Goodwill and the Environment

recyclingLogo-newGoodwill is dedicated to having a positive impact on our environment. Whether it’s through “Reusing” (selling goods in our Retail Stores, Outlet Center or on or through “Recycling” (selling commodities across the globe) Goodwill has an intrinsic role in managing second-hand durable goods in our community. Goodwill is also dedicated to “Reducing” the total consumption of natural resources required for operations.

Goodwill’s Recycling Statistics

Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids is an industry leader for the responsible management of donated materials.

  • In 2015, through Goodwill’s recycling initiatives, over 20 million lbs of  material was diverted from landfills.
  • In 2013, Goodwill employees were given more than 600 blue spruce trees to plan. The trees have the potential to eliminate approximately 3,000 lbs of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Goodwill has worked to install faucet aerators in all of its restrooms company wide. Traditional faucets can use up to 5 gallons of water per minute; while there aerator counterparts on site use only about .5 gallons of water per minute! This reduces the amount of water used by about 90 percent.
  • 83% of Goodwill’s cleaning products and perishables are certified “GREEN.” (LEED v.4 requires a minimum of 75%)
  • Goodwill’s Wyoming, Standale, Cascade, and Rockford store locations have all achieved LEED certification.
  • For more information or to set up a tour please Contact us!

Goodwill’s Post Retail Markets

Have you ever wondered what happens to the things you donate that don’t sell in our stores?

Clothing & Accessories – The clothing that is not sold in the Goodwill Retail Stores (because it was either sub-quality or because it didn’t sell while on the sales floor) is sent to the Outlet Center. If it doesn’t sell in the Outlet Center Goodwill sells the clothing to companies that sort them and sell them overseas. Most of the material that cannot be resold in overseas markets are then cut into rags or sold to fabric recycling companies. The same process happens for accessory items such as belts, purses, back packs, toys, hats, etc.



Paper – When people donate they often donate materials in cardboard boxes. There are also a lot of items that don’t sell through the traditional Retail Stores or Outlet Center that are made with paper. Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids recycled 712.44 tons of paper products in 2015! This amount of paper being recycled by Goodwill helped save 12,111 trees, 42,747 lbs of air pollution, 4,987,116 gallons of water 133,766 gallons of oil, and 3,870 cubic yards of landfill space!

Plastic – Goodwill sells approximately 40,000 lbs of Mixed Residential Plastic (MRP) each month. MRP consists of primarily polypropylene and polyethylene plastics. Items typically found in this mix of plastic consist of laundry baskets, storage tubs, toys, and lawn furniture.


Metal – Donated goods consisting of metal that do not sell through the Retail Stores, Outlet Center or on are recycled. Goodwill separates ferrous metals from non-ferrous metals to extract the highest possible value. All revenue attained from the Donated Goods program helps fund Workforce Development Programs.

Books – Goodwill sells books on-line, in Retail Stores, in the Outlet Center, to bulk buyers and to recyclers! Goodwill is able to extract value from every book donated. Goodwill moves approximately 1,000,000 lbs of books into recycling & salvage markets every year!

Goodwill has made a commitment to building all of its new facilities to LEED Certification standards.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third party verified building standard authorized by the U.S. Green Building Council. The goal of building LEED Certified buildings is to reduce our total operating cost and our impact on the environment.

LEED Certified Goodwill Store’s

  • The roof is 100% white. This contributes to the reduction of the heat island effect.
  • Water efficient plumbing fixtures, such as dual flush toilets, reduce building water use by 30%
  • The building envelope is thermally efficient, saving about $10,000 per year in energy consumption.
  • Over 75% of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
  • 20% of the building uses recycled content.
  • Over 20% of the buildings materials came from within 500 miles of the facility.
  • The store utilized certified wood which aids in environmentally responsible forest management.
  • Low VOC emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, and carpets were used, thus reducing the amount of indoor air contaminants.