3 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact

 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Earth Day is next week and now is the perfect opportunity to assess your environmental impact. The great news is that making positive environmental changes can be easy. While swapping your car for a bike or covering your roof with solar panels would be amazing progress, you can still make a huge difference with your smaller day-to-day habits. Just think about the lifecycle of the objects like clothes, decor, and any necessities in your home. If you can limit your product consumption to used items and make sure that you responsibly dispose of them when you’re done, then you’ll dramatically decrease the resources you’re using up and, thus, the impact you’re making on the planet. Here are some fun examples of how people just like you green their homes and attire…

Image via thriftanistainthecity.com

Turn old shirts into cleaning clothsBlogger Troy, a.k.a. Thriftanista in the City, heavily emphasizes styling second-hand clothes in her chic and motivating posts. The 3 Rs in Fashion explores how the reduce, reuse, recycle practices apply to what we wear. She notes that keeping your closet earth-friendly could be as simple as donating clothes you’ll no longer wear to Goodwill to be reused by someone else or thinking of new ways you can re-wear pieces you already have to extend their life in your closet. Click through for more ideas and plenty of thrift shopping inspiration!

Image via craftster.org

Twig VotivesIn the Reuse section of Troy’s blog post, she mentions turning old t-shirts into cleaning cloths. You may be wondering how that works or what it looks like so I found the perfect example shared on Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina, Inc. (Greensboro)’s Earth Day Every Day pinboard. The crafty maker of these dishcloths turned a few of her t-shirts into jersey yarn then knitted them just as she would with regular yarn. Their texture would be perfect for scrubbing pots and pans or for general cleaning around the house. Don’t want to rip into your own t-shirt stash? Thrift some from Goodwill! Creative reuse of second-hand items is highly encouraged.

Image via fossil.com

When it comes to environmentally-conscious home furnishings, making your own custom decor from found and used items is the perfect way to merge the Earth with the Earth-friendly. These whimsical twig votives would add a lovely rustic mood to a mantel or centerpiece display. Plus, they’re easy as pie! All you need to do is collect some fallen sticks and glue them onto thrifted glassware. Follow Goodwill Industries of New Mexico (Albuquerque)’s DIY with Goodwill Finds pinboard for more easy crafting ideas like this!

At Goodwill, extending the life of used objects to help the environment is one of our missions. And that goes for textiles, glassware, and almost any other used objects you can think of — even technology! Through Goodwill’s Dell Reconnect program, which began in 2004, Goodwill organizations who are partners have collectively diverted more than 427 million pounds of computers and computer equipment from landfills. That’s an incredible feat! And it’s all possible because people like you donate to and shop at our stores. Keep up the good work this Earth Day and every day!

Reduce Waste: Thrift, Re-Use, Recycle

Earth day is this week, but you can celebrate every day! One way you can do your part to reduce waste is by embracing reusable alternatives when you’re eating at a restaurant or anywhere on the go. Here are a few simple items you can thrift at your local Goodwill to help you be prepared!

Reusable Bag:
The perfect way to keep your kit together, great for runs to the store, useful for transporting food – skip the flimsy plastic!

Cloth Napkin:
Pass on the paper and go for a cloth option. Practical, washable, durable – just throw a few in your kit!

Metal Straws:
Make plastic straws a thing of the past by keeping a few of these on hand, plus you’ll never have to contend with the occasional dreaded punctured straw…

Reusable Drinkware/Travel Mug:
Keep your drinks warmer/colder longer and avoid disposable drinkware.

Divided Container:
Great for bringing lunches or taking leftovers home. Skip the Styrofoam and plastic to-go boxes!

Handy for avoiding disposable plastic alternatives, easy to clean – keep a few sets on hand so you can wash and rotate.

Glass Jar:
A great small container option for snacks or drinks.

Small Containers:
Have a few for dry snacks or smaller to-go items – flexible, convenient, a must in any kit.

Preparing your own zero waste kit is a fun challenge that will help you avoid unnecessary trash and single use items in your daily routine.


Goodwill Achieves Three-Year CARF Accreditation in Six Service Areas


Goodwill Achieves Three-Year CARF Accreditation in Six Service Areas
Goodwill of the Great Plains Support Center, Sioux City, IA

Sioux City, IA- Goodwill of the Great Plains completed their recent CARF Accreditation to mark its excellence in services provided to the community.   Accreditation was achieved in all six services areas surveyed: Community Employment Services: Job Development; Community Integration; Employee Development Services; Employment Planning Services; Organizational Employment Services; and Adult Day Services.

“CARF Accreditation signifies to our community Goodwill’s dedication to quality services which are person-centered and continuously evaluated.  Team members take pride in offering the very best to those served as evidenced in the commitment to meeting over 1,000 CARF standards,” said John Hantla, President and CEO for Goodwill of the Great Plains.

CARF has been in existence for 52 years, and is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services, enhancing the lives of persons served worldwide.  The accreditation process applies CARF’s internationally recognized standards during an on-site survey conducted by peer surveyors.  Goodwill of the Great Plains welcomed five surveyors on-site at multiple locations for three days covering services offered in three states (Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota) for the review process.   For over 30 years, Goodwill has maintained full CARF Accreditation.

