Representatives from Goodwill Industries of Northcentral Pennsylvania spoke to the Centre Region Council of Governments’ General Forum on Monday in the hopes of developing new partnerships with the municipalities.
Goodwill has maintained a partnership with Halfmoon Township for several years, President/CEO Ray Donati said, adding that this has helped keep many useful items from going into the landfill.
“People don’t think of Goodwill as a recycler,” he said, “but we are probably one of the first recyclers in this country. We’ve been doing it for more than 120 years.”
As Goodwill celebrates its 50th year in central Pennsylvania, he said, it continues to take the items collected and turn them into funds used to employ individuals with challenges in their lives. Right now, they employ about 600 associates, he said, up from 75 when he first started.
“Goodwill’s mission is about putting people to work,” Donati said. “We don’t give things away; we want to be good stewards of the donations the public provides to us.”
According to their research, he said, about 20 percent of all textiles are recyclable, which can be utilized to benefit the people throughout the area with employment. In Halfmoon, a collection bin has been placed at one of the township’s recycling areas where residents can bring clothes, shoes and other items along with their regular recycling materials.
Halfmoon Township Chairman Mark Stevenson said he wanted to stress the success they’ve had in the township. The municipality’s Goodwill bin is located at the recycling collection point in Autumn Meadow Park.
“I would encourage my fellow municipalities to consider where you have your recycling bins or where you collect your yard clippings,” Stevenson said, “that perhaps those would be great locations for (a Goodwill bin).”
Donati said a partnership would make it easier for residents to donate unwanted, usable items.
“We would love to partner with each of the municipalities that surround the State College area, as well as State College,” he said. “We feel we have something to offer to the communities, we just need a little bit of assistance in helping us get out there.”
COG Executive Director Jim Steff said he would pass the municipal managers’ contact information to Donati for further discussion.
In other business, COG recognized the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center for its recent recognition by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
DCNR and the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society announced the nature center as the 2016 Green Park Award winner, said center Supervisor Melissa Freed.
“This joint award recognizes the integration and demonstration of green and sustainable practices at public parks,” she said.
The center demonstrated the compatibility of diverse park uses with recreational opportunities and the restoration of the natural environment, she said. It also met several criteria, including natural landscaping, connecting people to nature and environmental stewardship messaging.
Freed welcomed the officials and the public to an Earth Day ceremony at the park on April 22, where the award will be presented to the center.