GET GREENER AT GOODWILL
Goodwill is inherently environmentally friendly. When people donate their used goods to Goodwill, it keeps unwanted items out of landfills and prevents the production of unnecessary new materials.
“Recycling clothing is about as green as you can get,” said Chief Operating Officer Randy Parks.
But there’s much more happening at this agency with environmental protection in mind.
The 2012-2016 Strategic Plan calls for Goodwill to “Expand the agency’s comprehensive recycling efforts; continue to identify and provide ‘greener’ services, with reduced consumption of material and natural resources, including paper, supplies, and fuel; incorporate LEED building principles into our new facilities where feasible.”
The agency is already seeing changes in this direction beginning with the construction of our stores themselves.
“We’ve changed how our buildings are designed,” Parks said. The Blair store was our first building to achieve LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s a third-party verification of the environmental friendliness of construction.
“Previously there was only one standard,” Parks said. “It didn’t matter if you were an office building or a retail space. More categories of LEED certification allows us to be more environmentally responsible.”
All of Goodwill’s previous stores have been built block-by-block; the Blair and Gretna store were built with pre-cast and pre-insulated outside walls.
“They’re better, they’re cheaper, and they can be built in the winter,” Parks said. The Blair store also has better insulation in the walls and roof and more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
And ironically, the Blair store’s sea of pavement will help it be greener.
“One thing that has helped is that as the cost of petroleum has gone up, it’s no longer cheaper to use asphalt over concrete for the parking lot,” Parks said. “Asphalt radiates more heat than concrete, and we can buy concrete locally, which helps the environment.”
The green story is the same inside the stores. Builders use paint with no fumes to improve air quality. Oriented strand board (OSB), composed of wood flakes that would otherwise be discarded, makes up many of the interior walls. Parks has also seen the move toward clustered mini-fluorescent lighting, which generates less heat and uses less electricity.
And something that is often overlooked in environmental friendliness is the fact that going green can save money.
The aforementioned energy efficiency will save Goodwill on utility bills. The polished concrete floors in the stores require significantly less maintenance – costing 25 to 50 cents a year per square foot versus $8 for tile. And polished concrete requires only water for cleaning – no toxic chemicals.
“I’m not an environmentally conscious guy – I’m not,” Parks said. “But seeing how it benefits the bottom line and benefits the community as a whole – I’m in! It’s the best thing for Goodwill, economically and environmentally.”
RECYCLING & CONSERVATION
Goodwill’s greenness isn’t limited to construction. Goodwill’s Recycling Manager oversees the agency’s recycling efforts, and the recent output has been massive. The Goodwill Going Green committee’s recycling bins continue to route materials out of regular trash receptacles and into more appropriate channels.
We’d also like to draw your attention to Goodwill’s new Donate movement at donate.goodwill.org, where you can learn all about how your donations put people to work and have a positive impact on our environment.
To learn more about Green Goodwill, please see this tabs across the top of this page.
DONATE YOUR OLD COMPUTER AND EQUIPMENT
Goodwill has been one of the leaders of recycling for more than 100 years. We have taken your softly used clothing and household goods and resold them in our stores giving others the opportunity to reuse and save.
DID YOU KNOW GOODWILL NOW ACCEPTS USED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT?
Goodwill will accept your residential computers, printers and monitors without charge, regardless of age or condition. Just drop off at any of Goodwill’s convenient donation centers.
WHAT DOES GOODWILL DO WITH YOUR USED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT?
Through our partnership with the Dell Reconnect Computer Recycling Program, Goodwill will accept your residential intact computers, printers and monitors without charge, regardless of age or condition. See our Recycling FAQ tab for more information about Dell Reconnect.
Goodwill’s highly trained staff will safely disassemble the CPUs and sort the various components for responsible recycling, thus eliminating the environmental risk of landfill disposal. Consumers are responsible for removing all personal data prior to donation.
Green Goodwill FAQ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much does Goodwill recycle?
You can read our full year-to-date stats to the right, but in a nutshell, in 2013 alone we recycled over a million pounds of computer equipment. We also recycled almost 500,000 pounds of other materials. Whether it’s computers, monitors, wires, batteries, cardboard, paper or plastic, we find a way to keep it out of landfills.
Who does the actual recycling of Goodwill’s materials?
In the case of residential computer equipment, Dell handles all of the recycling as part of our partnership with the Dell Reconnect program. All materials stay in the United States, where they are completely dismantled and refined back into new material without being shipped overseas. So we are ensuring that our trash doesn’t pollute some other country’s water supply while also encouraging industry in the United States. Non-computer materials go to a variety of vendors, but ultimately to mills where they are shredded, sorted and then refined into pure materials for reuse, whether they are paper, plastic or metal.
For the majority of material, we use local Omaha recycling companies. They have recycling certifications as well as a robust chain of custody system so they can audit the flow of matter from customers, recyclers and manufacturers.
Multiple vendors buy fiber material that is shredded for new fiber products (paper, cardboard). They also handle LDPE (plastic bags) which is reprocessed (shredded and melted) into new LDPE product.
Occasionally we do change vendors based on price, but integrity is very important to us, so we always check certifications before partnering with a new vendor.
Which parts of a computer can Goodwill recycle?
Dell Reconnect accepts any brand of used computer equipment in any condition. We also accept just about anything that can be connected to a computer. Consumers are responsible for removing all personal data prior to donation.
