The Materials Exchange program is a free service that links organizations that have reusable goods they no longer need with those who can use them. This reuse network helps prevent usable materials from becoming waste and saves you money. The exchange program is utilized by various types of organizations in different sectors, mainly commercial services, nonprofits, and manufacturing. The Materials Exchange program offers 14 categories of materials:
- Boxes and Packaging
- Chemicals and Cleaners
- Construction Material
- Containers and Pallets
- Equipment and Machinery
- Office and Art Supplies
- Paints and Stains
- Plastics and Rubber
- Textiles and Leather
What to Expect
To make an exchange, visit www.mnexchange.org. Once there, you can either list the item you have available, create a listing for an item you would like, or search items that have been listed. Materials listings include the name, description, quantity, and the location of the material. The materials must be business-related. You may charge up to 20% of the original purchase price for your materials; however, items are often offered at no-charge, especially to non-profit organizations.
If you have an item that you need to exchange very quickly or you think may be difficult to exchange, you can call MnTAP and our Materials Exchange coordinator will provide you with personal assistance on exchanging your item.
Once your item has been exchanged, we ask that you return to the Materials Exchange Web site and report the exchange. Reporting that your item was exchanged as well as the weight and initial cost of the item helps MnTAP track the impact this program has on the State of Minnesota.
Many users sign up to receive daily email alerts about new listings on the Exchange. You can even select particular categories of materials to be alerted about. Sign up to receive email alerts by clicking here.
The Materials Exchange program can help your company save money and eliminate solid waste. By exchanging the items you no longer need, you can reduce your purchase and disposal costs, free up storage space in your facility, avoid sending items to the landfill, and find markets for your surplus materials. Also, by taking someone else’s unused items, you not only help that company, but you can get low- or no-cost items for your facility.
Example: City of Bemidji and Keystone Automotive
The City of Bemidji had a large tote with sodium hydroxide that they were not using and did not need. It was listed on the Materials Exchange Web site, as the City was hoping to save on disposal costs. Keystone Automotive in Brainerd found the listing on the Exchange and contacted the City regarding the product. Keystone determined that the chemical could be used to neutralize their plating solutions and drove to Bemidji and pumped the 1,900 gallons into a truck. Both organizations saved money: the city saved on disposal costs and Keystone saved on purchase costs.
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