The Facts About Goodwill Industries

For several years, some of my friends and family have been telling me that they won’t donate to or shop at Goodwill Industries because their chief executive is overpaid and their workers get paid very little.

I finally checked this out. According to Snopes.com (accurate information for Goodwill is about 4/5 of the way down the page), it was never true, and it certainly isn’t true now.

Here’s how some legitimate sources evaluate Goodwill Industries:

Let’s put this outrageous calumny where it belongs: in the landfill!

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Microbeads: These Things Belong in the Landfill

From the December 14, 2015 issue of online publication Waste Dive:

A bill that would completely ban the manufacturing or sale of bath products and cosmetics containing microbeads by 2019 is pending a final approval from the U.S. Senate this week before heading to President Obama’s desk. If a vote is quickly made and the bill is signed, it could be made a law before the year’s end. (Read more.)

For years, many soaps, scrubs, and other personal care products have included, as an exfoliating agent, tiny plastic beads. These microbeads enter the wastewater system, where they are too small for most filtration systems to remove them. So they enter our lakes, streams, and groundwater and, because they are plastic, they attract toxins. As a result:

  • They pollute our water.
  • They make their way into the food chain.
  • They poison the animals that mistake them for food.
  • They may end up on your dinner plate, and perhaps your drinking water.

Learn more about microbeads here and here.

How can you tell whether a product contains microbeads? Look at the label: polyethylene or polypropylene means that the product contains plastic. Sometimes you need only look at the front of the package: if it says microbeads, there’s your clue.

For lists of products that contain microbeads, click here and here. For microbead-free products, click here. (Note: these lists are not exhaustive.) To examine a specific product’s ingredients list, search the web for the product name. The manufacturer’s website may list the ingredients, and I’ve found this information for many products on drugstore.com.

Several years ago, before I ever heard about microbeads, I purchased a facial scrub. Great exfoliant — I loved it! I picked up a couple more tubes so I wouldn’t run out.

Then I learned — it contains microbeads. Much as I hate to throw anything into the trash, that’s where this product is going, right to the landfill. At least there it will be kept out of our groundwater and sewer systems.

If you’re interested in following the waste management industry — landfills, collections, recycling, waste-to-energy, and much more — consider signing up for Waste Dive’s daily online newsletter. More information is available here.

Want to stay in touch with the latest zero waste and recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

Shiloh Industries: 11th Location Is Landfill Free

Congratulations to Valley City, Ohio’s Shiloh Industries for reaching landfill-free status at eleven of its facilities — all of its locations in Europe and Mexico, and five of its U.S. plants — and for continued progress toward total landfill-free status at its remaining plants, which are now an average of 97.4% landfill-free.

Shiloh Industries, #32 in Forbes magazine’s 2014 list of America’s Best Small Companies, has reached this milestone by utilizing recyclable raw materials and identifying alternative solutions for the waste produced. Through the first ten months of the fiscal year ending October 31, 2015, the Medina County based company has kept 220 million pounds of waste material out of landfills.

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Too much stuff? “Pass It On!”

Need to make some room before the gift-giving starts? Donate unwanted clothes, toys, and other items to a local non-profit organization that accepts donations.

Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff

Image courtesy of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District publishes a book called “Pass It On: A Resource-Full Guide to Donating Usable Stuff” that lists over 125 local organizations, most of them in Cuyahoga County, that accept donations year-round. (Some of these organizations will pick up donated goods, but may not offer pickups outside the county.)

If your mailing address is in Cuyahoga County, you can order a copy of the book by calling (216) 698-2265 or online from the Solid Waste District’s website.

If you’re outside Cuyahoga County, or if you prefer the less wasteful online version, you can view it online as a PDF on the District’s website or use their searchable database, which may have more current information than the book, which was published in July 2014. (Scroll down to “Items to Donate.”)

Make this holiday season a little greener: use “Pass It On” to find destinations for your unwanted belongings.

(My thanks to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District for permission to quote part of this material from their online newsletter, Talking Trash.)

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