If the glass is broken, place the monitor in a cardboard box lined with a large plastic garbage bag. Seal the box and clearly label it with “broken monitor” and the date.
Computers (Desktop & Laptop)
See Hard Drives, below.
Including laser & inkjet
If the glass is broken, place the scanner in a cardboard box lined with a large plastic garbage bag. Seal the box and clearly label it with “broken scanner” and the date.
Hard Drives (External or Internal)
Dell and Goodwill Industries do not accept liability for lost or confidential data or software. You are responsible for backing up any valuable information and erasing sensitive data from the hard drive before dropping it off. (If you want to completely erase the hard drive, you can find a number of free services available online.)
Wired or wireless
Wired or wireless
With or without cables
Cords & Cables
Including power cords & USB cables
Ink and Toner Cartridges
Full or empty
Please include the license key.
What about security?
We take the privacy of our donors very seriously, and we take great care and concern for all items that may possibly contain customer data. To begin the process, we do ask that people do their best to delete any sensitive information they may have on their computers before donating. Once the computers are in our hands, we undergo a four-step process as follows:
Phase One: Our technicians determine which desktop and laptop computers are viable for refurbishing and which ones are to be decommissioned and used for parts. The units are powered on and checked for defects. Hard Drives and memory are bench-tested for quality.
Phase Two: We secure all systems and hard drives determined to be reusable, as well as any materials that will be sent out for recycling, in a locked area that only the manager and techs have access to until they are processed.
Phase Three: We apply a rigorous three-pass Department of Defense-standard data wiping process to all drives determined to be usable.
Phase Four: We select random hard drives from every wiping session and verify they have no retrievable data on them. Also, every month Dell Reconnect sends an independent auditor to verify that the data on the hard drives has been erased and no personal data remains, and that all our process conforms and exceeds their high standards. Goodwill has passed this audit every month since we started with the program.
Do you have any questions about our recycling initiatives that weren’t answered here? Email us below.
YouthBuild Omaha Green Initiative
Through our green initiative, our trainees learn nationally recognized green-building standards, making them more marketable, meeting the demands of the local construction industry and creating a greener world of opportunity for our young people.
What we are doing:
- Improved exterior insulation methods. The home shell is wrapped in 2″ foam board and siding.
- Modern siding techniques. Fiber cement siding and trim make up the exterior, and these products are environmentally friendly and emphasize long-term durability.
- Advanced interior insulation. We use a combination of 1-inch spray foam combined in the walls with R-19 insulation and green fiber blown-in attic insulation.
- Waste management. The project conserves supplies, seeking to minimize the waste of our building products and the resources we use in the home’s construction.
- Environmentally safe products. Throughout the building process, we have searched to find products that are affordable and that limit long-term damage to our environment.
Our first Habitat LEED certified home is at 2201 Fowler Avenue in Omaha.
How you can help:
- Donate. Whether you’d like to donate a toilet or cash, we can put your products and resources to use. For monetary donations, please visit our donate page. To donate building/housing materials, please visit Habitat Omaha- ReStore for further details.
- Volunteer. Community members are invited and encouraged to help on the construction site
- Design. We are always seeking input from knowledgeable and interested sources.
- Habitat for Humanity of Omaha
- Metropolitan Community College
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Sustainability For A Greener Earth
Sustainability For a Greener Earth
On April 18 Goodwill partnered with Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart and hosted an electronics drive at the Duchesne campus from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Goodwill Omaha was contacted in February by Duchesne’s Sustainability Committee about donating a large amount of electronics.
Jason Schlesiger, Director of Technology at Duchesne said “Our Sustainability Committee saw this drive as an opportunity to recycle as much as possible. We wanted to take our efforts from inside the school into the surrounding community. This electronics drive benefits not only Duchesne but also our neighbors.”
In 2016, Duchesne was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an Energy Star Award recipient. “When Duchesne was recognized with the Energy Star Award, generous community donors offered to underwrite the Verdis Group, a local sustainability consulting firm. The donations supported our partnership with the Verdis Group who spent a year with Duchesne to analyze our processes and help us move forward in efforts of sustainability” said Eric Krakwoski, Assistant Principal of Duchesne Academy. Eric stated that their Sustainability Committee has 4 main goals.
- Be a zero waste campus by 2030
- Use net positive energy by 2030
- Revamp the schools lunch program
- Integrate sustainability into the schools curriculum
Goodwill Omaha helped approximately 30 donors and collected 4,900 pounds of electronic equipment during the drive. The electronics drive is just one environmentally friendly event that Duchesne is holding during the month of April. You can find out more about what Duchesne is doing for the environment in April by clicking here.
At Goodwill Omaha, we partner with Dell Reconnect to ensure proper handling of donated electronics. Dell Reconnect is a program that partners with Goodwill’s across North America to handle proper refurbishing or recycling of your computer systems and accessories. Since 2004, Dell Reconnect has recycled more than 450 million pounds of used electronics. Goodwill Omaha contributes roughly 40,000 pounds of that number each year. Click here to find out more about Goodwill’s partnership with the Dell Reconnect program.
Our mission is to change lives through education, training, and work. Through our mission, we are inherently environmentally friendly. When people donate their used goods to Goodwill, it keeps unwanted items out of landfills and prevents the production of unnecessary new materials. Think Goodwill before you toss your used goods while doing your spring cleaning and Earth Day activities. Click on the following to view a list of our acceptable donations and locations. Together we can make an effort to improve and care for our environment.