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Goodwill partnership enables Richland, WA residents to donate at curbside.

Want to give those clothes your kids have outgrown to a good cause, but you aren't sure where to go? In Richland, it's as simple as bringing your recycled items to the curb.

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia is working with the city by providing orange bags for Richland's 5,000 recycling customers to place unwanted clothes, shoes, belts, purses, blankets and sheets.

"It's an additional way for residents to donate unused textile items," said Lynne Follett, support specialist with the city's solid waste department.

The program rolled out a couple of weeks ago, dropping off orange bags and instructions for people with Monday recycling pickup, Follett said. Those with Tuesday pickup got their bags last week. Residents sent in 480 pounds of textiles in the first week, said Marcy Fisher, special projects manager for Goodwill.

The area's Goodwill is believed to be one of two in the country offering curbside pickup, along with one in Texas, Fisher said.

Gordon Comfort, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Columbia, came up with the idea at a strategy meeting, where officials looked for new ways to bring in items.

"It's really exciting," Fisher said. "Not only does it keep items from going into the landfill, it keeps people at work."

They determined which items would be OK to donate through curbside recycling after tests at Richland's Clayton Ward Recycling Center, where the Goodwill items go through the same smashing process as recyclables, Fisher said. Textile items survived the crush.

The goods are taken to Goodwill's retail stores, where they are sorted. Goodwill provides employment and training to people with disabilities. Items in good condition are sold at the stores, while those that aren't holding up as well are shipped to Third World countries, Fisher said. Others are recycled as shop rags.

Customers fill out information cards that they include with their bags of donations, Fisher said. Goodwill then inserts their data into a computer and sends them a new bag.

The only cost for the program goes to Goodwill for bags, Fisher said. Customers and Richland don't see any extra charges.

Fisher hopes the program will catch on with other cities and disposal companies in the area

Source: Geoff Folsom, Tri-City Herald

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Publication:Solid Waste Report
Date:Feb 25, 2015
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