Tacoma Goodwill, State surplus facility partnership aims to cut waste, support job development

A state partnership with the Tacoma Goodwill helps develop job opportunities, protects the environment and offers consumers good deals on a variety of quality used merchandise.

Tight budgets are causing state and local governments, as well as school districts, to downsize, creating an increase of inventory at the State Surplus facility in Tumwater. From desks to filing cabinets to computers, what isn’t sold to public institutions, non-profits or the general public gets recycled.

“The partnership provides additional materials for our stores and meets our mission to help people find meaningful employment,” said Eric Hulscher, operations director at Tacoma Goodwill.

The collaboration allows the state to transfer excess merchandise to Goodwill for sale at its retail stores across 15 counties in Washington. Goodwill sells donated household items to fund job training and placement programs that help people with disabilities or other barriers to employment go to work.

The partnership also makes good business sense for the Department of Enterprise Services, which manages the State Surplus program. Moving excess quality office furniture from its warehouse in Tumwater frees up space and reduces recycling costs, including truck deliveries.

Although Surplus sends less than 1 percent of its unsold merchandise to landfills, the partnership with Goodwill will reduce that even further.

“The core mission of Surplus is to re-use materials as much as possible,” said Joyce Turner, director of Enterprise Services. “The work with Goodwill helps with that and supports their organization. This is an innovative approach that meets many needs.”

State Surplus items are available to the general public at bargain prices at the Public Store, 7511 New Market Street, Tumwater. Items are also sold through an online auction site, which has generated nearly $11 million in sales since July 2009.

For more information, visit http://www.ga.wa.gov/surplus/ or http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/state,wa/browse/home?tm=m or http://www.tacomagoodwill.org/ .