Laws & Policy

Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations participating in the collection and sale of used goods should be aware of laws and regulations that govern certain activities.

NYC Licensing Law

Every seller of used merchandise in NYC, with the exception of nonprofit organizations, used clothing stores, garage sales, and used boat dealers, must have a Secondhand Dealer General License issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Apply for a Secondhand Dealer General License online at DCA’s Business Toolbox.

NYC Consumer Protection Law

The NYC Consumer Protection Law (PDF) requires a seller of used merchandise to clearly disclose through labels and signage that the items are not new by means of words such as “used,” “antique,” “floor model,” “demonstrator,” “rebuilt,” in any advertisement or sales transaction. Nonprofit organizations are exempt from these regulations.

NYS Bedding Law

The New York State Bedding Law (PDF) restricts both the refurbishment and the resale of used mattresses and box springs. In order for an establishment to sell used mattresses or box springs, it must register with the State and comply with strict sanitary standards.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act regulates the resale of children’s toys containing lead. This law, commissioned by the Consumer Product Stewardship Committee, requires resellers of children’s toys to prove through lab tests that the children’s products they accept and re-sell are lead-free.

Collection Bins for Donations

Charities and businesses sometimes use drop-off bins to collect goods from the public. NYC Administrative Code specifies that the placement of collection bins by any person, other than a government or governmental agency, or its contractors or licensees, on any City property, property maintained by the City, or on any public sidewalk or roadway, is prohibited. Collection bins include, but are not limited to, clothing bins. Failure to comply with this prohibition may result in the immediate removal of any collection bin improperly placed on public property. Placement of collection bins on private property is allowed, provided that the property owner has furnished the collection bin owner with written authorization, the bin owner has registered the bin with the City, and the bin owner submits an annual report of the weight of material collected.

User Agreement


donateNYC strives to provide the best possible customer service and quality assurance to all users. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions under which a registered entity may use the donateNYC website and services. Please read it carefully. Not accepting these terms and conditions will result in the rejection of your application. Not adhering to these terms and conditions after acceptance will result in a revocation of your site privileges.

donateNYC reserves the right to update and revise these terms and conditions at any time. All changes will be illustrated here. Users will not be notified of updates, unless deemed necessary; so please visit this page periodically to review.

  1. Terms of Use & Privacy Policy
  2. donateNYC is covered under New York City's Terms of Use and Privacy Policies by agreeing to the following you confirm that you have read both the City's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and understand that this agreement does not supersede, but is in addition to those terms and policies.

  3. Provider & Administrator Terms
    1. Service Provider
    2. donateNYC is funded by the NYC Department of Sanitation. It is a public service to residents, nonprofits, and businesses of New York City. This program provides an online venue for residents to find local entities (vendors) to donate and find second hand goods; and for local businesses and nonprofits to list large quantities of goods needed or available for donation.

      [NOTE: Due to the high volume needs of business and the nonprofit partners, it may take 72 hours to approve accounts and listing requests. Residents are not encouraged to register and use the exchange, and will not be approved unless they meet the minimal eligibility requirements. Residents are encouraged, however, to use the donateNYC search application, and other public online venues, to find places to donate or exchange their items.]

      donateNYC is strictly a referral service. It is not involved in the actual transaction of materials on exchange system; nor does donateNYC or its funding agency endorse, vouch or sponsor any of the entities using any portion of this system. donateNYC therefore has no control over the quality, safety or legality of the items found through its system. Nor does donateNYC control the full accuracy; vendor location; the ability of listing users to give or receive items of any listing posted. donateNYC cannot and does not ensure warrantee or guarantee that any user will fully complete a transaction. The responsibility for the completion of any transaction is solely the responsibly of the two users who connect through the system, and not donateNYC or NYC Department of Sanitation.

