Salvaging 35 Million Pounds

by Brent Frerichs, Seattle Goodwill
March 20, 2013

One of the surprises I’ve encountered in my first year as the Marketing Manager of Seattle Goodwill is the remarkable environmental impact that Seattle Goodwill has on the northern Puget Sound community.

Many people understand that when they drop off their material donations at Goodwill, something good happens. They’re right;  as a nonprofit we resell these donations to support our free adult job training and education classes. Last year alone, we assisted nearly 6,300 students.

Beyond that positive impact to the community, there is also a very positive impact to the Puget Sound environment. Each day, on average, we process 100,000 unique, quality items to put on the sales floors of our 22 stores. Imagine if even half of those items were thrown out and put in landfills instead of donated. Donating to Goodwill is good for our community and good for the environment.

What many people don’t know is what we do with the merchandise that does not sell in our stores. It is our goal to optimize the value of each and every material donation and to be good stewards of the generous donations from our community. To that end, we take merchandise that isn’t sold in the stores and offer those items for sale in our two outlets. If the merchandise doesn’t sell in our outlets, we then have several salvage vendors who buy items from us in bulk. For instance, we have salvage vendors for metal, e-waste, textiles, vacuum cleaners… and believe it or not, someone who pays us for single shoes!  Last year we sold over 35 million pounds of merchandise to support our free job training and education classes by working with our salvage vendors.

Seattle Goodwill builds stronger communities by recycling thousands of tons of reusable merchandise to support free adult job training and education for those who face economic barriers. It’s a nonprofit model that perfectly aligns with the values of the Puget Sound community.


Brent Frerichs is Seattle Goodwill's Marketing Manager. A marketing executive with extensive skill sets in leadership, brand creation, media and media performance, consumer insights, campaign management, database management and loyalty, Brent recently authored a book "Courageous Questions, Confident Leaders" which is available for purchase on Kindle.

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