Waste Exchange Programs

"One person's trash is another person's treasure."

Did you know that there are a multitude of alternatives to the disposal of materials or wastes, which help conserve energy, resources, and landfill space?

Service providers directly connect one-time or regular generators of traditional or even difficult-to-recycle materials with parties that can use those materials.  Instead of paying for hauling and disposal, the generator gets revenue and the recipient gets a resource they need, typically at a lower cost or even for free.  A handful of the many opportunities for direct recycling, reuse, and repurposing are listed below.

  • The mission of Califorma Materials Exchange (CalMAX) is to build reuse markets for materials from businesses, organizations, industry, schools, and individuals, and to find markets for nonhazardous materials that may otherwise be discarded.  And, CalMAX is free.
  • Pensylvania Material Trader is a free online service established in 2004 by the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers' Environmental Management Assistance Program. This service is intended to help businesses find users for materials they have traditionally discarded.
  • NY WasteMatch is a free service, created and funded by the NYC Department of Sanitation, which facilitates the exchange of used and surplus goods and equipment from organizations that no longer need them to other entities that do.
  • Acting as an information clearinghouse, directory, and marketing facilitator for reusable industrial materials, the Illinois Industrial Material Exchange Service (IMES) deals with waste by-products, off-spec items, hazardous and nonhazardous materials, overstock, and damaged or unwanted materials.
  • The Industrial Materials Exchange (IMEX) matches up business industrial waste generators with waste users in the Pacific Northwest.
  • RecycleMatch is an online market for transforming commercial waste into value.  RecycleMatch charges a percentage fee for each match that it makes based on the cost savings and revenue produced from each material match.
  • Biomass Trader is a free network of regional marketplaces (currently Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania) for buyers and sellers, as well as givers and takers, of biomass and biomass-derived products.
  • The British Columbia Electronics Materials Exchange (BC-EMEX) is a program from the Electronics Product Stewardship Association of B.C., Canada, that promotes the exchange (or sale) of electronic items priced from $0 to $99.
  • For more directly useable materials (for example, unused construction materials), Freecycle might be worth checking out.  The Freecycle Network™ is a non-profit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free, made up of 4,873 groups with 6,877,000 members across the globe. Membership is free.