Goodwill Industries

Boxes of donated goods await attention at the Goodwill store at 3011 E. State Blvd., Fort Wayne. The East State Shopping Center store is open daily.

If you were planning to drop off donations at the Goodwill bins in northeast Fort Wayne, you’ll have to change your plans and drop donations off at the Goodwill stores instead from now on.

Just weeks ago, residents noted the absence of at least three Goodwill bins in the northeast Fort Wayne area.

According to Bill Warriner, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northeast Indiana, Goodwill had to address a problem that had increasingly burdened the organization over the past few years.

The problem of dumping wasn’t one only northeast Indiana faced; it was one noticed by Goodwill districts all over the state and one they’ve faced years before.

“Not everything dropped off can be sold or recycled — and then it becomes an expensive problem for Goodwill. When residential trash collection began tightening up and limits were placed on bulk items, Goodwill received more and more unsellable ‘donations’ for which it was forced to pay disposal fees,” Warriner said.

Goodwill relies on donations of goods in order to achieve its mission, such as providing free job training programs and employment and placement services to people with disabilities and more.

“We really appreciate good quality donations because that fuels our mission,” Warriner stressed.

Unfortunately, the situation accelerated over 2020, when sheltering in place took spring cleaning to a new level, according to Warriner.

“As people dug deep into closets, spare rooms, attics and garages, it was not unusual to see carloads and truckloads being donated. Despite working hard to create value out of every 2020 donation, Goodwill paid $184,155 to dispose of unsellable waste left at its collection boxes and stores,” Warriner said.

For Goodwill employees, it was disheartening to see people using the collection bins as a dumping ground, donating things that they knew Goodwill didn’t accept, Warriner said.

Items Goodwill does not accept include building materials, some appliances such as dishwashers, dryers; mattresses and box springs; televisions; and items that must be disposed of legally such as chemicals and paint.

Some of the most common donated items are clothing, books, housewares of all sorts and shoes, Warriner said.

“This takes away from Goodwill’s ability to fund mission services and diverts resources away from our programs. To spare the increasing cost of unwanted waste disposal, Goodwill has removed many of its unattended collection boxes. Reducing unsellable goods expense increases the revenue Goodwill can invest in helping people get training, services and jobs,” he said.

Goodwill offers many programs such as its Dell Reconnection partnership, which is a free program for consumers and businesses to recycle unwanted computers and peripherals. They will pick up large quantities of donations from churches and businesses if scheduled in advance.

“Recycling isn’t just part of our history, it’s part of our future,” Warriner said.

Larger items such as furniture can also be donated, but must be dropped off at the 3127 Brooklyn Ave. location, which has the equipment and support available to safely handle furniture.

For more information on what items Goodwill does accept, visit https://www.fwgoodwill.org.

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