Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County Joins Colleagues in Offering Solutions for Recycling and Sustainability

Goodwill Operations in Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore form Collaborative Aimed At Recycling Items Donated and Unsellable

As Earth Day draws near, the spotlight on recycling and sustainability is inevitably growing brighter. Yet, despite the attention, there’s a glaring reality: glass, hard plastics, and textiles continue to pose significant recycling challenges across the United States. Despite our best intentions, these materials often end up sidelined in the waste stream due to logistical hurdles, economic limitations, and a lack of the specialization needed to effectively salvage and reuse these materials.

Colleen Morrone, CEO of Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County, does not see this as a challenge, but rather, an opportunity. She, along with her fellow CEOs from Goodwill of Greater Washington and Goodwill of the Chesapeake are joining forces to launch operations in their respective territories to recycle glass, hard plastic, and textile items that are donated but can’t be sold.

This innovative sustainability initiative is aimed at making the most use of donated items that don’t sell in their stores, upskilling their retail workforce, and increasing their capacity to deliver on their non-profit mission. They see this effort as one set to revolutionize recycling and reuse by investing in cutting-edge technology to convert textiles, glass, and plastic into raw materials that can be upcycled into new goods. It was conceived during discussions by the three on leveraging the collective reach and resources of their organizations to make a tangible impact on the environment while fostering economic growth.

“Goodwill organizations have been recycling household goods since we were founded, more than 100 years ago. We have a responsibility to do more to bring sustainable practices to the end-of-life cycle of donated goods that don’t sell in our stores. By upcycling textiles, glass and plastic into raw materials for use in manufacturing and construction projects, we’re creating a more sustainable future for the planet,” said Morrone.

With a focus on people, planet, and prosperity, the three Goodwill organizations are hoping to leverage intellectual capital and physical resources to convert used textiles into raw materials and new fabrics, shred plastic, and implode glass (separately) into raw materials that can be sold to existing domestic markets. For example, glass can be imploded into sand and cullet for use in construction and manufacturing projects, while shredded plastic can be used to manufacture an array of items from park benches to plastic pallets for warehousing.

The program, which is slated to begin between May and June of this year, is underwritten by a grant awarded by Truist, which not only includes purchasing necessary equipment but will also cover the cost of training and community outreach as well.

Goodwill of Delaware & Delaware County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people facing barriers to self-sufficiency, through the Power of Work! Our community-based workforce development programs provide essential job skills, work-based learning opportunities and employment support services that empower people to reach their full potential, provide for themselves and their families, and contribute to the economic and social growth of their communities. Please to learn more and join us in building brighter futures.

For more information about this sustainability collaborative please visit  Goodwill of Greater Washington, Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake; or Goodwill of Delaware & Delaware County