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Frequently Asked Questions

NYC Stuff Exchange Frequently Asked Questions
Got questions about NYC Stuff Exchange? We've got answers! Find answers to the most commonly asked questions below. If you still have a question, let us know.

arrow NYC stuff exchange
arrow general listing information
arrow information for vendors
arrow reuse and recycling
arrow calendar listings


NYC STUFF EXCHANGE 

arrow What is NYC Stuff Exchange?
arrow Why is the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) sponsoring NYC Stuff Exchange?
arrow Are there materials exchange websites where people can sell or exchange stuff themselves?
arrow Where can I find or post info on stoop, rummage, or garage sales?
arrow How can I support victims of Superstorm Sandy?
arrow What if I’m an individual in need? How can I get stuff? 
arrow How can I contact the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) about NYC Stuff Exchange?



Q. What is NYC Stuff Exchange?
A. NYC Stuff Exchange is a searchable database that allows NYC residents to quickly find organizations or shops in their neighborhood and throughout the City where they can donate, buy, or sell different types of gently used goods. It was created by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to encourage the reuse of gently used materials that might otherwise be discarded as trash.

NYC Stuff Exchange allows users to search for local vendors by transaction type (donate, buy, or sell) and item type (clothing, furniture, books, etc.) The site also provides information on the benefits of renting or repairing goods, and links to directories where users can search for vendors offering these types of services.

NYC Stuff Exchange is NOT a materials exchange service that picks up, resells, or gives away materials from a warehouse; nor is it an online materials exchange that allows users to list what they would like to buy, sell, or give away. For information on online materials exchanges that provide this type of service, read material exchange websites.

For more information on vendors listed in the NYC Stuff Exchange database, read general listing information.

For more information on events listed in the NYC Stuff Exchange calendar, read calendar listings.

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Q. Why is the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) sponsoring NYC Stuff Exchange?
A. DSNY collects 12,000 tons (24 million pounds) of garbage from NYC residents and institutions every day. Collecting and transporting this waste to out-of-city landfills and incinerators is a large financial and environmental burden to the City's taxpayers. The goal of NYC Stuff Exchange is to help lessen the City's waste (and thus DSNY costs) by encouraging the reuse of gently used materials that might otherwise be discarded as trash.

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Q. Are there materials exchange websites where people can sell or exchange stuff themselves?
A. There are a variety of barter and materials exchange websites on the Internet. Some allow you to limit your exchanges to a particular locale or group of members, while others designate specific categories of items. Some offer free exchanges or bulletin boards, others charge each user a processing fee. The NYC WasteLess website lists a number of online material exchanges. You can also search the Internet for "barter" or "online material exchange" to find many more.

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Q. Where can I find or post info on stoop, rummage, or garage sales?
A. Go to the NYC Stuff Exchange calendar of events to post or find sales sponsored by nonprofit organizations.

To post or locate other sales, try:

Flyers placed on bulletin boards in local stores, libraries, or community centers. (Please note: It is illegal to place flyers on lampposts, trees, mailboxes, vehicles, or other street furniture; each flyer is subject to a $75 fine. See DSNY regulations for posting on pages 6-8 in the Digest of Codes).

Craigslist - New York: Garage & Moving Sales
Free online exchange for goods and services. Click on your borough.

NY.Com Shopping: Flea Markets
Lists several regular flea market sites.

Search the Internet to find local online message boards for your community.
ALSO SEE New York Magazine's "Stoop Sale: Step by Step" for a good outline on how to present and sell your goods.

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Q. How can I support victims of Superstorm Sandy?
A.
 As New Yorkers continue to respond and reach out to their neighbors after Hurricane Sandy, distribution centers and community organizations are working hard to get supplies out to those in need. In order to keep these centers running efficiently it is important that material donations are not dropped off directly at these centers.

For those interested in donating goods to support victims of Hurricane Sandy, please remember that cash is the most helpful form of donation. Your dollars are more effective at the disaster site than the equivalent value of goods that have to be transported. Monetary donations can be made through the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. 

If you would like to donate your time visit www.nyc.gov/service for current volunteer opportunities.

If you are a company or an organization with access to large volumes (pallets or truckloads) of items and would like to donate them to disaster relief effort please visit Aid Matrix and log on as a donor. 

