The Goodwill Impact Centre (GIC) is the first of its kind in Western Canada. The GIC opened its doors in 2017 and illustrates how this non-profit organization is taking its commitment to reusing, repurposing, and recycling to another level. Overlooked treasures from their Edmonton region thrift stores are sent to the GIC outlet, where DIYers, bargainistas, and upcyclers pay by the pound or at discounted prices. In 2018, Goodwill Industries of Alberta diverted over 13 million kilograms from local landfills, an increase of 3% in one year.
For over 56 years, Goodwill has created employment and training programs for Albertans with disabilities. The additional space of the Impact Center has enabled the organization to expand its commitment to inclusive employment as it is now able to take on more outsourced business projects and broaden its repurposing activities.
In partnership with the Alberta Reads Network, GIC volunteers clean and inspect surplus children’s books and make them available to marginalized families. Over 1,000 of these books are distributed each month to children in schools in the Edmonton area. The Goodwill Impact Centre also houses the You Can Ride 2 program. This program gives children with coordination challenges access to adapted and modified bicycles so that they can experience the joy of riding a bike.
Goodwill has centralized all of its garbage disposal operations in the Edmonton region to the Impact Centre, where it can be inspected before it is compacted. A Garbologist conducts audits to ensure that what is going into the bins, and ultimately the landfill, is minimal. In 2018, Goodwill Alberta diverted 81% of what it takes in from the landfill and is aiming to be a zero-waste operation. The GIC building itself has motion sensors, LED lights and low-flow toilets.
When Mortimer Capriles, Goodwill’s Director of Sustainability and Innovation, was asked what it means to be a sustainability role model, he answered, “It represents a bigger challenge to keep reducing our environmental footprint in our beautiful province. We need to keep innovating to find new ways to reuse, repurpose, or recycle items that are not usually diverted from local landfills.”
Watch their 2019 Emerald Award Submission!