Recycling is a fundamental part of operations at Goodwill Industries of Akron. Founded on the notion that usable clothing and goods could be resold at affordable prices and the proceeds used for employment services, Goodwill, being a community source for those who wish to reuse and recycle, has been minimizing climate change since its inception.
Environmental Efforts in Goodwill Operations
- In 2012, 20,240 tons of clothing and household items were donated to Goodwill and were either sold, reused or recycled.
- Unsold clothing is salvaged for the creation of rugs and other textiles.
- Metal, books, phonebooks, cardboard and electronics are recycled as well.
- Republic Waste program implemented for large wood items to be recycled instead of being sent to the landfill
- Hazardous wastes (i.e. light bulbs, paint, batteries and oxygen tanks) are disposed of using organizations recommended by Summit Akron Sold Waste Management Authority.
- Cardboard boxes for storage and deliveries are reused as often as possible, before the cardboard is recycled.
- Goodwill also limits greenhouse gases by keeping donations local. With eighteen convenient donation locations in a five-county area, donors do not have to travel far to deliver their donations or shop for reused goods.
- The majority of donations stay at the store they were donated to, limiting the use of delivery trucks and packaging materials.
- Most stores are located to enable individuals using public transportation to access them.
- Shopgoodwill.com, Goodwill’s auction resale website, reuses cardboard boxes and newspapers for packing from the Service Center in Akron.
Environmental Efforts in the Office
- Mailing lists are updated to limit the printing of unused materials.
- Marketing materials are being tracked and re-evaluated to limit excess printing.
- Paper recycle bin are in each workspace, and each printer/copier location, and clearly marked.
- Plastic bottle recycle bins are in each kitchen area and cafeteria
- Used printing and copying toner cartridges are returned to manufacturers for recycling.
- The turning off of lights in vacant offices is practiced as well as turning off lights in offices when workers leave for the day.
- The installation of automatic, energy-efficient toilets and sinks to limit water usage.
- In-house cleaning crew uses the latest energy-efficient equipment to cut down on water usage as well as maintain better air quality.
- All office lighting in the Service Center is the smallest, most energy-efficient florescent bulbs.
- Thanks to the Portage Trail Sierra Club and Jennings Heating and Cooling Co., Inc., the installation of a web-based HVAC management system that switches the system to minimal usage at night when offices are vacant.
In April 2013, Goodwill received the Energy Star Rating for its Waterloo Road Facility. These additional improvements were made in order to help reach that certification:
- Outside air dampers were adjusted to match usage with the occupancy of the building
- Retrofitted high bay lighting fixtures with energy efficient fluorescent lamps in the Waterloo Retail store, offices, cafeteria and warehouse
- Occupancy sensors were installed in the new lamps to ensure the use of lighting in only when necessary
- Window coverings were installed in the cafeteria
- Retrofitted outside lighting to improve energy efficiency
- Contract Services replaced fluorescent lights with LED lights in its sewing machines