Re: greenyes-d Digest V99 #368

Ann Schneider (
Tue, 7 Dec 1999 01:06:40 -0800

Hmm. I work closely with a VP at Goodwill of Santa Cruz and will ask her
about her sorting site. To answer some of your questions. Goodwills in
different counties can vary considerable but in general the first sort
occurs at the store level, then unmarked stuff moves to the central
sorting facility. My guess is they know what sells locally and what
doesn't. You didn't say when you went but if recently there has been a
down turn in sales of clothing due to the strong economy and people are
buying new.

I will agree that the traditional thrifts could/should expand market
activities. Most stopped repairing items cuz the cost of repair was not
made up in the sale of the item AND because that isn't a marketable
skill. Goodwill's mission is vocational training, the activities they do
and the jobs skills they give their clients must be marketable within
that region. For example, I had hoped that they would take on
deconstruction training but they were concerned that there weren't enough
deconstruction firms to hire their clients. (Of course, the didn't
realize that these workers could enter the construction trade where there
is a worker shortage.)

One thing local government and their market/economic development staff
can work on is trying to develop local markets and industries that could
make the unwanted reusables reusable. Goodwill is like any other
business in that it can't go out and be every business. And most
probably haven't tried to partner with other for or not-for profits to
handle the materials they can't.

St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County Oregon is a leader in identifying new
business ventures and building them themselves or try to create local
partners within the non-profit sector who could. If you are working in
this area you may want to contact them. (They are CRRA members and you
can find them in the Directory.)

Hope this answers some of your questions.

Ann Schneider
CRRA's Repair, Resale and Reuse Council

On Mon, 6 Dec 1999 16:54:23 EST writes:
> Having visited a vast Goodwill Store near Santa Cruz as part of a
> Waste
> Conference, I am not sure that these traditional stores have any
> concern for
> reuse or recycling at all. The usable items were allowed to stay on
> the
> racks for only a few days before they were movedout to overseas
> markets.
> Sorting was very minimal. There was no repair. No attempt to form
> textile
> reuse firms that might take some for local use. Vintage and other
> great items
> easily went through the hands of low wage workers without oversight.
> My
> guess is that there is very little returned to the real community.
> Who
> receives the goods overseas and does anyone check those profits? Sue
> Nelson,
> Los Angekese
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Ann Schneider
430 Hillwood Ct.
Mtn. View, CA 94040