Goodwill goes ‘green’ with a nationwide e-cycling network

May 01, 2010 | 04:23 AM | Paul Schaffer

When a consensus for a national policy is lacking on some item of importance, don't be surprised if a not-for-profit entity steps up to fill the void.

Case in point Goodwill Industries International Inc., an association of nonprofits based in Rockville, Md., which is beginning to play a pervasive nationwide role in the collection arrangements for defunct computers and televisions. Sometimes it works with state governments, sometimes with manufacturers.

Goodwill's clout is tempered by a decentralized structure. The Maryland headquarters acts as coordinator for more than 100 regional job-training organizations in the United States that generate revenue by selling donated goods and from contracting with businesses and government. But Goodwill's electronics recycling statistics are impressive.

A policy group called the Northwest Product Stewardship Council recently published a preliminary analysis of e-cycle programs in Oregon and Washington, two states that have laws requiring manufacturer-funded recycling of computers and televisions. The report's final pages list each state's drop-off sites. The Oregon roster is 44-percent Goodwill—partly Goodwill's own stores, partly commercial retailers loosely linked to Goodwill as "donation stations"—while the drop-off roster in Washington is 38-percent Goodwill. Coordinating the latter state's mandatory program is the Washington Materials Management and Financing Authority, run by manufacturers. The executive director, John Friedrick, was recruited from Goodwill Industries of Columbia ....

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