Growing numbers of organizations are opening thrift stores to support their services and missions, and in addition to supporting their causes, they are helping the environment.

Among them, humane societies and animal shelters sell items to help cats and dogs, social service agencies use the funds to provide services to people in need, and Habitat for Humanity uses its proceeds to build houses.

As an example, the HabiStore in Tucson sells thousands of items each year, keeping tons of materials out of local landfills by reducing, reusing and recycling.

"The average weight of a refrigerator is around 235 pounds," says HabiStore's Terry Dee, director of retail operations. "We know that last year we sold around $24,000 worth of refrigerators. Average cost at around 150- 200 bucks, so that comes out to be around 35,000 pounds that we diverted from the landfill."

A few blocks away, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints operates one of its Deseret Industries stores. Proceeds from the facility pay for social service programs, including job training and education.

Stephanie Ashcraft, church member and frequent contributor to the store, says it's a great way to help other people and the environment.

"We live in such a toss and go society, and it seems like we by something and all of a sudden we don't need it, and so I'd rather bring it here where I know it's going to go to somebody who needs it, who can use it, than just to toss it," Ashcraft says.