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General Questions

What is the Twin Cities Free Market?

The Twin Cities Free market is a resident to resident reuse program of Eureka Recycling. Eureka Recycling, based in the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, is the only organization in Minnesota that specializes in zero waste. The organization's services, programs, and policy work present solutions to the social, environmental, economic and health problems caused by wasting. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Eureka Recycling's mission is to demonstrate that waste is preventable, not inevitable. By its efforts in programs, services, and advocacy, Eureka Recycling aspires to help individuals, organizations, and communities understand the significance of zero waste and to achieve their own zero-waste goals.

Perhaps most well-known for its $9 million annual recycling operations, Eureka Recycling has provided curbside and apartment recycling services, education, and advocacy since 2001. Eureka Recycling also has a wide range of other initiatives designed to prevent the needless wasting of our discards through reuse, recycling, composting, waste reduction, producer responsibility and more. These initiatives directly provide over 100 jobs and demonstrate the organization’s mission every day in the work these individuals do. Eureka Recycling is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer.

The Free Market is an interactive internet-based program that allows people to easily list or search for free items they want to get or give away as an effort to reduce the amount of goods being thrown away.

The Free Market provides people with the opportunity to easily reuse items and reduce the amount of new things they buy. It also diverts materials that can be difficult to dispose of from the waste stream (e.g., appliances and electronics) and redirects those items to their highest and best use. Reuse is a large part of a comprehensive zero-waste strategy because reusing as much as possible helps to demonstrate that waste really is preventable, not inevitable!

How does the Free Market work?

 

The Twin Cities Free Market is a website that connects you with other users that are interested in exchanging goods for free in an attempt to reduce waste and reuse items.

  • The Free Market does not give out your address under any circumstances. Those people interested in your listing will only see your email address, and if you authorize it, your phone number.
  • The Free Market/Eureka Recycling does not transport or store any items.
Who can use the Free Market?

Everyone is welcome to browse the Twin Cities Free Market for items. Currently only residents in Carver, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington Counties can list items. Are you a business in Minnesota? Check out resources for businesses.

What kind of stuff can be exchanged?

Below is a sample of categories and items you can list and may be available through the Free Market. There are many more possibilities. List almost anything that will promote reuse!

Please read the Free Market Disclaimer for full terms of use.

  • Appliances (air conditioners, microwaves, washers/dryers)
  • Children’s Items (bunk beds, furniture, toys)
  • Electronics (cameras, computers, TVs, DVD players)
  • Furniture (chairs, couches, desks, tables)
  • Home Decor (carpets, lamps, rugs)
  • Home Renovation (cabinets, lumber, shingles, sinks)
  • Lawn & Garden (compost, lawn mowers, patio bricks)
  • Musical Instruments (band & orchestra equipment, pianos, guitars)
  • Pet Equipment (aquariums, cages, dog houses, food bowls)
  • Recreation & Exercise (bicycles, camping gear, exercise & sports equipment)
What isn't allowed on the Free Market?

There are actually very few items that cannot be listed on the Free Market. Some items that cannot be exchanged for safety and liability issues, these items include:

 

  • Household hazardous waste (paint, chemicals, oil)
  • Safety items (bike helmets, car seats)
  • Live animals (pets, wild animals)
  • Plants (bushes, garden plants, trees)
  • Firearms (explosives, ammunition, guns)
  • Medicine (over the counter or prescription)
  • Perishable Food (fresh food with expiration dates)
  • Firewood (due to quarantines for Emerald Ash Borer)
  • Motor vehicles or any title-bearing vehicle (cars, trucks, motorcycles etc.)
  • Cribs (all types of cribs)

The Free Market is a waste reduction tool, intended to connect free reusable goods with people who want them.  The following types of listings are NOT allowed:

 

  • Items for trade or sale
  • Advertisements for services
  • Garage sale advertisements
  • Bulletin board, chat-style listings or commentary
  • Coupons

Please read the Free Market Disclaimer for full terms of use

How do I use the search function on the Free Market?

The search function can be helpful in looking for specific items within a certain category. Go to the white menu bar above the listings and type the name of the item you are looking for (for example, “refrigerator”) in the box at the top of the screen and click on “search.” This will bring up all the listings currently available on the Free Market with the key word you searched for. You can also narrow your search down by location, but using the drop-down menu to select the city you want to search.

For more inclusive searches, keep the search broad and limit it to one or two words. For example, “TV” instead of “Sony 32 inch screen.”

Why do I need to fill in an item weight?

Eureka Recycling is tracking the success of the Free Market as a reuse program. One of the key ways we measure our success is by determining the number of pounds of material that are diverted from the landfill or incinerator through this program each year. It is important that every item be listed with an appropriate item weight.

What if I cannot find my item on the item-weight list? If the item you are trying to list is not found in the drop-down list of item weights, please estimate the weight and select ANY item with a weight that most closely approximates your estimated item weight.

