Closets filled with children's toys no longer played with. Basements filled with exercise equipment only the spiders are using. Garages filled with tools and do-it-yourself supplies that are collecting dust. For many, this is a familiar scene. Fortunately, Hennepin County residents can now use a service called the Twin Cities Free Market
, a quick, easy and free way to find someone who will take these items off their hands. Residents log on to the interactive Web site that connects them directly with people who want to give or get free stuff: www.twincitiesfreemarket.org
. There are 300-400 new items listed every week. Some recent items include a gas grill, landscape rocks, a pet carrier and a cast-iron sink.
Participating in the Twin Cities Free Market keeps reusable goods out of the trash, and helps people avoid buying new, which is great for the environment and saves people money. In Hennepin County alone, it's estimated that 32 million pounds of usable clothing and household goods are thrown away each year - that's enough to fill shopping carts lined up from Minneapolis to Milwaukee.
In 2003, The Free Market had more than 8,000 listings and facilitated more than 4,000 exchanges, amounting to more than 500 tons of materials. The Twin Cities Free Market is funded in part by Hennepin County