Goodwill Industries and a Great Green Initiative

A couple of weeks ago I was paying for my (weekly) purchase at the Goodwill and politely declined the plastic bag that was offered to me at the checkout. Unless I have way too much to carry (which has been known to happen) I always decline the bag and just carry my stuff out to the car.  Usually the clerk is surprised about this, but this time she wasn’t and we chatted a bit and commiserated about how many plastic bags we all end up with after doing our weekly shopping.  As I paid and completed my purchase she said:

“Yeah, they need to provide the re-usable shopping bags here too because you know, the Goodwill is going green”.

So………. that got me thinking and sparked my interest. We all know that thrift shopping is a “green” thing to do by donating and purchasing items otherwise destined for the landfill, but I wondered, just what else is Goodwill Industries doing to go green? My good friend Google and I did a little digging and I found out about a GREAT green initiative.

From the Goodwill International website:

Goodwill Industries has received a $7.3 million grant as a part of the “Pathways Out of Poverty” opportunity funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The grant will provide funds to create Green job training programs as a strategy to move individuals out of poverty and into economic self sufficiency. The funding from the U.S. Department of Labor will enable the Goodwill to provide pre-employment training and occupational skills training for job seekers so that they can obtain and retain well paying jobs in the rapidly growing green industry of their choice. Jobs such as energy efficient building construction and retrofit, renewable electric power and energy efficient assessment.

The funding is being divided up among 6 Goodwill chapters in the U.S. who have demonstrated partnerships with local businesses and labor organizations, one of them being my local Goodwill chapter of North Georgia!

Cool!  After reading this I really got interested!

I  proceeded to the “Pathways out of Poverty” portion of the website and found out that in Georgia, 200 unemployed and underprivileged people are being trained in General Green Construction, Weatherization and Solar Panel Installation. Last year, the North Georgia Goodwill helped 4,169 people get good jobs! Now that is green that can really make a difference.

So, now when you shop at Goodwill, in addition to finding some really great stuff, you know your money and donations will go even further to help the environment.

I just can’t help myself any longer, I have to brag about what I found that day at the Goodwill:

beautiful wool embroidered blanket for $4.59

You really can’t beat that at all, but  I feel even better about my purchase now!

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About Karen Lee

As a former Captain of Eco Etsy and one of the current leaders for the team, I am really excited to be hanging out with like minded team members to share ideas on how we can leave the least amount of carbon footprint.

I sell eco-handmade and vintage goodies in my Etsy shop and consult small business owners on Karen Lee Consulting where popular Etsy Starter Kit is sold. And as a retired Chiropractor, I share natural health news and green tips on Check out my past posts on Eco Etsy!


  1. Great post! but oh I love love love that blanket you found!!! :)

  2. I’m a huge fan of thrift shops, but I had no idea that Goodwill had such an initiative. Makes me happy to hear it! Also, great find – that blanket is pretty awesome.

  3. Hi Karen. Google really is a good friend…it helped us find you and this blog. :) Great mission by the way. Kudos to you. Thanks for shopping and helping support our mission! We’re really proud to be a part of Pathways Out of Poverty. We should have some great success stories to share soon when participants finish training and start landing jobs. Thank you for helping spread the word about what we do!

    PS: Nice Goodwill find. I’ll pass on the message about the recyclable bags.

  4. My local Goodwill store (in Canada) also employs people who may be disadvantaged in the competitive job market, such as those with chronic but stable mental health issues. I’m not sure if we have the same program in Canada that you describe, but it’s great to hear about.

  5. I too love Goodwill and all that they stand for. Have made some great finds and donate a big pile every 6 months. Love the programs they do too…thanks for the post!

  6. a salvation army retail store in the next town over always asks if we’d like a bag…. if we say yes, they always give us for free the reuseable bags that one can purchase for .99 at the grocery store.

  7. Thanks for posting this Karen- I didn’t know about it- great news!