News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 12, 2010

Goodwill accepting televisions for resale, recycling

Goodwill using company that recycles TVs for manufacturers

TERRE HAUTE — Getting rid of an old TV used to be a hassle. But thanks to Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries Inc., disposing of an unwanted TV is now simple and can help those in need.

Since April 1, Goodwill Industries at 2702 S. Third St. has been accepting old TV sets free of charge seven days a week. If the TVs work, Goodwill sells them. If they don’t work, Goodwill sends them off for recycling.

“It’s a win, win, win,” said Bill Tennis, executive director of Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries.

Donors benefit by getting rid of old TVs in an environmentally-friendly way, customers benefit by having low-cost TVs to purchase and employees of Goodwill benefit by the income generated by the sales of functioning TV sets.

Since beginning the new recycling program, Goodwill television sales have doubled, Tennis said. “There’s no reason to pitch this kind of stuff in the landfills anymore.”

The driving force behind the new television recycling program is a new Indiana law requiring TV manufacturers to recycle at least 60 percent (by weight) of the TV sets they sell in the state, Tennis noted. Goodwill has contracted with a company that recycles large numbers of TVs on behalf of manufacturers.

In the past, when a non-functioning TV was left at Goodwill, the charitable organization was forced to pay a landfill fee to dispose of it. Now, Goodwill can avoid those fees through its new recycling contract and make a little money selling the functioning TVs people leave.

“We find about 50 percent of [the donated TVs] work,” Tennis said. “We’re looking at this as a revenue-neutral program that is good for the community.”

In one of the large metal buildings at the Goodwill facility on South Third Street, about 20,000 pounds of old TVs are wrapped up in thin plastic and ready to be recycled. During the first year of the new program, Tennis expects Wabash Valley Goodwill to recycle half a million pounds of old TVs.

In the past, many recycling organizations either would not take old TVs or would charge a fee to take them. As a result, some people would improperly dispose of old televisions sets. “Over time, we’ll probably see fewer of these tossed along county roads,” Tennis said, looking at hundreds of old TVs stacked in the storage building.

Inside the retail store at Goodwill Industries, a display wall is being used to show off more than a dozen functioning donated TVs for sale. Time Warner Cable provides free basic cable to allow Goodwill employees to test the TVs that have been dropped off at the main Terre Haute location, Tennis noted. The cable service also allows customers to see the quality of the TVs they are buying, he said.

Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries, which has about 95 full- and part-time employees, is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and other workplace disadvantages through employment and other opportunities for personal growth, according to the organization’s Web site.

Goodwill has been operating in the Wabash Valley since 1927.

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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