Pittsburgh, March 7, 2023 – To help reduce single-use plastic waste, Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania will eliminate the use of plastic bags in its 34 area thrift stores. Shoppers are encouraged to help Goodwill help the environment by using a free box from the store, bringing their own reusable bag, or purchasing a Goodwill fabric tote for $1 for future shopping trips.
By going plastic bag free, Goodwill SWPA expects to reduce the waste of over 300,000 plastic bags per year. This represents an important step Goodwill SWPA is taking to reduce waste and furthering its organizational commitment to promoting environmental sustainability. As a pioneer in the concepts of reuse and repurposing for over 100 years, Goodwill thrift stores provide low cost gently-used items for sale to the public. In 2022, 56 million pounds of household donations were thrifted, repurposed, recycled, or reused by Goodwill SWPA.
“One of our core values at Goodwill is responsibility,” said Andrew Marano, Vice President of Donated Goods Retail at Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania. “We strive to minimize our environmental impact and maximize the value of each donation to support Goodwill’s mission services. This enables us to help thousands of people we help annually through job training and education programs.”
Experts have indicated that Americans use 100 billion plastic bags per year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. Besides the impacts of the pollution from the manufacturing process on the environment and public health, single-use plastic bags also contribute to litter in communities, collect in waterways, and clog storm drains, which can increase flooding in neighborhoods during wet weather events. In 2021, PennEnvironment released a report that found microplastics in 100 percent of tested Pennsylvania waterways. Single-use plastic bags also obstruct recycling machines and take a minimum of 500 years to decompose in a landfill.
Goodwill plans to be completely plastic bag free in all of its thrift stores by March 15, 2023. For a list of Goodwill SWPA stores and donation centers, visit www.goodwillswpa.org/goodwill-stores.