Goodwill of Michiana Expands Environmental Efforts within Indiana; Partners with National Sustainability Organization

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Greener Grads will partner with Goodwill Industries by expanding collection efforts to recover, reuse and repurpose graduation gowns

Goodwill Michiana partners with Greener Grads in keeping gowns out of landfills.

Recycling is a huge part of the Goodwill business model and through Greener Grads not only can we support the environment, we can also help those families who might struggle with the cost of purchasing a gown. It's a win-win.

Goodwill Industries of Michiana announced today a partnership with Greener Grads – a national sustainability initiative collecting polyester graduation gowns for rental and reuse. The program furthers the sustainable journey of recycling versus mass production and keeps cost of renting low, reducing the financial burden of graduation for students and families. In their inaugural year, Greener Grads saved over 12,000 pounds of polyester from entering landfills and collected over 18,000 graduation gowns by partnering with over 100 organizations in 22 states. By the end of 2016, Greener Grads hopes to save one million gowns.

"Recycling is a huge part of the Goodwill business model,” said Guy Fisher, vice president of mission advancement at Goodwill Michiana. “And through Greener Grads not only can we support the environment, we can also help those families who might struggle with the cost of purchasing a new graduation gown. It's a win-win."

Due to the nature of the graduation industry, more than five million gowns eventually end up in landfills each year. Founder, Seth Yon, created Greener Grads as a direct response to this environmental waste disruption. Yon established Greener Grads’ recovery–reuse-recycle mission to aid in the goal of diverting unnecessary pollution from our country’s waste steams and landfills. In addition, Greener Grads’ donation program allows graduation gowns to be rented at future commencement ceremonies for a sustainability lower cost than purchasing a new one.

“Greener Grads partnership with several Goodwill stores throughout the country and we are thrilled to continue this positive relationship with Goodwill of Michiana,” said Seth Yon, founder and CEO of Greener Grads. “It is our hope through this partnership graduates will be inspired to donate their gowns and eventually spread the word about our gown rental program. We often say around our office ‘why would you buy a graduation gown you’re only going to wear for 90 minutes that will rot in a landfill for 450+ years?’ The math just doesn’t make sense. If we get the word out about the harmful effects of the graduation industry, we hope to gain renters whose passion it is to proudly wear repurposed and reused gowns.”

The public is encouraged to bring their gowns to any South Bend Goodwill Retail & Donation Center. To find a location near you visit:

To learn more about Greener Grads’ donation and rental programs – and their sustainability goals – visit:

About Goodwill of Michiana:
Our mission is to provide jobs, training, and placement services for people with barriers to employment. Helping people is more than just a slogan, it's what we do every day!

About Greener Grads:
The Greener Grads story begins in the brain of Seth Yon, a former employee of a graduation industry giant who wanted to utilize his unique skill set to make the world a better place. After 11 years with the company and delivering a career volume of over $9 million of product, Seth decided to take his vast knowledge of the industry and form Michigan Grads, a West Michigan-based company focused on offering students and their families environmentally friendly graduation products at a more affordable price.

Now with the launch of Greener Grads, Seth introduces a clever way to repurpose, re-use and recycle, shifting his focus to a wider audience and moving one step closer to becoming an environmentally-conscience leader in the graduation industry. To Seth, Greener Grads isn't about getting rich, “it's about getting it right. If I can be part of a small change, then I want to do that. Every gown counts.”

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Kim Bode
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