ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - An average of eight million pounds of donations are processed annually between the Onalaska and La Crosse Goodwill centers. Only a fraction of those donations make it out on the shelves of Goodwill's resale stores. The rest, however, do not end up in the landfill.
Goodwill repurposes as many donations as possible through a variety of specialized recycling programs. Clothing, for instance, that does not meet Goodwill's quality standards are either sold to a secondary resale vendor or remade into new articles of clothing through the Goods Made Good program. Books and magazines are sold to a pulper business to be remade into new paper products. Donated bedding and towels that cannot be sold at Goodwill are cut up to be made into industrial rags and wipes for businesses like painters, auto dealerships, and car washes. Electronics are recycled as well- old computers and printers are sent to an e-cycling business in La Crosse, and copper wiring from cords, lamps, and Christmas lights are sold to a metal recycler.
Revenue generated by recycling through secondary vendors helps fund Goodwill's community programs, according to Paula Egge, the Onalaska store team leader. Their programs include employing and training individuals with disabilities. Paula adds that less than one percent of the donations that come through Goodwill end up in the landfill. That amounts to 25 million pounds of recycled material annually between all of the Goodwill locations in north central Wisconsin.
While Goodwill accepts a variety of donations and can recycle many different products, in general television sets and anything involving liquids or chemicals cannot be accepted. For a full list of items that cannot be accepted, visit Goodwill's website at http://www.goodwillncw.org/community/lacrosse.html.
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