CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Have you ever wondered what happens after a donation gets dropped off at Goodwill?

The journey typically begins in the back of a Goodwill Retail Store. This is where employees will sort, tag, and move items to the sales floor. Once an item is on the floor, it has 3 weeks to be sold.

Brian Keenan is the Director of Transportation for Palmetto Goodwill. He explained how merchandise is constantly flowing between their stores and clearance centers.

“Not many people understand all the recycling efforts that go in beyond the reuse model that we have with the stores. When it gets to the outlet, when it gets to the warehouse, it’s all about landfill diversion,” he says.

If an item doesn’t go home with a customer in 3 weeks, it will get moved to the Goodwill Clearance Center. There are only a few in the state of South Carolina, however, there is one located on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.

The Goodwill Clearance Center is difficult to describe if you aren’t there in person. Some might call it “organized chaos.” Shoppers dig through dozens of giant blue bins filled with clothing, shoes, and random items.

“It’s all sold in bulk by the pound, 2 different price points. Most of those customers are re-sellers that are selling it online or at the flea markets,” says Keenan.

Books, housewares, and home electronics are $.69 a pound; everything else is $1.29 a pound. Employees are constantly wheeling out new bins to weed out the unpurchased stock.

At this point, the merchandise has gone through 2 different stores. This is where Goodwill’s recycling warehouse comes in.

“Not many people understand all the recycling efforts that go in beyond the reuse model that we have with the stores. When it gets to the outlet, when it gets to the warehouse, it’s all about landfill diversion,” says Keenan.

Keenan explained that the items in the warehouse go through another round of sorting before getting packed up to ship. Goodwill then sells the unused goods to various vendors from across the country and overseas.

This process helps divert over 16.9 million pounds from landfills each year.

Now, there are some items that won’t go through the same process. This includes bigger donations such as cars, big electronics, and especially luxury designer items.

Employees are trained to have an eye for certain brands when sorting through donations. These items go to the e-commerce department to be sold on shopgoodwill.com. Many of the designer pieces are authenticated and sold at a fraction of their retail price.

“We received diamond earrings that were appraised at $40,000,” says an employee. “We’re not talking little items, we’re talking things with real, concrete value.”

When shopping at Goodwill, 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to their job training and education services. In last year alone, Palmetto Goodwill was able to help 20,000 people in the Lowcountry.

“People are under the assumption that the donations come in and we’re just making the money on it, when they don’t really understand the broad scope that Goodwill reaches, having to do with recycling as well as programs related to educational opportunities, certification programs, job training,” says Keenan.

For more information on Goodwill and store locations, click here.