BUSINESS

Goodwill finding good use for junk

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Call it clutter or just junk.

(Photo courtesy Goodwill)

At Arlington's Goodwill, Katie Cox hopes someone else can use her unwanted stuff.

“Usually if I'm donating something, I try to make sure it's useable, in good shape, still worth it,” Cox says.

But nowadays, Goodwill is finding a home for even our junkiest junk.

A lot of folks think this is the end of the line for all the stuff they have around the house that they donate to the Goodwill. But the truth is only a portion of it actually makes it onto a hanger and onto the rack.

Daily, as many as 2,000 books come into the Goodwill’s D.C. headquarters. The ones that can't sell in the store, go online. And Dell pays the charity 11 cents a pound for used computers.

“None of it goes to the trash, we pretty much use everything that we get,” says Louis Jones of Goodwill of Greater Washington.

He'll even make a dime off dingy duds.

Bob Jacobs buys excess donations from charities.

His employees bundle nearly half these shoes and clothes for shipment to Africa.

Another 30 percent of these clothes are made into rags and 20 percent gets shredded and becomes insulation and carpet padding.

“When people start to go through things and start to make their piles for donations for charities and things, they say 'well this has a tear in it,' 'this has a stain in it, I better throw that away.' Absolutely not,” says Kaymie Thompson Owen of Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association.

The $16 million raised in 2011 helped Goodwill train and hire people with disabilities.

“Bring it on down, we'll take it, we'll use it, we'll put it to good use,” says Jones.

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