 If you are a non-profit organization in need of materials in order to provide support to Hurricane Sandy Victims, you can register as a non-profit to accept offers through the Aid Matrix.

The organizations listed on the NYC Stuff Exchange accept materials donations. In addition, the organizations listed below are specifically providing Hurricane Sandy relief. By donating to these organizations, you are either providing direct support or are helping directly financing Hurricane Sandy Relief:
 
Material Donations

Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries is providing gift cards towards the purchase of clothing in their stores to any Hurricane Sandy victims.Visit www.goodwillny.org for more information.

Housing Works
Housing Works provides Hurricane Sandy Relief through their housing services. Visit www.housingworks.org for more information.

New York Cares
New York Cares is accepting donations of new or gently used coats as part of their Coat Drive through December 31st.  Visit www.newyorkcares.org/coatdrive for more information. 
 
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has more than 2,300 donation drop-off locations in North America to which you can bring your household items and material goods.  For more information visit www.satruck.org or call 800-SA-TRUCK.
 
Food Donations

Food Bank
Food Bank For New York City warehouses and distributes free food for over 1.5 million hungry New Yorkers each year.
Visit www.foodbanknyc.org/ for more information. 

City Harvest
City Harvest is on the road providing support to those affected  Hurricane Sandy as well as continuing our regular food rescue work. Visit www.cityharvest.org for more information. 

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Q. What if I'm an individual in need; how can I get stuff?
A.
Organizations that receive donations of items often distribute them to people who are enrolled in various assistance programs. Call 311 or the NYC Human Resource Administration’s Infoline at (877) 472-8411 to find out if you are eligible for a broad range of social welfare programs and services.

Also check out materials exchange websites to find stuff that people are giving away or bartering.

Or visit where to buy to find vendors that sell used goods, often at discounted prices.

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Q. How can I contact the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) about NYC Stuff Exchange?
A. To contact DSNY about NYC Stuff Exchange, use the Contact NYC Stuff Exchange form. To contact DSNY regarding other issues, call 311 or use the appropriate forms on the DSNY website.

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GENERAL LISTING INFORMATION

arrow What if I have a specialty or uncommon item?
arrow Why can't I find a vendor for the item I would like to donate, buy, or sell?
arrow Why won't the vendor listed accept, buy, or sell my items?
arrow Where do these vendor lists come from? How often are listings updated?
arrow Are there vendors that will pick up my stuff?
arrow Why does the search for rental and repair services link to other websites?


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Q. What if I have a specialty or uncommon item?
A. Check to see if we have it listed under “specialty items” or “donate-by-mail”.  You can also search by item on NYC WasteLess or take a look through the products and services pages for vendors in NYC that accept specialized or uncommon goods.

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Q. Why can't I find a vendor for the item I would like to donate, buy, or sell?
A. Search results will only appear if the search criteria you entered match the transaction and item types of the vendors in our database. If you still cannot find a vendor, check to see if we have it listed under specialty items” or “donate-by-mail ”, or search by item on NYC WasteLess or look to see if there is are vendors that will accept your items listed on products and services on NYC WasteLess.

If you know of a vendor that matches your search criteria, and the vendor does not turn up in your search results, please contact NYC stuff exchange.

Get information on how to add vendors to our website.

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Q. Why won't the vendor listed accept, buy, or sell my items?
A.
Vendors are listed within general categories of items they accept, buy, or sell. This doesn't mean they necessarily accept, buy, or sell ALL items within the category. For example, if a vendor is listed as a place to sell clothing, they may only buy certain types or styles of clothing.

In addition, vendors may be selective about the quality of material that they accept. If an organization accepts materials that it can't use, then it ends up using up limited resources managing those materials. In addition, they may end up having to discard of those items in the trash. See tips for what to do with material that is not in great shape.

It is always important to call ahead to make sure they will take or sell your stuff. If a vendor doesn't work out, try another one.

If a vendor does not accept anything in the category of items shown here, please let us know.

Also, there may be product-specific impediments to or laws governing the reuse or resale of a good. The following goods are commonly associated with certain restrictions.

