By Robert Smith, Palmetto Goodwill President/CEO
Think globally, act locally is a phrase often used to encourage people to take small actions in order to do their part toward combating worldwide issues that seem daunting to take on. Protecting our planet is a perfect example. One may ask, “What small actions can individuals take that actually help protect the planet?” The answer is remarkably simple: Donate to your local Palmetto Goodwill!
Last year alone, local donations to Palmetto Goodwill helped keep more than 16.1 million pounds of reusable goods and 1.2 million pounds of electronic waste out of area landfills. That’s in addition to the tens of millions of pounds sold in our stores for reuse.
We could do so much more though. Worldwide, over 80 billion garments are produced annually, yet the recovery rate for textiles is only 15 percent. With nearly 100 percent of textiles and clothing recyclable, the question is why not donate to Goodwill? Goodwill’s donation-resale model extends the life of clothing and other goods – all while generating revenue for Goodwill’s job training and employment service programs. It’s good for the environment as well as the community.
With Earth Day approaching, Palmetto Goodwill encourages people throughout our 18 county territory to embrace the concept of donating for the larger good. As you complete annual spring cleaning and decluttering activities, use Earth Day as a reason to bring items you no longer need or want to any convenient Palmetto Goodwill location. For larger items Goodwill even offers a pick-up service. Donations in good condition go through the sales process, while items that don’t sell are disposed of in an alternative manner – not sent to our landfills!
Revenues are then used to help fund our mission of helping people overcome barriers to employment. Through job trainings, workshops, classes, support services and more, we help veterans, people with disabilities, and those chronically unemployed or underemployed gain the skills they need to start on a successful career path. In 2017, we provided these services to 13,500 unique individuals and placed 2,001 people into new jobs. There is something comforting about knowing that donations made at local stores are used to better both our planet and the lives of people living in the community.
I also encourage you to think beyond clothing, shoes and household items. Electronic items in particular can be costly and problematic to dispose of. Palmetto Goodwill solves that problem by safely and securely wiping hard drives clean with our R2 certified process; then refurbishing, restoring and recycling computers and other electronics at our Computer Works store. In addition to keeping e-waste out of area landfills and further funding our mission, customers in lower South Carolina can purchase modern technology at a deeply discounted price, helping close the technology gap.
This Earth Day, make a commitment to donate locally in order to make a positive environmental impact and help the lives of neighbors. Through our business model Palmetto Goodwill celebrates Earth Day every day. Join us in the celebration!
Robert Smith is the President & CEO of Palmetto Goodwill, a 501c3 not for profit social enterprise whose mission is to help people reach their full potential through the dignity and power of work.