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What does Goodwill do with clothes they can’t sell?

When Goodwill can’t sell donated clothes, they use various alternative options to keep the clothes from reaching the landfill. 

Luckily, clothing is easy to recycle or upcycle. If Goodwill can’t sell clothing donations in-store, on its online thrift store or at a Goodwill outlet, the clothes are often sold to a textile recycler or other salvage vendor.

These recyclers use the unsold clothing in various ways. For example, it may be cut up and used for different purposes or processed and recycled into a fibre filling for use in furniture or insulation. With the help of these alternative methods, Goodwill is able to keep millions of pounds of usable goods from reaching the landfill each year.

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What is Goodwill’s diversion rate from the landfills?

From our commitment to sustainability and growth initiatives, which we continuously improve on each year. So far, Goodwill has diverted over 15,000,000 kilograms from landfills, and this number grows each year! Thanks to our sustainability action plan and the consideration of Albertans we are able to continue to create an impact. You can learn about our sustainability initiatives, achievements, and financials through our Annual Report. Read more here.

What is the Impact Centre?

First and foremost, it’s AMAZING. Our amazing Impact Centre is the central hub for all of our sustainability initiatives and commercial service teams. With this location, we are able to provide an outlet store where you can purchase last chance items by the pound, and a furniture store that has an abundance of pieces at low prices.

On top of our retail outlets, we house the Repair for Good program which upcycles broken and discarded furniture, we also sort, break down, and provide plastic to vendors who create new products, and our commercial services team creates a variety of repurposed products such as cleaning cloths and crayons. Learn more about the Impact Centre and its programs, here.

Can I calculate the weight of goods that I'm helping divert from the landfills?

We have launched an Impact Calculator to provide tangible numbers on the huge impact that repurposing and recycling your items can create. You can input the quantity of clothing, accessories, housewares, and furniture you plan to donate or have donated in the past to get a calculated score.

This score will show you the environmental effect by calculating the potential pounds of goods you have diverted from the landfills. You will also get a calculated number of hours that your donation has the potential to provide our mission’s programs and services used to place people with disabilities into new jobs & careers.  

Try out the Impact Calculator here.

Do all Goodwill Donation Centres accept electronics for recycling?

Yes, they do, you can visit any of our donation centres across the province to bring your electronics. If you are requiring them to be recycled, please make the donor attendant aware or label your packaging. For larger items, such as home stereo systems, TVs, projector screens, etc please bring them to a donation centre attached to a store. To find your local donation centre, please click here.

Can I recycle my electronics with Goodwill?

You most certainly can! Goodwill has partnered with Quantum Lifecycle to provide electronics recycling across the province. This partnership allows us to accept your broken or unusable electronics, keeping them out of the landfills, and allowing you a safe and easy way to dispose of them.

Quantum Lifecycle is able to recycle items such as laptops, cellphones, tablets, various styles of TVs and monitors, printers, AV Equipment, stereo systems, and more.  

Does thrifting help the environment?

Thrifting helps the environment significantly. Both donating to Goodwill and buying used clothes and other items help to keep these goods from going to landfills. This results in less landfill waste and reduced pollution. Therefore, thrifting to help the environment, with Goodwill means you are helping to reduce your community’s environmental footprint.

At the same time as helping the environment, donating and buying used goods at Goodwill helps people in your community with disabilities. Goodwill Alberta employs Albertans with disabilities and uses funds from its sales to support its mission. In fact, 89.2% of all revenues are used to help support this mission of helping Albertans with disabilities gain employment.

Is Goodwill eco-friendly?

Goodwill is an eco-friendly organization that undertakes numerous environmental initiatives. 

First and foremost, Goodwill’s core business model helps to keep millions of kilograms of waste from reaching landfills each year. To do so, Goodwill accepts donations of used clothing and other household items which it sells to raise funds to support its mission of helping individuals with disabilities in Alberta, and across the world.

In addition to encouraging people to recycle their used items through donation, Goodwill focuses on reducing energy consumption from their operations. For example, Goodwill thrift stores use energy-efficient lighting and appliances and Goodwill Industries offsets energy use with renewable energy certificates. As a result of eco-friendly initiatives, Goodwills across the globe have won eco awards for environmental leadership.

Can you donate bras to Goodwill in Alberta?

Yes, bras can be donated to Goodwill. As long as the bras are clean and new or gently used they will be sold in Goodwill’s retail stores. Keep in mind, Goodwill cannot accept wet or dirty clothing. So, before bringing items in for donation please be sure that they are laundered and dry.

If the bras are damaged, they may still be accepted at the donation location. Bras that cannot be sold in-store, are sent to textile recyclers who convert the material into new products. This way, nothing goes to waste unless absolutely necessary. 

Looking for a Goodwill Alberta donation location? Find the nearest Goodwill using our drop-off location locator.

Can I donate underwear to Goodwill in Alberta?

Underwear that is new or gently used can be donated to Goodwill in Alberta. The underwear should be clean, dry and in good condition when they are donated. 

Depending on the condition of the undergarments, they may be sold or recycled. For example, if the underwear is damaged or not suitable for resale, it may be sent to a textile recycler. The recycler will turn the material into wiping rags, upholstery stuffing or fibre recycling. 

Even if you have articles of clothing, including underwear, that are ripped or damaged, consider bringing them to a local Goodwill donation center. By donating these items, they can be put to good use instead of being added to the landfill. If you’re in or near Calgary, the City of Calgary Throw ‘n’ Go is another location where donations can be dropped off. All items donated at this location are organized by Goodwill Alberta.

Can you donate socks to Goodwill?

Goodwill accepts donated socks that are gently used or brand new. All clothing that is donated to Goodwill, should be clean and laundered before it’s brought in. Socks that are too damaged to be sold at Goodwill Alberta’s thrift store locations will be sent to outside organizations that recycle textiles into new products or materials for other uses. 

To donate socks or other clothing items to Goodwill Alberta, visit one of our donation centers. Donation locations can be found throughout Alberta, including in Edmonton and surrounding cities. The profits from donations that are resold in our retails stores benefit local communities and help individuals in Alberta with disabilities.

Can I donate Christmas decorations to Goodwill?

Christmas decorations and other holiday items can be donated to Goodwill in Alberta. This includes household holiday decor, Christmas lights and Christmas trees. However, please note that Christmas trees will only be accepted if they are in their original box or bag. All items should be in good condition when they are brought to a donation center

Goodwill Alberta greatly appreciates all the donations received. When you donate to Goodwill you can rest assured your donation is going to a good cause. 89.2% of all profit goes back into the local community, helping people with disabilities find meaningful work.

Can I donate a mattress to Goodwill Industries?

Unfortunately, mattresses cannot be donated to Goodwill. Although Goodwill would love to accept all donations, some items cannot be accepted for health and safety reasons. Bedroom furniture that cannot be accepted includes mattresses, pillows, bed frames, bunk beds, hide-a-beds and waterbeds

Undoubtedly, there are many items in these categories that are perfectly good for reuse. However, in some cases, these items may pose a health and safety risk to our staff or new owners. Therefore, to be safe, we do not accept them.

Goodwill Alberta asks that anyone with a used bed or bed frame find an alternative destination for it.

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