The 2014 Summit of Sustainability Awards

Winner, Nonprofit/Community Category: Goodwill Industries of Akron

Good for the community

Recycling has always been a core value for Goodwill Industries. The organization sells used clothing and other goods, diverting thousands of tons of materials from landfills and donating the proceeds from its sales to employment services.
Recently, Goodwill Industries of Akron has been working toward a more sustainable community. This year, the nonprofit has committed to improving its operations for energy efficiency and fuel conservation to reduce its environmental footprint.
For years, Goodwill has minimized the disposal of donations not sold within its stores. In 2013 alone, approximately 7.7 million pounds of material were recycled through its salvage programs. Goodwill was also able to divert 433,940 pounds of electronic waste from landfills.
Goodwill Akron’s facility is also going green. It has reduced its electricity consumption by 28 percent, and 95 percent of its janitorial chemicals are nontoxic. Further, the agency recently earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification and rating of 85 for its Waterloo Road facility. The 52-year-old building not only meets the strict energy efficiency performance levels established by the EPA, but also performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.
But sustainable awareness and efforts should happen organically, not top-down. That’s why Goodwill of Akron assembled its Green Team with a mission to encourage sustainable practices agency-wide.
By optimizing its current processes, Goodwill of Akron has made a positive and significant impact on the environment. It continues to exemplify environmental leadership while contributing to the economic health and sustainability of Summit County.