How your donated bags get a second life at a local food shelf

What happens to a reusable bag when you donate it to Goodwill?

We first send reusable bags to our stores to raise money to support our mission and participants.

If the bags don’t sell, we put them back to work in one of two ways. 1) We use them at our Goodwill Outlet locations in lieu of plastic bags. 2) We donate them to Hennepin County Medical Center’s food shelf program. Reusable bags exist to be reused, after all, and this keeps unsold bags out of the landfill.

Linda Carson, Research Project Supervisor and Food Shelf Manager at HCMC.

Linda Carson, HCMC’s food shelf manager, braved a snowy Wednesday in her minivan to pick up a load of reusable bags. “We give away 600 bags of food every week. The food costs $1 per bag, but the bags themselves cost 65 cents each.”

Linda and a Goodwill employee transfer a bag full of reusable bags from a cart into Linda’s van.

Currently, HCMC spends between $12,000 and $14,000 on bags each year. That’s almost 40 percent of their costs. Through this new partnership with Goodwill, the money they’ll save on bags can be put toward helping more people in need. Plus, it reduces the number of reusable bags being sent to the landfills.