Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The three Rs of waste reduction is an easy to remember mantra, but in the Hub City is it being practiced nearly enough? Close to 25 pounds of waste makes its way into the Lubbock Landfill almost every second. That translates into around 45 tons of trash an hour. Or, to help envision these waste statistics, that is equivalent to marching between seven and eight average-sized African Elephants through the gates of the Caliche Canyon Landfill, each hour, around the clock, 365 days per year.
Keeping that image in mind and with area recycling businesses claiming between 70 to 80 percent of the trash accumulating at the city’s landfill is potentially recyclable, it’s clear the habitual use of the three Rs is not being practiced in our area. What can be done? What is being done, and how can residents participate in order to easily turn their trash into the kind of treasures that benefit the environment and the community?
Educational Initiatives and Events
An area organization that practices recycling on a daily basis and promotes its use for the betterment of the environment and the economy is Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. GINWT not only makes it easy for residents to recycle, the organization aims to reduce, reuse and recycle in every way possible. The circular cycle of Goodwill’s recycling efforts not only serve the environment, it serves the community by assisting individuals who may have barriers to employment, secure sustainable jobs.
And while it is a daily endeavor for Goodwill, in honor of America Recycles Day, a free Shred Day event is being provided to offer local businesses and residents the opportunity to safeguard their sensitive business documents with Document Destruction. The no-cost event is Thursday, November 15 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., and will be presented by Sanford and Tatum Insurance Agency, your partner in protection, at the agency’s location, 5241 98th St. Goodwill’s Document Destruction truck will be on-site with their professional staff to securely handle your document destruction needs. Call 806.744.8419 with any questions.
The free event is being held this week in honor of national initiatives such as National Recycling week, November 12 – 18 and America Recycles Day, November 15. These programs were designed to bring focus to the environmental and economic benefits of recycling. And while these initiatives serve as celebratory reminders, making eco-friendly choices is something these inspirational platforms provide to educate about recycling practices and encourage citizens to utilize these methods on a regular basis.
So, what are some of the statistics on the benefits related to inspiring people to recycle and of Goodwill’s Document Destruction program?
In 2017, Document Destruction at GINWT employed 17 individuals and paid over $351,000 in wages, employer taxes and benefits. In addition to employing individuals who may have barriers to employment, Goodwill’s Document Destruction is also a way to reduce, reuse and recycle paper products that is cost-competitive. And, Goodwill’s Document Destruction is certified by NAID, the National Association for Information Destruction, and provides certified secure document handling with 24/7 video surveillance, flexible service agreements and no rental fees for bins.
According to the EPA, the reduction of paper products is one of the most urgently needed solid waste issues to address. In 2015, the agency reported paper, and paperboard (cardboard) materials make up the largest component of municipal solid waste, and these figures include office documents.
The next year, the EPA released its findings on the economic benefits of all types of recycling in its National Recycling Economic Information Study. It analyzed the numbers of jobs, wages and tax revenues attributed to recycling and found that during the course of a year, recycling and reuse activities in the U.S. accounted for:
These figures equate to 1.57 jobs and over $90,000 in wages and tax revenues, for every 1,000 tons of materials recycled in the U.S. in one year.
- 757,000 jobs
- $36.6 billion in wages; and
- $6.7 billion in tax revenues.
Ditch the Dumpster and Drop
Document Destruction is just one of many ways Goodwill makes it easy for residents to recycle paper. In addition to Document Destruction, other GINWT initiatives have made it possible for over 1 million pounds of paper products to be recycled and kept out of the local landfill in 2017.
Recycling with GINWT is as easy as remembering to stop before you drop items into the trash to first consider if you are able to donate it by dropping it at one of many convenient area Goodwill stores or trucks.
Documents are not taken at all locations due to security issues, so if you have documents to shred, attend one of Goodwill’s Shred Days or bring your papers to the Goodwill Document Destruction facility at 715 28th St., Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
In addition to paper products, whatever items you might have that you no longer need or want, there are many ways to recycle, reuse or repurpose those items. You might not have the time, the technology or the know-how, but Goodwill does. Nothing goes to waste. From textiles and shoes, to e-waste, scrap metal, books and paper, the three Rs apply.
For example, as the use of technology continues to rise, so does the need for more innovative programs that focus on recycling e-waste.
The Dell Reconnect Program is a partnership between Goodwill and Dell Computers. Donations of old, outdated or inoperable electronics are sent to Dell to be recycled for parts.
And, the Salvage department at Goodwill groups unsold items together for bulk sale to third party vendors who break items down for mass recycling or send the items to impoverished countries. GINWT, with participation from the community and through donations, diverted over 3.5 million pounds from local landfills with salvage/recycling programs.
From Trash to Treasure
Money spent to purchase unique, quality items at your local Goodwill stores is used to fund job training and placement services through Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas's T-PALS program, as well as to provide jobs for people with barriers to employment within Goodwill itself.
All Goodwill stores house gems to be treasured, from clothing and furniture to electronics and home décor, but the Goodwill Showroom, at 714 34th St., has found another way to share its donations of higher value, including jewelry, brand-name fashion, antiques, vintage pieces, collectibles and more. It is the first Goodwill store in the nation to partner its storefront with an e-commerce division. Items only remain in the store for a limited time before being posted online for sale. This method has allowed for greater success in sales, translating to more cash-flow into the area’s economy through job-training programs that lead to employment.
So, whether you choose to safeguard your business or other sensitive data with Document Destruction, donate your treasures for repurposing, or purchase items from Goodwill for reuse, you are fostering goodwill in the Lubbock community by helping to save our environment and boost the area’s economy through work-training programs that help provide jobs for people with barriers to employment.
Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to create job opportunities for people with barriers to employment. We can only do this through the donations of our generous community, and the continued support from our loyal shoppers. For more information, visit www.goodwillnwtexas.org.