Rainy Day Goodwill Haul + Thrift Tips

Happy spring! April showers might bring May flowers…but, in my world, rainy days also bring some fantastic Goodwill finds. When it’s pouring outside, one thing that always cheers me up is grabbing a cup of coffee, meeting a friend, then seeing what sunshine we can find inside my favorite thrift store.  Here’s a look at my latest spring-inspired haul along with some thrift shopping tips that will keep you from leaving the store disappointed.

Tip #1: Shop during or after a storm (as long as it’s safe to go out)! When the weather is rough, but stores are still open, staff is able to work swiftly to sort through donations and get them on the floor because they have fewer customers to assist. And because all the other shoppers are hunkering down at home, you get the pick of the litter as soon as new items hit the shelves! With so many rainy days in the spring, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of this tip. Go to Goodwill on a torrentially rainy day (not just light drizzles) for the best selection and least competition. Don’t worry if you forgot your umbrella! During my thrift haul today I found this classic umbrella that just had to come home with me. Its wooden handle makes it feel a little more special than a regular plastic one. Your local Goodwill might have some unique raingear, too!

Tip #2: If you love something, buy it! Don’t talk yourself out of it just because you didn’t go shopping with that specific item in mind. Most seasoned thrift shoppers have a story or two about stumbling upon their favorite find at an unexpected time. That’s why I didn’t even hesitate when I saw this blazer. It’s not what I came in for, but blazers are so expensive brand-new that when I saw this one, I instantly tried it on. It’s perfect for my 9-5 job and it’s a fun layer to go over summer dresses so they can work for spring! I couldn’t even wait to get to the dressing room to make sure it fit.

Tip #3: When in doubt, put it in your cart. You can always put it back on the shelf if you change your mind before you leave the store. I was on the fence about these running pants at first, but I put them in my cart while I poked around the rest of the store anyway. Sometimes when I do this, I reassess at the end of the trip and feel comfortable leaving the item behind. But when I was done browsing this morning, I checked in with myself about these pants and felt confident that they were a great choice. At only $9 for brand-new, comfy jogging pants, they are just the motivation I needed to get moving with a new exercise routine this spring. Good thing I put them in my cart when I did—they were the only pair in my size!

Tip #4: Bring a sewing tape measure and know the sizes/colors of specific things you need. One item I had been searching for was a basket or bin that could fit into an empty nook in my bedroom for craft supply storage. When I have specific needs like this I make sure to keep measurements of the space I have to fill on my phone. I also bring along a sewing tape measure (it rolls up so tiny!) so I can check to see if items are the correct size right there in the store. You may also want to bring color swatches or pictures of a certain things you’re trying to match. If you shop prepared then you’ll never take something home that doesn’t fit or leave something behind that could have.

Tip #5: Shop in the middle of the week. Not only will the store be less crowded, but that also means that the good stuff hasn’t been snagged by someone else. This Goodwill haul adventure I’m sharing today took place on a Wednesday so I had plenty of time and space to browse around. Wandering along, I was shocked when I noticed this Soma water pitcher peeking out at me from the top shelf in the kitchen section. I have had this same exact picture on my Amazon wish list for months and here it was waiting for me at Goodwill for only $2 (it retails for $40). Would it still be there if I waited until Saturday to shop? Probably not!

Tip #6: Donate something every time you go. Not only does this keep your home from becoming too cluttered, it’s also good thrifting karma to give as you get. I’ve been looking for a colorful, light-weight bag to add to my wardrobe for a while and I feel like this one might have been waiting for me as a reward this time for clearing out some old bags on my last visit. I love the unique clasp and bright colors. It’s so perfect for spring!

Tip #7: Learn the discounts. What day of the week do things get marked down at your local Goodwill? What’s the color of the week? Do seniors or veterans receive a discount? These are quick questions to ask staff that can help you save money. Some Goodwill stores even offer you a discount coupon when you make a donation! Keeping the color of the week in mind, I was able to get this bright Old Navy sweater for half-off. I love the weight and fit of it. It’s so flattering and will take the edge off of cooler spring days while still feeling cheery thanks to its lively color.

Tip #8: Check the return racks outside of the dressing rooms. These racks are filled with items that have caught the eye of other shoppers so they’re always stuffed with great pieces. It’s almost like someone has pre-shopped for you, selecting the cutest of the cute to try on. When clothes don’t fit just right or the color doesn’t work for the other shopper the way they had hoped, where does it go? On the return rack! Fantastic finds like this flowy Lauren Conrad blouse will often be hiding there so don’t pass it by. I really think this might be my new favorite shirt. It’s a favorite color of mine and the gold buttons make it feel so fancy!

Tip #9: Shop out of season! Years ago, I never would have dreamt I’d be buying this wooden Christmas tree in March, but I’ve since learned the merit of shopping out of season. So even though it’s springtime now and I’ve got pastels and picnics on the brain, I couldn’t pass by this perfect little tree with its rustic charm. How cozy will this look in December nestled amongst evergreen boughs with stockings hung nearby?

Shopping secondhand, reusing items and do-it-yourself projects are all a great way to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s also more fun to find something unique at a Goodwill store and give it a second life. On your next trip to Goodwill, consider donating plastic shopping bags. All bags are either recycled or reused by Goodwill to keep them out of landfills.