We’re all guilty of lusting after garbage
The nice lamp. Still-working televisions. A passable
couch. You’ve asked yourself, “What
maniac would throw this stuff out?”
Likewise, we’ve all thrown out junk with
much trepidation. No, you don’t need the
eight-track player, but there’s got to be
a better place for it than a pile of trash.
Enter the City’s Stuff Exchange, a plausible
substitute for the hodge-podge of Craigslist.
The Web site (www.nyc.gov/stuffexchange) allows
residents to locate the nearest place to unload
their stuff, and also buy other people’s
“New York is a place of urban myths and
one of the myths is that all of this stuff ends
up in our landfills,” City Sanitation Director
of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling Robert
Instead, for years now the City has been connecting
people with stores and collectors longing for
For entrepreneurs like Ruth D’Agostino,
the Web site has provided a big bump in business.
“I get four to five calls a week because
of it,” she said. “It has been a big
As the owner of Wee Company, an antiques shop
in Woodside, D’Agostino is expressly in
the business of stuff. Too often, people mistake
items around the house for useless materials.
“These things, they’re not junk. It’s
all good stuff!”
Stuff Exchange has gotten her in touch with various
sellers around the borough looking to unload knickknacks,
collectibles and antiques around the house.
D’Agostino even went into a home and cherry
picked items she would like to sell.
“They were selling their entire house. I
just went in there, asked them the asking price
and if it suited me, I bought it.”
Instances like D’Agostino’s are exactly
what the Stuff Exchange has been created for.
The simple layout allows you to pick what you
want to do (buy, donate, sell) what it is you’re
looking for (cell phones, books, cd’s, etc.)
and a couple of clicks away is a list of places
near your zip code that’ll fit your needs.
“The problems has been connecting people
to the reuse infrastructure already in the city,”
Lange said. “Stuff Exchange takes care of
The actual effect of the Web site is hard to numerate.
The Department of Sanitation doesn’t keep
track of business done as a result of the program.
Still, for small-business owners like D’Agostino,
and consumers or sellers looking for an easy transaction
close to home, it’s a welcome relief.