Shifting to Thrifting – Empowering a More Sustainable Environment by Shopping Second-Hand

By Felicia Czochanski

With Earth Day, April 22, we’ll all be reminded to evaluate our everyday choices and consider what impact they have on the environment. There are so many ways to celebrate the beauty of the planet, like spending time walking outside, cleaning up litter on a beach or local park, and taking the time to learn about environmental issues. This is more important than ever this year, as the health of our environment has been at the forefront of conversation throughout what has been the warmest winter on record in some places, and the most catastrophic with bizarre fluctuating temperatures and dangerous storms in others. Together, we can invest in the Earth and take part in this year’s Earth Day theme, Take Action: Be part of the green revolution.

Earth Day encourages us all to act boldly, innovate broadly, and implement equitably towards the dream of a clean and healthy planet. This is at the root of Goodwill’s mission to amplify the message of environmental sustainability through “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Goodwill is the middleman of a donation-based circular economy of clothing and household goods and being green is an underlying philosophy of all the organization has done for more than 100 years.

Many of us learn about the “3 Rs” in grade school, but how we can apply this later in life might get lost. Donating and shopping at Goodwill is one of the easiest ways to do this, because in doing so, you set in motion a chain of events that keeps items out of landfills, which further pollute our land, air and water, and keep them in a circular economy. Donating still usable items is a method of instant recycling, which at its core means using items more than once, maybe even for a different purpose. Donating to Goodwill not only supports wider environmental goals, but also people in local communities, who can be offered job training and employment to keep Goodwill’s mission going strong by sorting through donations, managing technology, and interacting with shoppers in store every day. Useable items in fair to new condition can still be sold at Goodwill, whether at a local store or at a Goodwill outlet, also known as “the Goodwill bins.”

While donating provides fuel for the circular economy, the most effective and sustainable way to have a positive environmental impact is by preventing new things from being produced or consumed. The best way to do this is by shopping second-hand first as much as possible. When you shop second-hand versus at a retail store, you’re signaling to big brands and corporations that demand for new items is not as high, causing them to reduce production. This choice is the most sustainable and affordable way to shop, and it’s fun to do too. You never know what you’ll find at Goodwill, which means you’re likely to not only find the thing you need, but so much more. In many cases, Goodwill is the last chance for reuse of an item, which means the more you contribute to the second-hand circular economy of donating and shopping, the more you’re helping to save the planet.

Help Goodwill spread some reeducation around the “3 R’s” this Earth Month as we shift our mindsets to be thrifting first.

Goodwill of the Great Plains to break ground on new Mission Services building

EVENT DATE: Wednesday, June 21, 2023
EVENT TIME: 11:30am
EVENT LOCATION: 3011 W. 4th St., Sioux City, IA

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – After more than 100 years of serving the greater Siouxland community and beyond, Goodwill of the Great Plains is expanding – and you’re invited to the celebration to see our plans! On June 21, at 11:30am, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce will host a groundbreaking ceremony for a new 25,000-square-foot Mission Services building at 3011 W. 4th St., across from the Goodwill Support Center campus.

Goodwill of the Great Plains’ mission is to serve as an advocate for economic self-sufficiency through employment and education, creating a world of dignity and compassion through the power of work. The new building will help advance that mission as the new home of Goodwill’s Sioux City Job Center and Integrated Day Services, programs to help adults gain more rewarding and independent lives. The space will have a commercial kitchen, lounge, and computer lab.

“The plans for this building try to take as many of the day-to-day activities already happening and grow them, make them easier to get to and include anyone that is interested in learning new things, being physically active and having fun,” said Shawn Fick, Vice President of Mission Advancement at Goodwill of the Great Plains.

The state-of-the-art building will be home to Goodwill’s annual Shoe and Mitten Program and career fairs. It will also be a community center, with a rentable gym and meeting rooms.

“The creation of a welcoming space for community engagement in Goodwill’s mission to change lives is at the heart of this expansion,” said Briget Solomon, CEO of Goodwill of the Great Plains.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Goodwill provides as many individuals as possible an opportunity to achieve their fullest potential and thrive in all aspects of life by engaging community members in workforce development, quality-of-life and support services, which include job training and placement programs, as well as four regional Job Centers, a Career Cruiser and more.

Goodwill’s 21 retail stores fund those mission programs to help improve the lives of others through the power of work.

The new Goodwill of the Great Plains Mission Services Building is expected to open in early 2025.

This community gem has many opportunities for engagement, gifts-in-kind, and sponsorships. For more information, connect with Briget Solomon, Charlotte Nelson or Shawn Fick at 712-258-4511 or via email at