  • Bedding - The NY State Bedding Law restricts both the refurbishment and the resale of used mattresses and boxsprings, mostly for health and bedbug reasons.
  • Toys - The Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) regulates the resale of children's toys containing lead. Many second-hand outlets simply reject donations of any childrens toys to avoid overly burdonsome and expensive lead-content lab tests.
  • Used electronics - The problem behind the resale of used electronics is that of quality and demand. Since the functionality of electronics evolves so rapidly in today's marketplace, electronic equipment over a certain age is not only undesirable, but also practicably defunct.
  • Books - Many organizations have strict rules about the types of books they accept. Some organizations accept books in certain genres only, while the majority of organizations do not accept encyclopedias and other dated publications, or any book in poor physical condition.

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Q. Where do these vendor lists come from? How often are listings updated?
A. Our vendor lists are generated through a combination of approved submissions from local organizations (wishing to become part of NYC Stuff Exchange) and pre-existing vendor databases. If your company or organization would like to be listed, go to our get listed page.

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Q. Are there vendors that will pick up my stuff?
A. There might be; each vendor has different rules for picking up items. You can find drop-off and pick-up details for each vendor on the search results page. Look for a  and then click or call for details.

If you have large quantities of items or other special circumstances, it may be possible for some vendors to make arrangements to pick up your items; but be sure to call and ask ahead of time.

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Q. Why does the search for rental and repair services link to other websites?
A. Several other websites already offer comprehensive and accurate information about vendors of rental and repair services, and their listings are frequently updated. Rather than try to replicate these listings, we felt it would be more appropriate to send users directly to existing sites for this kind of information, while we concentrate our resources on providing information not easily found elsewhere.

Learn how we obtain our vendor listings for organizations that buy, sell, or accept donations of second-hand goods in New York City.

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INFORMATION FOR VENDORS

arrow Who can be listed as a vendor on NYC Stuff Exchange?
arrow I deal with antiques and high-end designer items only; is Stuff Exchange the right place for me?
arrow How do I list my business or organization on NYC Stuff Exchange?
arrow How do I remove, update, or correct my business or organization's listing on NYC Stuff Exchange?
arrow How long does it take for a listing to be added, deleted, or updated once I submit my request?
arrow How do I indicate that I only accept, buy, or sell specific items within the item categories?
arrow I don't buy items, but I do offer store credit. Am I eligible to be listed as vendor?
arrow What if I’m a business interested in donating or selling my surplus equipment, furniture, or materials?
arrow What if I'm a nonprofit organization interested in periodically receiving donations of goods?
arrow What type of support is available to nonprofit organizations accepting and redistributing second-hand or reusable goods?

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Q. Who can be listed as a vendor on NYC Stuff Exchange?
A. Businesses and organizations located in NYC that buy, sell, or accept donations of used goods can be listed as a vendor on NYC Stuff Exchange.

To be listed in "Where to Donate", organizations must be able to accept significant amounts of the specified goods on an ongoing basis and provide proof of tax-exempt status.

Learn about opportunities for nonprofit organizations seeking one-time donations of used goods. 

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Q: I deal with antiques and high-end designer items only; is Stuff Exchange the right place for me?
A:
Yes! NYC Stuff Exchange welcomes a wide variety of businesses and organizations. Even though it may not be immediately apparent, dealers of high-end used goods like antiques, relics, artifacts, and designer clothing and accessories are an integral part of the reuse community. Not only do you contribute to the reduction of the waste stream, you also promote the preservation of history, art, and culture.

Q. How do I list my business or organization on NYC Stuff Exchange?
A. Getting your business or organization listed is easy. Simply go to get listed to see if your business or organization meets the NYC Stuff Exchange listing criteria, and then fill out our online vendor submission form. If it is determined that your submission meets NYC Stuff Exchange requirements, we'll send you a confirmation email letting you know.

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Q. How do I remove, correct, or update my business or organization’s listing on NYC Stuff Exchange?
A. It's simple; go to get listed and then on our vendor submission form. For removals, check the box "Request for removal of listing" and complete the form.  For updates or corrections to your listing, check the box "Update to a current vendor listing" and complete the form with the updated or correct information. Your business or organization’s listing will be removed or updated as soon as possible. To notify us of other errors or updates, please contact NYC stuff exchange.