    3. System Administrators
    4. donateNYC is operated by a team of Site Administrators who are chiefly responsible for monitoring the system for the continuity and efficiency of operations. This includes the collection of data for the purpose of:

      1. Establishing accuracy of information listed on donateNYC's system for the best possible customer service;
      2. Promoting the social, economic and environmental benefits of local material donations and reuse;

      To ensure that donateNYC utilized in a responsible manner that does not promote harmful, offensive, or illegal activity by monitoring user activity and messaging on a daily basis.

      donateNYC therefore requires its System Administrators to implement the above goals by enforcing the adherence to the User Registration & Eligibility Requirement; Information Verification requests; and user Requirements & Policies by all users of donateNYC.

      donateNYC provides System Administrators with the ability to deny any user application, or to suspend or deactivate any user accounts as they see fit for failure to adhere to any and all of its policies and procedures.

  4. User Conditions

    All entities applying, either to be listed on the donateNYC search application or to utilize the donation exchange, are required to:

    • Complete the appropriate online application [LINK]
    • Agree to these Terms and Conditions [Click Below]
    • Confirm and continue to meet User Eligibility Requirements [3.1]
    • Adhere to the Information Verification process [3.2]
    1. User Eligibility Requirements [All Users]

      By agreeing to these terms you are confirming that you meet the basic user Eligibility Requirements. In order to be listed or utilize donateNYC all users must meet certain criteria to ensure the most accurate information and quality of customer service. Eligibility criteria required of all entities are:

      1. Provision of Correct General Information
      2. Entities deemed "eligible" for all services must agree to provide consistent and accurate information that is:

        • Not false, inaccurate, or misleading;
        • Not fraudulent or involve the sale of counterfeit or stolen items;
        • Not infringing on any third party's copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other proprietary rights or rights of publicity or privacy
        • Not violating any law, statute, ordinance or regulation (including without limitation those governing export control, consumer protection, unfair competition, antidiscrimination or false advertising)
        • Not defamatory, trade libelous, unlawfully threatening or unlawfully harassing
        • Not obscene or contains any form of pornography or be otherwise adult in nature or harmful to minors
        • Not containing any viruses, Trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancel bots or other computer programming routines that are intended to damage, detrimentally interfere with, surreptitiously intercept or expropriate any system, data or personal information
        • Not creating liability for donateNYC or its funder in any way
        • Not linking directly or indirectly to, or include descriptions of goods, services, agencies or business that are: prohibited under this agreement; attempting sell, or are identical to other items for sale or entities for sale on another site/venue; or are not already posted on this site.
      3. Confirmation of physical and local operation
      4. The existence of an associated physical operation and location [i.e. storefront, reception center, regular donation drive] must be verifiable and provided. This operation must be accessible to the general public for the drop off and pick-up of donated goods within the 5 boroughs of NYC. For being listed on the Directory and Search Application correct hours of operation must be provided.

        Verification of physical location may be considered site visits, evaluation of regular customer feedback, online street views, or other documentable evidence.

      5. Confirmation of Legal Status
      6. Most local business and nonprofit organizations that accept and donate unwanted, used goods may use donateNYC. Due to donateNYC mission and local and state laws/regulations, entities excluded from using donateNYC's services include: automobile dealerships, scrap metal salvage, commercial recycling companies, pawn shops, firearm dealers, and for-profit vendors which deal in the ANY of the items listed in the Prohibited Items section [4.2]

        For entities which accept or donate any of the items listed on the Approved Items section [4.1], confirmation of legal status of a prospective vendor may be required. The purpose of confirming legal status confirmation is to assist and respect all customers "donor intent." Documentation that may be requested includes:

        • Documentation of Non-Profit 501(c)(3) status
        • If the prospective vendor is registering as non-profit entity, to use both the exchange and be listed on the Directory, it must be able to provide customers with tax receipts for donations received. In addition, documentation of legal 501(c)3 status, either tax ID number or copy of the most recently filed IRS-990 form, will be requested before approval if administrator sees fit.

        • NYC Second-hand Dealer General License
        • A second-hand dealer may be listed on donateNYC's online directory. However, if the prospective user is currently conducting a for-profit business [sole proprietorship, general partnership, or LLC] that accepts second-hand goods, or purchases second-hand goods with store credit, from the general public it must be able to produce a copy of its Secondhand Dealer General license. Used clothing stores, garage sales, and not-for-profit organizations are exempt from the Secondhand Dealer General license requirement. []

          NOTE: producing a Second-Hand Dealers License but dealing in ANY of the items listed in the Prohibited Items section [4.2] will result in immediate disqualification of application acceptance.

