Cheerful smiles abounded during the volunteer hours of our day spent touring Seattle’s central Goodwill donation site. Before diving in to lend a hand we got to take a behind the scenes look at donation processing and internal distribution – a key diversion at the disposal stage in The Story of Stuff and astonishing in its daily scope.
“99% of the stuff we run through this system is
trashed within 6 months”
On a slow day this one donation site accepts an average of two semi trailers of items – in the busiest seasons up to nine containers will be filled by day’s end. The intervention Goodwill leverages in the cycle of stuff became all the more apparent thanks to our conversation with the recycling & salvage staff person. From stories of single shoes sent to countries in need to continuous salvage of materials able to be commodity traded, the opportunities he spoke of for continuous innovation and solution seeking were vast. Among them, at present no viable method for repurposing or recycling pressboard furniture (compliments of IKEA & others) is available.
Especially when it comes to the enormity of our present consumption (food waste specifically is keeping me up at night these days) this question keeps rattling around in my mind: How to make these system visible yet still hold hope? Little messages of truth & action like this are a step in the right direction: