Guest Post: Introducing the Goodwill goBIN

The urban donor experience smartens up.
By frog

In 2014, more San Franciscans will choose to live in apartments than houses and own bikes, not cars. We’ll recycle, compost and seek other ways to reduce landfill waste, including donating to Goodwill – even if that means taking Muni, hailing Uber, or renting a ZipCar to lug our stuff there. Cue Kermit: “It’s not easy being green.”

Now that’s about to change. SFGoodwill is launching a new initiative that will make donating textiles as convenient as dropping a bottle in a recycling bin. Designed to serve multi-unit apartment towers, the innovative Goodwill goBIN, lets residents donate – and do good – without leaving the building. Clothing, shoes, and accessories can be dropped in anytime, eliminating the weekend trip to Goodwill.

Why textiles? On average, each American sends an astonishing 70 pounds of textiles to the dump every year. In San Francisco, that translates to 4,500 pounds of textiles entering our landfills every hour, making up 5% of the total volume of waste. The goBIN™ will help the city meet its ambitious goal of zero waste by 2020.

A bin that’s both happy and smart.

frog, the global product strategy and design firm, developed the goBIN™ design in collaboration with the SFGoodwill internal brand team. Said frog Creative Director Peter Michaelian, “We were inspired by the idea of creating a bin that added to the character of a building while providing great concierge service. The form factor is friendly, welcoming the donor with a smile, while leveraging technology that enables a seamless and simplified experience for donors and facility managers to interact with Goodwill.”


Via the QR code on the goBIN™, donors will access an online donation tax form and learn more about how their donation is helping put local people in need back to work through SFGoodwill. A sensor inside the goBIN™ pings Goodwill for pick-up before it reaches capacity, ensuring that the bin stays tidy. An internal rolling cart system will enable Goodwill drivers to service the bin in less than 5 minutes per trip.

The SF Department of Environment helped kick-start the Goodwill goBIN™ initiative by funding an innovative partnership grant between SFGoodwill and the city’s rental property management trade association. Leveraging the association’s network of property managers, Goodwill will be placing the goBINs in select hi-rise towers this year, focusing initially on buildings of 100 units or more.

Said SFGoodwill CEO Maureen Sedonaen, “We’ll target putting a Goodwill goBIN™ in every big apartment and condo building in the city within 5 years to make donating textiles an everyday convenience. Every shirt, shoe and purse slipped into a goBIN™ will help us create job opportunities for the chronically unemployed.”

Building owners have expressed enthusiasm about offering the new amenity. “I am looking forward to getting this new bin for our residents and continuing to support the mission of Goodwill. I used to keep clothes left behind by departing residents in a storeroom until I had time to take them to Goodwill myself,” said Linda Corso, property manager of the Cathedral Hill Plaza high-rise on Gough Street. “Having the Goodwill bin on site will make life easier both for my residents and for me. It is win for all.”

More than 80% of Goodwill’s job training, job placement, and employment partnerships are funded from the sale of goods donated by generous residents of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. Putting textiles through the local loop of Goodwill keeps jobs and payroll taxes where they can do the most good for the local community.

“Convenience is the most important factor for people deciding what to do with the items they no longer need,” said SFGoodwill Director of Donations Leslie Bilbro. “Paradoxically this is why many textiles end up in landfill; historically, it’s just been easier to throw them away. Responding to today’s urban lifestyle, our goBIN™ will help people do the right thing for the environment and for their fellow residents who need a second chance in life.”

SFGoodwill intends to manufacture the patent-protected design locally using recycled materials. The social enterprise is accepting pre-orders for the free Goodwill goBINs from local building managers. Following a pilot phase, full-scale production may serve donors at other Goodwill chapters around the country.

This post has been repurposed with permission from Goodwill.


frog, part of Capgemini Invent is a global design and innovation firm. We transform businesses at scale by creating systems of brand, product and service that deliver a distinctly better experience. We strive to touch hearts and move markets. Our passion is to transform ideas into realities. We partner with clients to anticipate the future, evolve organizations and advance the human experience.

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