        • NYC Businesses Certificate and NYS Tax Vendor ID
        • Businesses dealing in second-hand materials, which do not possess a Secondhand Dealer General license, will not be listed on the directory. However, local businesses can post offers of goods available for donation on the exchange. Local businesses may also accept goods from the exchange only with verification of that entity's NYC Businesses Certificate, NYS Tax Vendor ID and verification of an associated physical operation, with consent and agreement of donating party.

    2. Information Verification
    3. donateNYC reserves the right to verify or request verification at any time of any of the eligibility requirements listed above. Failure to verify or respond to a request for verification will result in either a denial of user/vendor application or a deactivation of user account.

  5. Specific Requirements & Polices for Exchange Users

    All approved users and vendors of donateNYC are required to adhere to any and all requirements and policies for utilizing the system. This includes:

    1. Donor & Recipient Responsibility
    2. Donors and recipients must provide the most accurate and truthful information regarding materials and transportation and labor capabilities. In addition, the Site Administrator may, at his or her discretion, temporarily or permanently bar a user from accessing donateNYC if the user violates this listing policy.

      • Users should remove their donateNYC Exchange listing if it is no longer valid and report all successful exchanges with the most accurate information. This feedback is absolutely critical to justify the continuation of this program.
      • Users must respond to all inquiries, even if only to say that you are not interested.
      • If complaints are received that you are not returning phone calls and the problem is not resolved in a timely manner, your listing(s) will be removed.
      • All contact information regarding place of business and nonprofit must be up to date. If the number in your listing is on an answer phone or voice mail system, please be sure your full name, and/or business name, as stated in your listing, is mentioned on your outgoing message.
      • Either donor or recipient must be located in the five boroughs of New York City.
    3. Listing Policy & Requirements
    4. donateNYC's policies require that listings provide a text description and photograph describing the item that is available for donation. donateNYC is not a sales marketplace; therefore no item may be listed for a price. All items must be listed in an appropriate category. Listings may not promote identical items in more than one listing on our site at any one time. In addition:

      • All listings must be in good/usable, working condition - Materials cannot be broken, in need of repair, or missing any parts.
      • No household recyclables or waste/trash may be posted.
      • All listings must match descriptions provided —If items are not true to listing description the Site Administrator has the authority to remove listing, and any future listings from that user.
      • All listings must meet a minimum weight requirement of 100 lbs./45 kg.
      • If listings require or provide a tax receipt one must be provided.

      donateNYC's exchange also prohibits the listing of a wide variety of items that might be deemed harmful, offensive, or illegal [see section 4]. The exchange is designed for nonhazardous materials that would otherwise be discarded.

  6. Acceptable Products for BOTH Exchange Listings and Directory Vendors

    donateNYC works to ensure that all users of its system comply with local, state and federal laws and regulations. This extends to the products allowed to be posted on the site and to types of vendors the site refers to.

    1. Approved Products
    2. As stated previously, the mission of donateNYC is to provide assistance to New Yorkers looking to donate unwanted products rather than throwing them away. donateNYC is not a marketplace for sales ventures. Therefore we recommend that exchange users and vendors utilize donateNYC to donate and accept the following approved materials:

      • Home Appliances
      • Books & Media
      • Electronics
      • Office Furniture
      • Vehicles
      • Clothing
      • Shoes
      • Textiles (non-clothing)
      • Household Furniture
      • Housewares
      • Building Materials
      • Musical Instruments
      • Sporting Equipment
      • Collectibles (antiques, jewelry, art)
      • Toys/Games
      • Food & Beverages (non-tobacco and non-alcohol) (unopened/unused)
      • Office Supplies
      • Art Supplies
      • Containers & Packaging
      • Glass
      • Lubricants
      • Paper & Cardboard
    3. Prohibited Products
    4. donateNYC has adopted its policies regarding prohibited items, regardless of the legality of the item. As a donateNYC Exchange user, you are ultimately responsible for making sure that donating or receiving specific item(s) is legal within the city and state of New York. If you think you've spotted an item on the exchange or visited a directory location that is conducting illegal activity or trafficking of illegal activity, please contact the Site Administrator and the local police department.