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Q. How long does it take for a listing to be added, deleted, or updated once I submit my request?
A.
It can take up to eight weeks for online requests to add, update, or remove a vendor listing to be processed. All listings are subject to review, and will be processed in a timely manner.

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Q. How do I indicate that I only accept, buy, or sell specific items within the item categories?
A.
Most vendors only accept, buy, or sell specific items within a category. We ask that you include information about the specific types of items you accept, buy, or sell in the Organization Description and Pick-up/Drop-off Information fields for your listing. Go to get listed to update your listing, including the Organization Description and Pick-up/Drop-off Information.

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Q. I don't buy items, but I do offer store credit. Am I eligible to be listed as a vendor?
A. Yes, you can still be listed as an organization that buys used goods. It is important to state that you only offer store credit in the Pick-up/Drop-off Information field for your listing. Go to get listed to update your listing, including the Pick-up/Drop-off Information.

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Q. What if I’m a business interested in donating or selling my surplus equipment, furniture, or materials?
A. NYC businesses looking to donate, exchange, or sell surplus materials can take advantage of NYC WasteMatch, a free commercial materials exchange service program funded by NYC Department of Sanitation's Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling. 

 NYC WasteMatch connects generators/donors of valuable “waste” and surplus materials to users/recipients. This helps members to reduce disposal costs, generate revenue, and/or obtain raw materials for free or at low cost.

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Q. What if I'm a nonprofit organization interested in periodically receiving donations of goods?
A. Nonprofit organizations who are sponsoring used book fairs, donation drives, rummage sales, and swap meets can list their events on the NYC Stuff Exchange Calendar of Events. For more information, go to the calendar of events page.

In addition, there are a number of materials exchange and nonprofit assistance organizations that regularly facilitate the donation of goods to nonprofit organizations on an as needed basis. A sampling of such organizations are listed below:

NYC WasteMatch: A materials exchange program sponsored by the NYC Department of Sanitation. NYC WasteMatch is a website facilitating the exchange of unwanted goods generated by NYC manufacturing and business sectors.

Materials for the Arts: Redistributes collected items to NYC public schools and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. Items redistributed include art supplies, electronics, fabric, furniture, musical instruments, industrial discards, paint, office equipment, and supplies.

Institutional Recycling Network: A cooperative, member-led organization that works with institutions on recycling and surplus donation initiatives.

PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning): Redistributes items to NYC public schools. Items redistributed include art supplies, new books, computers & software, office furniture, musical instruments, office equipment, science equipment, sporting goods.

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Q.What type of support is available to nonprofit organizations accepting and redistributing second-hand or reusable goods?
A. ReuseNYC, a program of the NYC Center for Materials Reuse (NYC CMR)* and funded by NYC Department of Sanitation's Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling, is a support network for the nonprofit reuse community. ReuseNYC provides a wide range of free services to member organizations including  professional development training, networking opportunities, donation referrals, promotional services, and the benefits of NYC CMR’s research and development projects.

*Formerly the NYC Materials Exchange Development Program

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REUSE AND RECYCLING

arrow What is the difference between reuse and recycling?
arrow What else is the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) doing to promote reuse and waste prevention in NYC?
arrow Does the Department of Sanitation salvage items in good condition that people leave at the curb?
arrow How can I contact the Department of Sanitation about other Sanitation–related services?
arrow My stuff is not in great shape; should I donate it anyway or just throw it away?
arrow Is it better to sell my stuff or donate it?


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Q. What is the difference between reuse and recycling?
A. Reuse is using a product again as is. Reuse is a form of waste prevention, because if an item is reused - as opposed to thrown away - there is less waste to discard.

Waste prevention means actually eliminating or reducing the quantity of materials discarded, either as trash or recyclables.

Recycling is reprocessing a product into a new product. Recycling is critical to reducing the quantity of waste that New York City sends to landfills and incinerators; but recycling is not the same as waste prevention or reuse.

Visit the Department of Sanitation's NYCWasteLess website for more information on how to recycle and prevent waste in NYC.

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Q. What else is the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) doing to promote reuse and waste prevention in NYC?
A. DSNY's Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling (BWPRR) has implemented various waste prevention initiatives for NYC residents, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Visit About BWPRR for more info.

