Contents. . .
A seasoned user's advice for a successful Free Market exchange
What is the Free Market?
The Twin Cities Free MarketSM is a reuse program of Eureka Recycling. Eureka Recycling is a nonprofit organization that offers programs and services to reduce waste. 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!
The Free Market is funded in part by the City of Saint Paul, Carver County, Hennepin County, Washington County, and the State of Minnesota SCORE Fund. An original feasibility study was funded by the City of Saint Paul and the Minnesota Board of Government Innovation and Cooperation.
How does the Free Market work?
The Free Market website allows you to see what items people in your community are looking for, what items people have to give away and how to connect with them. If you are looking for items you can either search the online catalog or make a ‘wanted’ listing. If you have items to give away you can search the ‘wanted’ listings to see if people are looking for the item you have or you can make an ‘available’ listing in the online catalog.
Who can use the Free Market?
Residents of Carver, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington County may use the Free Market. Please do not list items, available or wanted, if you live outside of these counties.
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!
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:
The Free Market is a waste reduction tool, intended to connect free reusable goods with people who want them. There are also listings that do not focus on reuse, these types of listings are also not allowed. The following types of listings include:
How do I give something away?
You can start by searching the catalog to see what others are looking for in the “wanted” section. To view wanted listings: go to View Listings and follow the instructions to view the list of wanted items. Select "All Categories" to search the entire catalog or select the category that your item falls under ("Furniture" or "Lawn & Garden" for example). You will see a list of items people are looking for. Contact them to make arrangements for the exchange to take place.
If you do not find a match in the “wanted” section, list your available item in the catalog. To list your available item in the catalog so others can see what you have to give away, go to List Items and fill in the blanks as instructed. The information will be posted in the catalog so that anyone interested in receiving your item can contact you directly.
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. Click on the browse button to select and upload a digital picture file from your computer. 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:
To increase the effectiveness of your listing with photos, you may want to include the following:
How can I look for free stuff?
Search the catalog to see what others have to give away. To search the catalog: View Listings and follow the directions to view the list of available items. Search the entire catalog by selecting "All Categories" or simplify your search by selecting a category of items ("Furniture" or "Lawn & Garden" for example) or use the search function.
You will see a list of items that others have to give away. These items are stored at the homes of the people who own them. Use the contact phone number or email listed with the item to make arrangements to pick it up.
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 catalog. Go to List Items and follow the instructions. You can list as many items as you want. This will allow others who have a matching item to contact you.
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 View 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.
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.”
How do I edit a listing?
To edit your listing click on the “Edit Listing” button on the Free Market homepage. Enter your email address and password to access your account. If you forgot your password, it can be emailed to you by entering your email address and clicking on the supplied link. Once you have submitted your account information you will be shown the list of items you have posted on the Free Market. Click on the red “Edit” button to the left of the listing you wish to edit. Make the desired changes and click on “Update Listing” near the bottom of the page.
How do I remove a listing?
Once you have submitted your email address and password you will be shown the list of items you have posted on the Free Market. Click on the red “Edit” button to the left of the listing you wish to edit. 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.
You will be able to reopen your listing for up to one month after you have removed it. After one month 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 submitted your email address and password you will be shown the list of items you have posted on the Free Market. Click on the red “Edit” button to the left 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 “Update Listing” 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.
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 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).
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 are placing a listing, simply place your initials (or any combination of letters) in the fields provided for first and last name.
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.
To learn more about free internet email accounts please visit the following site:www.free-email-address.com
The site includes information on several popular free email services including:
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 type the phrase "Email Only Please" in the field provided for phone numbers. Why do I need an email address?
I’m trying to register and I can’t see the zip-code list. Why?
How to enable ‘cookies’ in Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer:
In Mozilla Firefox, click on the “Help” category in the browser tool bar and select “Help Contents.” A search box will appear where you can type “enable cookies.” This will lead you to a tutorial to enable cookies in your browser.
In Internet Explorer, click on the “Tools” category in the browser tool bar and select “Internet Options.” Click on the “Privacy” tab and check the level of your security. Your security setting should be set at “Medium” or lower to enable cookies.
In Internet Explorer, click on the “Tools” category in the browser tool bar and select “Internet Options.” Chose the “Security” tab and click on “Custom Level”. You will see a list of your security setting, scroll down until you reach “scripting” and “Active Scripting.” Mark the “Enable” button.
Why do I have to register every time I use the Free Market?
Your browser may be set to delete ‘cookies’ at the end of each session. Reset your browser to retain cookies, and you will not have to register again on that browser. You will need to register each time you access the Free Market from a different computer or browser.
I tried to remove my listing and the system won’t accept or resend my password. Why?
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 email@example.com with the item number that you would like removed (found in the listing) and it will be removed for you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (651) 222-SORT (7678), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Free Market Disclaimer
By using the Twin Cities Free Market you agree to the following terms:
If you have any other questions, please contact us at email@example.com
Eureka Recycling 2828 Kennedy Street Minneapolis, MN 55413