      donateNYC reserves the right to refer any potentially illegal listing to the appropriate legal authority for prosecution. donateNYC is committed to assisting the police and prosecutor in any investigation into illegal activity that may have occurred on this site (including, but not limited to prosecution for computer trespass). In addition, the site administrator may, at his or her discretion, temporarily or permanently bar a user from accessing the website if the user has listed an item that is deemed harmful, offensive, or illegal.

      donateNYC site administrators reserve the right to redirect advertisers to more appropriate sources when necessary.

      You may not list any item on donateNYC, which could cause any possible violation of local laws, statutes, ordinances and regulation; nor that furthers the trafficking of the following products*.

      • Live animals
      • Illegal goods
      • Advertisements
      • Alcohol
      • Historical Artifacts
      • Batteries
      • Catalogs Contracts & Tickets
      • Counterfeit Items
      • Credit Cards
      • Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia
      • Embargoed Goods
      • Faces, Names & Signatures
      • Firearms
      • Fireworks
      • Freon
      • Fraudulent Items
      • Government IDs & Licenses
      • Hazardous Materials & Chemicals
      • Household Recyclables
      • Human Parts
      • Lock Picking Devices or Burglary Tools
      • Lottery Tickets
      • Mailing Lists
      • Offensive Material, including adult items; products containing coarse language; pornography of any kind
      • Police-Related Items
      • Postage Meters
      • Prescription Drugs & Devices
      • Promotional Items
      • Real Estate, including timeshares; rentals; homes; condos; commercial property, etc.
      • Recalled Items
      • Spamming (e-mail, key word, etc.)
      • Stolen Items
      • Stocks & Other Securities
      • Stolen Property
      • Surveillance Equipment
      • Tobacco Products
      • Trademarked Items
      • TV Descramblers
      • Weapons & Knives

      *this list is a sample only and not intended to be exhaustive.

    5. Fees:
    6. As previously stated, donateNYC is a free service, and not a marketplace venue. donateNYC users are responsible for all costs relating to shipping, transportation, and labor of products exchanged on this site. All cost negotiation of logistics is between the respective donor and recipient. At no time shall donateNYC be responsible for any costs incurred by users of donateNYC.

  7. Additional Technical Conditions
    1. Communication and Messaging
    2. In order to provide quality assurance, all messages through donateNYC's messaging system are subject to review by system administrators for training purposes and follow-up purposes only. No communication will be made available to third parties. However, in the event of illegal activity, or questionable listings as per the prohibited products list, all information is subject to Federal Freedom of Information laws.

    3. Access and Interference:
    4. By reading and agreeing to these conditions, you as the applicant agree that you will not use any robot, spider, other automatic device, or manual process to monitor or copy our Web pages or the content contained herein under any condition. Using a device or software to interfere with the proper working of the donateNYC Web site is strictly prohibited and subject to prosecution. Copying, reproducing, altering, modifying, creating derivative works, or publicly displaying any content from donateNYC without the prior expressed written permission is strictly prohibited.

  8. Account Suspension/Deletion
  9. At any time, donateNYC may immediately issue a warning; temporarily suspend or terminate a user's privileges; and refuse to provide services if a user has been found to:

    1. Breach this agreement, or any documents it incorporates by reference;
    2. Not provide administrators with sufficient verifiable information as requested;
    3. Cause legal liability to donateNYC or NYC Department of Sanitation;
    4. Commit, or be suspected of any illegal activity;

    The Site Administrator's decision in this regard is final and may not be appealed or reviewed.

  10. Release
  11. In the event that you have a dispute with one or more users, now or in the future, you agree unconditionally to release donateNYC, its employees and funding agency from any and all liability, claims, demands, and damages (actual, incidental and consequential) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, arising out of or in any way connected with the use of donateNYC.