Goodwill unboxes a huge investment in sustainability

The nonprofit will invest $1.5M in new, safer, Earth-friendly materials 

Vermont Business Magazine This Earth Day, Friday April 22, Goodwill Northern New England is reducing waste by investing $1.5 million in new methods of storing and transporting clothing and household donations. For years, the nonprofit used big cardboard boxes and wooden pallets to move items, and large metal racks to store the boxes. Starting this week, Goodwill now will use much more sustainable materials that are safer for employees, waste less material, and save money by being so durable. Goodwill expects this sustainability project to pay for itself in less than three years. 

Every single shirt donated to Goodwill goes into one of these cardboard boxes before hitting a sales floor — the scope of this project is huge. 

“Our donation centers and warehouses use tens of thousands of these large cardboard boxes each year,” said Kossi Gamedah, the Senior Vice President of Retail, Logistics, and Supply Chain Operations. “This investment will improve the work environment for our teammates, and reduce our expenses and carbon footprint. By reducing expenses, we can invest more in Goodwill’s programs that help people achieve their life and work goals.” 

Goodwill Northern New England handles between 50 to 60 million pounds of donations every year, diverting those items from landfills in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. This new investment is part of Goodwill’s larger sustainability plan in its retail operations. In 2017, the nonprofit voluntarily banned single use plastic bags from its stores. In 2021, it upgraded its fleet of tractor trailers to reduce its carbon footprint.  

“Sustainability is a core value at Goodwill — we’re all about reuse, after all.  When we learned about a new, sustainable approach to meet our storage needs, it just made sense to try to do right by the Earth, our employees and the people who support our work through their donations by taking this greener path,” said Rich…

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