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Electronics donations get a second chance

E-cycling by Goodwill Industries promotes reuse and recycling

Mar. 27, 2013
 
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Goodwill employee Shane Timm sorts donated electronics at Goodwill in Green Bay on Tuesday. / Lukas Keapproth/Gannett Wisconsin Media

About this campaign

Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin kicked off its “March to Goodwill” campaign March 3 to support its programs and services. The campaign is in partnership with Gannett Wisconsin Media markets in Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh.
Post-Crescent Media has partnered with Goodwill on “Sack It to Goodwill” since the 1990s as one of The Post-Crescent’s annual Do It! Community Challenges. “March to Goodwill” replaces it in the “Do It!” lineup.
To participate in this year’s “March to Goodwill,” fill any box or bag with gently used clothing, shoes and other household items. Donation bags were distributed in the March 3 print editions of The Post-Crescent, the Oshkosh Northwestern and the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Non-daily publications in The Post-Crescent’s coverage area also had bags inserted.
During the campaign, drop off the donations at any Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin store, Donation Express site or Goodwill-branded donation bin.
The Post-Crescent, Press-Gazette and Northwestern will keep the donation drive front-of-mind this month with twice-weekly stories about Goodwill’s mission, services and programs.

How to help

Visit goodwillncw.org to find a Goodwill store near you or to learn more about the organization’s programs and services.

E-Cycle

For information about the state program, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Ecycle.

More

GREEN BAY — It can be a hassle trying to get rid of old computers, cellphones and other electronics.

That’s why, in addition to clothes and household items, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin also collects many types of electronics. And the best part is the organization does it for free, said Mary Haller, the nonprofit’s district vice president of logistics and supply chain.

“We win and all of our communities win when we keep items like e-waste out of the landfill,” she said, adding those who donate can be eligible for a federal income tax deduction.

» Video: Goodwill helps resell or recycle used electronics

» Video: Outlet store one of Goodwill's newest green efforts

» Video: Goodwill helps mom care for autistic twins

» Video: Goodwill employee overcomes physical limitations, establishes career

To help raise funds, the March to Goodwill campaign asks donors to fill distributed bags with used goods and drop them off at donation facilities. The campaign is being run in partnership with Post-Crescent Media, Press-Gazette Media and Oshkosh Northwestern Media.

The state’s electronics recycling law, which went into effect in 2010, bans personal electronics from being disposed in landfills or incinerators. That means it’s up to residents to safely dispose of their used items.

Known as e-cycling, Goodwill helps to reuse and recycle old electronic equipment, including iPods, tablets and fax machines. Many electronics contain hazardous materials, such as lead or mercury, so it’s important they are handled safely, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Since 2011, Goodwill has been registered to collect old electronics used in homes or schools with the E-Cycle Wisconsin program, which is coordinated by the DNR.

Goodwill does not accept TVs, because staff said they are bulky and difficult to sell. However, many other electronics can be dropped of at one of 25 Goodwill Industries collection sites in the region, including all three stores in the Green Bay area.

The organization clears personal data from some items, such as cellphones or computers. Those items can only be sold online at www.shopgoodwill.com. Electronics without data, such as keyboards or a computer mouse, are often sold at site stores.

Donated items unlikely to be sold in stores are taken to a logistics center in Appleton, Haller said. Those items are later sold to recyclers.

From July 2011 to June 2012, the regional Goodwill reported collecting more than 430,000 pounds of electronic devices that could be recycled.

Proceeds from selling electronics to recyclers helps defray the costs of transporting and maintaining electronics, Haller said. Any funds left over help to support the organization’s programs, which include helping people with disabilities.

Goodwill serves 35 counties in the region.

— Charles Davis writes for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

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