to landfills, but only 15% gets donated or recycled.
- It takes over 700 gallons of water to make one new cotton t-shirt.
Any decorating show or blog will tell you – vintage and antique furniture and decor are both more unique and well-made than new and mass produced. Up-cycling and DIY projects allow you to be creative, save money and lessen environmental impact. These tips from Apartment Therapy on household thrifting best practices will get you excited to hit up the nearest Goodwill for design inspiration.
Great thrifted furniture and decor.
- Americans spent $98 billion on new furniture in 2014.
- Furniture is the least recycled item in U.S. households — only 0.1% of furniture is recycled. (EPA)
- In 2009, furniture accounted for 9.8 million tons of household waste in the U.S. That’s 64 pounds per person.
In recent years, technology has become overwhelmingly accessible to our population making computer and other electronic waste an increasing environmental threat. Lack of resource awareness means much of this technology is ending up in a landfill rather than recycled through the proper channels. Through our partnership with Dell, Goodwill strips or wipes memory, computers and parts are then either recycled properly or sold in our stores.
E-waste in Goodwill of Central Iowa’s processing facility.
Our Operations team takes pride in seeing items reused or recycled instead of being thrown away. We are committed to being excellent stewards of the generous donations we receive. If we cannot sell or recycle an item, we will find the appropriate partner in sustainability. If you are ever in doubt about what we can and can’t accept, please take a look at this list, or contact us. Additionally, if you’re curious about the journey of a donation and want a peek behind the curtain, get in touch and set up a tour. We would love to show you the creative ways Goodwill sells, reuses and recycles items that don’t sell in our stores. The video below also shares this process.
In 2017 alone, Goodwill of Central Iowa recycled:
- 9,804,144 pounds of textiles
- 156,480 pounds of plastics
- 657,726 pounds of cardboard
- 20.1 million pounds of goods overall
On Earth Day and every day when you shop and donate at Goodwill of Central Iowa, you are supporting skills training and job placement programs for individuals with barriers. So far in 2018, your generosity has helped 164 Iowans find jobs! Keep the momentum of Earth Day going, making small changes can make a big impact.