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Q. Does the Department of Sanitation salvage items in good condition that people leave at the curb?
A. It is not legally or logistically possible for the Department of Sanitation to operate a salvage program for reusable materials. Some reusable goods left at the curb may be taken away by scavengers, but be aware that this practice is, in fact, illegal (go to Unauthorized Removal of Refuse on page 23 in the Digest of Codes). When Sanitation trucks arrive, non-metal bulk items left at the curb are collected as refuse, while metal bulk items are collected for recycling. For more information on recycling regulations, go to recycling in New York City.

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Q. How can I contact the Department of Sanitation about other Sanitation-related services?
A. The Department of Sanitation collects refuse and recyclables from NYC residents, city agencies, and institutions. For questions regarding Sanitation services or programs, call 311 or visit the Sanitation website.

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Q. My stuff isn't in great shape; should I donate it anyway or just throw it away?
A. Before making donations to any nonprofit organization, it is best to check with them (by calling or viewing their website) to see what materials they accept.

For example, some organizations will take clothing and linens in any condition because they can sell them to textile recyclers. Animal shelters can often use ripped or worn blankets, sheets, or pillows for animal bedding. Other organizations are more selective about what they accept. GrowNYC has partnered with a textile recycler to accept clothing and linens at GreenMarkets throughout the City. 

Broken appliances, electronics, and furniture you would not repair yourself are considered waste, and should be set out with your regular trash. However, broken metal items should be recycled. For more information on what to recycle, go to recycling in New York City.

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Q. Is it better to sell my stuff or donate it?
A. When deciding whether to sell or donate your materials, it comes down to personal preference. While some people like to sell or barter stuff online, others find the process too time-consuming or intimidating. Here are some pros and cons for both:

Donating Pros

  • Donated items benefit worthy causes.
  • Possibility of tax deduction.
  • Opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff fairly quickly.

Donating Cons

  • Will not receive cash for your stuff.
  • May have to bring stuff during specific hours.
  • Requires research to find organizations that take your specific stuff.

Selling Pros

  • Will receive cash for stuff you no longer need.
  • May be possible to arrange for pick up at your convenience.
  • You know your stuff goes to someone who wants it.

Selling Cons

  • Takes time to post item descriptions and photos online and respond to inquiries.
  • Uncertainty of dealing with strangers.
  • Must arrange to meet buyers, or package and ship stuff.

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CALENDAR LISTINGS

arrow What types of events are listed on the NYC Stuff Exchange Calendar of Events?
arrow Who can list events in the NYC Stuff Exchange Calendar of Events?
arrow How can I list an event on the NYC Stuff Exchange calendar?
arrow Once I submit an event, how long does it take to get listed in the calendar?
arrow If I have to make a change to a calendar event I already submitted, what should I do?


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Q. What types of events are listed on the NYC Stuff Exchange Calendar of Events?
A. Used book fairs, donation drives, rummage sales, and swap meets sponsored by nonprofit organizations can be listed in the Calendar of Events. There may also be an opportunity for other groups to have events listed so long as the beneficiary of the used goods or the proceeds from used goods is a nonprofit organization. These instances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For more information, go to the calendar of events page.

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Q. Who can list events in the NYC Stuff Exchange Calendar of Events?
A. Events sponsored by or for nonprofit organizations are the only type of events listed in the Calendar of Events. Go to the calendar of events page for more information.

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Q. How can I list an event on the NYC Stuff Exchange calendar?
A. Go to calendar of events and follow the instructions shown.

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Q. Once I submit an event, how long does it take to get listed in the calendar?
A. Our goal is to list events soon after we receive them. This is easier to do when we only have a few events to post, but more difficult when we have many events to list. To make sure your event gets listed, submit it at least two weeks to a month in advance.

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Q. If I have to make a change to a calendar event I already submitted, what should I do?
A. To change a calendar event listing, please complete the contact NYC stuff exchange form. Use the following guidelines when completing the form:

  • Under Message Type, select "Request"
  • For Message Topic, select "My Listing"
  • Complete the necessary contact information
  • Detail the change you want to make in the Message box

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