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Goodwill Doesn't Want Your Junk

Well-intended patrons arrive every day at 10:00 am at Goodwill locations with truckloads full of cast-off items. Goodwill spokesperson Heather Steeves says, "We hope everyone brings great things that help our programs, but we know some people make some questionable judgments about what is good to donate.”

She holds up a lampshade, which is stained and disgusting and literally falling apart. There's also a small table missing a leg, cracked purple food-storage containers and a used sponge. They're just a representative sample of the useless stuff dropped off the day before.

Along with simply being gross, these items cost Goodwill money. Steeves says, "All this trash adds up to more than $1 million a year in a trash bill, and it's been growing every year for the past five years.” And that's just for the 30 stores she oversees.

Goodwill does recycle lots of what it can't sell. The nonprofit reuses textiles and refurbishes some broken electronics. But last year, it threw away more than 13 million pounds of waste—technically other people's garbage—and that’s just in its locations in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

One cause of this growing trash problem is a phenomenon called wish-cycling, where people are hoping that something is recyclable and therefore they put it in with their recycling. Steeves said, "We have seen comments on our Facebook page recently that are like, 'If you wouldn't give it to your judgmental mother-in-law, don't donate it.' "

Possible Preaching Angle:

Offerings; Tithes – Christians are sometimes guilty of giving their second-best to God, while keeping the best for themselves. God wants our best, not our leftovers.


Todd Brookman, “Goodwill Doesn’t Want Your Broken Toaster,” NPR (5-6-21)

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