Goodwill Sand pulvizer

Goodwill’s glass pulverizer will help it get into the sand business

Betsy PriceBusiness, Headlines

Goodwill Sand pulvizer

Colleen Morrone, CEO of Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County, shows off a scoop of sand made from some of their unsalable glass pieces.
President & CEO, Goodwill of Delaware & Delaware County


Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County will continue its march toward increased sustainability with a new industrial glass pulverizer, which will crush broken or unwanted items.

The result will be sand or small bits of glass called cullett.

The 103-year-old organization will be able to use the $90,000 machine to develop a new business line, thanks to a $1 million grant  from Truist Charitable Foundation to the Goodwills of Delaware and Delaware County, Baltimore and the District of Columbia.

The money also will be used to train all 1,500 of their employees about sustainability. In addition, some staff will be trained to run and maintain the pulverizer, training that could help them earn better jobs elsewhere.

“There could be some really interesting collaborations that would keep this recycled glass here in Delaware and meet some really interesting needs of the community,” said CEO Colleen Morrone, CEO of Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County.

The nonprofit showed off the pulverizer Thursday morning at its New Castle Outlet and Recycling Center, partly as a way to thank Truist Financial Corp. for the support.

Each of the Goodwills will install a pulverizer.

Goodwill Sand pulvizer

Goodwill’s $90,000 machine will help it keep 177,000 tons of glass out of Delaware landfills.

The Delaware nonprofit. which has an annual budget of $60 million, spends about $750,000 on landfill fees for things it cannot sell or find a use for. Part of that has been 177,000 tons of glass that is broken or hasn’t sold.

When Goodwill gets its recycling permit from the Delaware Department of Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the 103-year-old Delaware organization will be able to develop a new business line and perhaps keep the recycled material in Delaware.

“It could be used for landscaping. It can potentially be used in concrete for building,” Morrone said during a tour in January. “We’re looking at some other initiatives that might be able to use it for some other really, really fun purposes that we’re trying to get over the over the finish line so that we can share them, but they’re too much in the early phase and we don’t want to get out ahead of ourselves.”

Travis Rhodes, regional president for the Delaware Valley, said Truist wants to help build the lives of communities and support sustainability initiatives like Goodwill’s.

Sustainability is a trendy buzzword, but ultimately refers to finding practices that prevent the depletion of natural resources through recycling and reusing materials, sometimes in another form.

Goodwill Sand pulvizer

Goodwill’s new glass pulverizer will be able to produce sand, left, and cullett, right.

Goodwill’s mission

Goodwill’s mission always has been sustainability.

In its more than a century, it’s helped divert tens of thousands of tons of lightly used clothing from landfills, Morrone pointed out.

The nonprofit started by taking in goods and training people to repair things and make them salable. Now, it not only provides jobs handling donations and sales, but also trains seniors to return to work, helps them find job and even provides staffing services for some companies.

Its stores sell textiles, shoes, plastic, cardboard, metal, computers, electronics and of course glass.

Morrone said Delaware Goodwill has been partnering with the University of Delaware’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies in Emerging Technologies to develop ways to take unusable textiles and make them into new materials.

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In 2023, it sent nearly 74,000 pounds of computers and computer accessories through Dell Reconnect, a process in which donor information is wiped from hard drives and the units are disassembled, salvaged or reused.

The three Goodwills also have a deal with Trex to take plastic bags — the most common item that donors use to bring in items — so that company can use it in its composite decking material. In the first year, they provided 100,000 pounds of plastic to Trex.

Goodwill will be able to use clear and colored glass in their pulverizer, but will not be able to use glass that has metallic rims, Morrone said.

She hopes that some day Goodwill will be able to take the glass that many people are tossing into their home recycling bins, but not yet. Goodwill has to master the process and be sure it can handle what’s coming in already, she said.


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