The item weight list has been created by taking the average of several years of estimated item weights. In theory, many specific items (e.g. refrigerators) will weigh more than the 235 lbs assigned to refrigerators in the list, and many will weigh less. Selecting ‘Refrigerator – 235 lbs.’ from the list will accurately reflect the average weight range of a standard refrigerator.

If your item is significantly different from the standard (e.g. a small, portable ‘dorm’ refrigerator or an industrial double-width freezer) please select an item weight that most closely approximates the estimated weight of your item. (For example, select "Printer - 40 lbs" for the weight of a dorm-size refrigerator or select "Couch - 300 lbs" for an oversized refrigerator).

Is there a materials exchange geared towards businesses and organizations?

If you are a business in Minnesota, contact the Minnesota Materials Exchange Alliance about the materials exchange program for businesses at (800) 247-0015 or check out the materials exchange on the web at www.mnexchange.org

Several other states sponsor similar materials exchange programs for businesses. The following web site lists the contact information for many of those programs: http://mxinfo.org/

Can I promote the Free Market?

We want everyone to know about and use the Free Market. However, we also want to successfully manage the current listings and provide service to our users. So please, tell your friends and family about the Free Market, but if you are interested in promoting the program on a broader scale, contact Eureka Recycling first.

E-mail Eureka Recycling at info@twincitiesfreemarket.org or call at (612) NO-WASTE (669-2783), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

How to?

How do I create an account?

In order to post a listing on the Twin Cities Free Market, you must create an account. Here are the steps to create an account:

1. In the top right hand corner, click the “Create new account” button

2.Enter your information into all of the fields. You MUST enter valid information, or it will be impossible for anyone to contact you about items you post. When you are finished, at the bottom of the information box, click “create new account,” which looks like the button below.

 

3.A confirmation email with a link will be sent to the email address you listed. Go to your email inbox and click on the link to confirm your email.

4.Log in to with your new username and password.

5.You are now free to browse and post items!

How do I give something away?


In order to make a post you must first create an account and be logged in.


  1. First click on the box that says “Post your item!”



  1. Next, fill out the form with information about location, upload images, leave a brief description and indicate the approximate weight of the item.  Make sure while filling out the form you click the box that says available to indicate to other that you are trying to get rid of the item, not looking for it.

     

    At the bottom of the page it will ask you how you want to be contacted whether it is by phone, email, or both.

  2. After this is complete, click the “I agree to these terms” button and click “Update Listing” to post

     


How do I add photos to my listing?

When you create a listing for your item you will see an option to “Add images to your Listing” that will let you upload two photos of your item. For best viewing of your item, the photo should be in landscape (more wide than tall), and not portrait (more tall than wide.) Click on the browse button to select and upload a digital picture file from your computer or device. Your photo will not appear on the Twin Cities Free Market until it is approved. Please allow 1-2 days for image approval.

 If your photo will not upload or does not look right, follow these tips to make sure it is the correct size, format and resolution:

  • You photo must be in a jpg, gif, or png file format

  • Photos must be only of the item(s) you are exchanging

  • When taking a picture of your item set the resolution/file size to ‘medium’ or ‘lower’

  • Make sure the total file size for both photos combined is less than 2mb

  • You may want to crop and/or resize your photo before you add it. Please read the Free Market Disclaimer for full terms of use.

  • All photos only show up "landscape". If you upload a portrait photo it will turn sideways (making it landscape).

 

  • Photo tips:  To increase the effectiveness of your listing with photos, you may want to include the following:

  • One photo showing a broad view of your item

  • One close up photo, detailing special features or any damage, or a photo from each side

One tool that is easy, cross-platform, free and requires no login to reduce your photo size is http://apps.pixlr.com/express/

Click on "Browse" and select the image you want to shrink.
Once it loads, click on "Adjustment" on the bottom left

Then click "resize" (second in from the left on the second row) to resize the image.
A good size is 640x480.
Then click "Save" in the upper left.
This does three additional things. It keeps the site footprint light, reduces bandwidth spikes and data consumption, and it helps users become more confident consumers of technology!

How can I look for free stuff?

You can either use the search function if you are looking for something specific, or you can browse the available goods by most recently posted or by category in the home screen.

What If I don't find what I am looking for?- You can list your request for an item in the "Wanted" section of the website. Go to the blue "Post your Item!" button and follow the instructions. You can list as many items as you want. This will allow others who have a matching item at home to contact you.

How do I edit a listing?


When you log in to your account, you are taken to the "My Listings" screen with a list of all the items you have posted. On the right hand side of the screen you can click on the blue "edit" link next to the listing you wish to edit. It will take you to the page with your listing so you can make changes. Remember to click the "List Item" at the bottom of the page to save and update your listing.




You can also edit your listing by finding the item in the listings. When you click on the item, and are taken to the page with your item, you will see a tab above the title of your listing that say "View" or "Edit". Click on "Edit", and you will be taken to the screen where you can edit what you need to edit on your listing. Remember to click the "List Item" at the bottom of the page to save and update your listing


How do I remove a listing?

