Friday, November 13, 2015

A Good(will) Surprise in Lubbock Recycling

Eddie Perez of Goodwill
Recycling. It's something we don't do terribly well in this part of Texas. So I get a little excited every time I learn about a way that recycling is going well here. I got a little excited today!
I went on a tour of the Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas facility on 34th just east of I-27. There I learned that Goodwill has an electronic waste contract with Dell computers. Yes, there is an outlet for electronics recycling here in our dusty town! And there's no big procedure to it. If you donate unwanted, outdated, or non-working electronic equipment to Goodwill, they will try first to sell it in one of their stores or in their clearance store (the Pound Store), but if they don't sell it, they will package it up and send it to Dell to be dismantled and recycled. And that has me excited, but it does not stop there.

Goodwill also works at recycling all unsold materials. The tour took us through the salvage warehouse where they sort all unsold items. The metal items are sold to Jarvis Metal for recycling. Clothes and textiles (even stuffed animals) are baled, sold, and shipped to recyclers and resellers. Even shoes get the treatment. Eddie Perez explained to us that they work diligently at keeping donated items out of the landfill. He even spoke of finding new recycling opportunities such as CD's, DVD's, and X-rays. That's not to say that they are at 100% on recycling, but it's a world above what we normally see and they are striving to do better.
While there, we also had the opportunity to tour their document shredding facility. The bales of shredded paper are sent to secure facilities in the US to be turned into pulp and recycled. I was excited to learn that (walk-in) residential shredding is encouraged  (32¢ per pound) and they take unopened junk mail (they remove plastic windows and shred plastic credit cards and such). If you worried about it, they have provided an observation window to allow you to see your documents being shredded.
Yep, things are looking good for recycling at Goodwill and they do all of this while working at their Mission Statement: To Create Job Opportunities for People with Barriers To Employment. More recycling, more jobs, and a better quality of life for our town.
[MH sidebar: I need to head back to the Pound Store this weekend - I saw crutches and messenger bags there - the perfect ingredients for building the panniers from the MH post earlier this week. Such a great resource for us DIY upcyclers!]
It's a great day when you find out about great things going on around you. May you also learn great things about your neighbors.