FAQs & Help

This section answers common questions about donating and finding second-hand and surplus goods, and questions about donateNYC and the importance of materials reuse.

If your question isn't answered here, please contact us.

Donating & Finding Goods

Should I donate my stuff or just throw it away?

Donating is the best way to dispose of many used items—it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly than landfilling, and it helps other New Yorkers. Use donateNYC to search for nearby places that will accept your used items. Not everything can be donated, though; before taking used goods to a reuse outlet, it is best to check with them (by calling or viewing their website) to see what materials they accept, and in what condition.

I’m a resident—where can I donate my stuff?

You can use donateNYC to search for organizations or second-hand shops in your neighborhood that will accept donations of used goods. Or browse the donateNYC Partner profiles to find nonprofit thrift stores or donation centers.

My business or nonprofit needs to get rid of stuff—what do we do?

If your business or organization has large quantities of useable second hand or surplus items, you can post them in the donateNYC Exchange

My nonprofit or business needs free supplies or equipment—where can we go?

If your company or organization is looking for larger quantities of donated items or supplies, you can use the donateNYC Exchange to post a “wanted” listing or to search current listings for available items that may suit your needs. Note, though, that many Exchange donors will only donate to nonprofit organizations and will require a tax receipt.

My item is large; how do I donate it?

Some vendors will pick up furniture, appliances, and other large items that are in good working condition. Use donateNYC to find outlets that will pick up items. The donateNYC Partner profiles also indicate whether organizations offer pickup

Can donateNYC pick up my donated items?

donateNYC does not directly handle donations. Search donateNYC or browse the donateNYC Partner profiles to find organizations that accept donated goods. Businesses and nonprofits can use the donateNYC Exchange to list items they want to donate or find.

What is the best way to donate after a disaster or emergency?

Before donating any goods during an emergency, learn about donating responsibly after a disaster. Always coordinate with disaster-response organizations first to learn what goods are needed.

I'm a social worker; where can I find donated goods?

Organizations that receive donations of items often distribute them to people in need 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.

If you aren’t eligible, organizations and second-hand shops listed in donateNYC and the donateNYC Partner pages offer second-hand goods at reasonable prices.

Nonprofit organizations or businesses can check out current listings on the donateNYC Exchange.

How can I get help with donateNYC or the donateNYC Exchange?

Help with donateNYC

Help with the donateNYC Exchange

donateNYC Partnership

Who are donateNYC Partners?

donateNYC Partners are local, nonprofit reuse organizations located throughout the City that collect and redistribute second-hand and surplus goods. Donations of goods to these organizations support their social service missions, and may qualify for a tax deduction.

How are donateNYC Partners different from other donateNYC vendors?

Any reuse organization or business that accepts or distributes used goods in New York City can get listed in donateNYC. donateNYC Partners have additional individual profile pages because they’ve become part of the donateNYC Partnership network. These organizations have undergone an application and approval process, and qualify for a variety of promotional benefits, workshops, reports, and conferences provided by donateNYC.

How can my organization or business join?

Learn about the eligibility requirements for joining the donateNYC Partnership, and contact us to join.

About Donating & Reuse

Why should I donate used goods?

New Yorkers throw out nearly six million tons of waste every year, much of which could be recycled or reused instead. Donating second-hand goods to nonprofit reuse organizations is an easy way to get rid of a lot of stuff quickly, and may quality as an in-kind donation for a tax deduction. In addition, reusing second-hand goods has broad environmental, economic, and social benefits:

  • Reuse extends the useful lives of products, and conserves the energy and resources that are required to manufacture new goods.
  • Donating goods to nonprofit reuse organizations supports worthy causes, including providing critical social services to New Yorkers, creating jobs, and providing job training.

What is "reuse"?

Reuse is the practice of using an item more than once, extending its useful life. Often reuse involves a change of hands; reuse can also involve "repurposing" or giving an item a second life with a function other than its original intended purpose. Reuse is one of the oldest forms of solid waste management, and was practiced long before widespread recycling was technically possible. Although 20th century manufacturing and advertising practices promoted an age of disposable goods and built-in obsolescence, increased concerns about the environment and economic and social sustainability have led to a resurgence of support for reuse. A growing and vibrant reuse community and expanded reuse by New Yorkers are essential components of NYC’s 0X30 initiative for sending zero waste to landfills by 2030.

What is the difference between reuse and recycling?

Reuse, in contrast to recycling, does not break items down to their root elements in order to reprocess them into new materials. While recycling reduces the amount of discarded items that are sent to landfills or incinerators, reuse extends the useful life of whole items and creates a local loop that keeps the items out of the waste stream altogether.

What are some ways to reuse?

Reuse activity ranges from stoop sales and flea markets to consignment shops, thrift stores, antique dealers, and construction salvage companies. You can use donateNYC to search for reuse vendors. The donateNYC Events page lists reuse sales sponsored by nonprofit organizations. You can also find listings for stoop sales and garage sales online, and exchange second-hand items online at places like Craigslist.

Another way to practice reuse is through materials exchanges, such as the donateNYC Exchange, which helps businesses and nonprofits directly exchange usable second-hand or surplus. By using a materials exchange, organizations and businesses can:

  • Find markets for surplus materials, or receive low or no-cost materials
  • Reduce disposal or purchasing costs
  • Reduce waste and the amount of materials going to landfills
  • Support nonprofit organizations through tax-deductible in-kind donations