 

Once you have logged into your account you will be shown the list of items you have posted on the Free Market. Click on the blue “edit” link to the right of the listing you wish to remove.

 

If you have been able to find or give away the item in the listing, click on “Item Exchanged”. This will remove your listing. If you have not been able to find or give away the item in the listing but wish to remove it anyway, click on “Item Not Exchanged.” When you are finished, click on “Update Listing” near the bottom of the page.



If you need to remove your listing for another reason (duplicate listing, for example), use the "Item Not Exchanged" option at the bottom of the page.

You will be able to reopen your listing for up to one or two months after you have removed it. After that time, the closed listing will be removed from your account and you will need to re-enter the item as a new listing.

 

How do I extend a listing?

When a listing has expired you may extend it for up to two months. Once you have logged into your account you will be shown the list of items you have posted on the Free Market. Click on the blue “edit” link to the right of the listing you wish to edit. By clicking on “Available” (if you had listed an item to give away) or “Wanted” (if you had listed an item to give away) your item will be re-listed.

You can specify the length of time you wish your listing to run by clicking on “1 Month” or “2 Months”. When you are finished, click on “List Item” near the bottom of the page. If you do not choose to extend your listing it will be removed from your account after one month.

I’m trying to register and I can’t see the zip-code list. Why?

 

 

In order to use all the functions of the Free Market you must have ‘cookies’ and ‘JavaScript’ enabled in the security settings of your internet browser. Cookies and JavaScript are part of the security settings in your browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Chrome). Often they are already enabled, but sometimes you will need to manually enable them.  For more information about ‘cookies’ and ‘JavaScript’ click What are "cookies" and "JavaScript"?

 

 

I tried to remove my listing and the system won’t accept or resend my password. Why?

 

Make sure you have ‘cookies’ and JavaScript enabled in your web browser. Check your “spam” or junk mail folder, your password may have been sent there. What are "cookies" and "JavaScript"?

If you have more than one email account you may have used a different email account to set up your listing. Try your other email accounts and check that you have spelled your password correctly (including case-sensitivity).

Try these steps and if you are still having trouble, contact info@twincitiesfreemarket.org with the item number that you would like removed (found in the listing) and it will be removed for you.


Privacy

Why do I need an email account?

All Free Market users are required to have an email account. Generally an email address belongs to only one person or to a family. This makes email addresses a convenient way to establish and identify individual Free Market user accounts without disclosing personal information such as your address or phone number (unless you authorize it).

Can I place my listing confidentially?

 

Free Market users can place listings without revealing their identity to other users on the site. When you create your profile create a non-identifying profile name. Your profile name will be visable when you list items. Additionally you will have to choose to show either your phone number or your email when an item is listed. This allows other uses a way to contact you about your listing.


What if I do not want to use my own email address?

 

There are several free email services available on the internet, and you could create an email account just for use on the Free Market. These on-line email services are particularly useful for people who do not own a computer and depend on public internet access points. Free internet access is often available at the public library and at some coffee shops.

 

Popular free email services including:

  • www.yahoo.com

  • www.hotmail.com

  • www.gmail.com

    NOTE: The Free Market is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse any specific email service provider. This information is only provided as a service to Free Market users.


Do I need to include my phone number?


You do not need to include a phone number in your listing if you would prefer to be contacted only by email. Simply select "Email Only" in the field. Why do I need an email address?

Disclaimer

The Free Market Disclaimer

By using the Twin Cities Free Market you agree to the following terms:

  • You understand that all postings, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, or other materials ("content") posted on, transmitted through, or linked from the Twin Cities Free Market service are the sole responsibility of the person from whom the content originated.
  • Information provided through the Free Market is supplied by the lister of the material, not Eureka Recycling, its contractors or sponsors, nor is any advisor, agent, or employee liable or responsible for any warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy of the material description, the suitability for a particular use, or the salability of any material offered through this service.
  • You understand that the Free Market does not control, and is not responsible for content made available through the service, and that by using the service, you may be exposed to content that is offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. Furthermore, the Free Market site and content available through the service may contain links to other websites, which are completely independent of the Free Market. The Free Market makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site. Linking to any other websites is at your own risk.
  • The Free Market will strive to exclude materials that exhibit the characteristics of hazardous wastes (i.e. materials that are toxic, ignitable, corrosive or reactive. See the Minnesota Waste Management Act 115A.96 and 116.06 for exact definitions). However, the Free Market is not responsible for the determination of what may constitute a hazardous waste or create a hazardous situation. Some non-hazardous materials, such as tires and appliances, are governed by rules and regulations that restrict their disposal options. It is the responsibility of the Free Market users to be familiar with any legal limitations that may exist on the exchange of any listed materials.

Contact us!

About Twin Cities Free Market

If you have any other questions, please contact us at info@twincitiesfreemarket.org

Eureka Recycling, 2828 Kennedy Street Minneapolis, MN 55413.