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Learn how to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items.


If you need help understanding the information on this website, please call (202) 535-2600. The phone operator will connect you with an interpreter. Ask for the Donation and Reuse team, and the phone operator will transfer you to someone that can assist.

Reuse DC is the District's hub for learning where to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items.

Reuse Directory

The Reuse Directory is a map-based directory that lets you find places where you can donate or repair your items or shop second-hand. The directory utilizes Google Translate, but if you need help understanding any of the information, please call (202) 535-2600 and ask for the Donation and Reuse team.

Exchange With Neighbors

Have an item you would like to get rid of that is in working condition? You can gift your unwanted items to a neighbor! By exchanging/gifting, you are doing your part to prevent items in working/usable condition from going into the landfills!

Getting Started

  • Post your item on social media, local listservs, or let your community (neighborhood group, church, friends) know that you have an item available.
  • Use a third-party website or app. Unfortunately, these services are mainly in English.
    • Buy Nothing (also available via app on Android and Apple)
      • About: BuyNothing offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide gift economy network.
      • How It Works: Those interested in becoming a member can do so by joining a local community Buy Nothing Facebook group by searching for a local neighborhood. Many of the Buy Nothing Facebook groups have a defined boundary for the sharing that goes on within the group. For those who prefer to participate outside of Facebook, download the app instead.
      • Users can:
        • Post items to give away for free or in exchange for a service
        • Request wanted items
        • Browse for needed items
        • Give gratitude to show appreciation and thanks
  • Freecycle (also available via app on Android and Apple)
    • About: The Freecycle Network is made up of more than 5,000 local groups. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free, and everything posted must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages.
    • How It Works: When you sign up, you join one or more local groups and/or invite some local friends to form a Friends Circle. You make posts about things you want to gift or receive. Other members reply and then you arrange a pickup time and location.
    • Users can:
      • Post items to give away for free
      • Request wanted items
      • Browse for needed items
  • Trash Nothing (also available via app on Android and Apple)
    • About: Trash Nothing is an alternate interface for existing freecycle groups as mentioned above.
    • How It Works: Currently trash nothing supports the original Freecycle, Full Circles and ReUseIt groups on Yahoo. Join at the Trash Nothing website or the app.
    • Users can:
      • Post items to give away for free
      • Request wanted items
      • Browse for needed items

DISCLAIMER: This is not an endorsement of any of the above sites. It is offered as an informal resource and is not exhaustive of all similarly focused website. If you operate an exchange service and would like to be added to the list above, please contact [email protected].


Food Recovery

Wasted food is an economic, environmental, and societal loss. In the United States, an estimated 30% of food is wasted by retailers and consumers.

Impact of Food Waste

  • Economic: From production, transportation, and disposal, food waste costs the United States over $200 billion annually.
  • Environmental: In the US, food waste is the third largest source of human-related methane emissions, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
  • Societal: Lower income communities tend to bear the biggest burden of food waste because their neighborhoods are in closer proximity to landfills or incinerators, both of which have significant health impacts.

Source Reduction

Source reduction is the priority of the food recovery hierarchy, since it reduces the volume of surplus food generated at its source. This includes approaches at home and in food businesses to make the most of food, such as more efficient purchasing and using up food instead of throwing it out.

After source reduction, feeding people with nutritious, wholesome food, rather than wasting it, is the most preferred way to recover food. District food businesses, individuals, and nonprofits can be part of the solution.

Guidelines for Safe Commercial Food Donation

The Department of Public Works’ Office of Waste Diversion and DC Health collaborated to publish the Commercial Food Donation Guide. The guide explains fives steps to starting food donation at your commercial food business.

  1. Learn: Read about which prepared, non-perishable, and dry foods can be donated by food establishments.
  2. Plan: Think about the excess food your business creates and how to incorporate donation into your operations.
  3. Connect: Contact organizations that accept food donations directly or utilize a service that can connect and transport your donations for you.
  4. Safety: Remember to follow all food safety handling rules.
  5. Know: Donating food includes liability protection and tax breaks.

Liability Protection for Food Donation

The Save Good Food Act of 2018 expanded liability protection to include food donors who donate to either nonprofit organizations OR directly to an individual. It also protects nonprofits who charge the end user a nominal fee to cover their production costs.

Protections to the Donor: A good faith donor who donates food to a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization or directly to an individual for consumption is not liable for any damages unless there is evidence of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

Protections to the Receiver: A bona fide charitable or not-for-profit organization that receives and distributes food not known or believed to be unfit for human consumption, without charge or at a charge sufficient to cover the cost of handling and preparing such food, is not liable unless the result of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

See DC Official Code § 48–301(a-b) for complete liability protection language.


Third-Party Commercial Food Donation Services

There are multiple technology platforms that connect food businesses with excess food with organizations that can receive food donations. Unfortunately, these services are mainly in English.

  • Food Rescue US
    • Local food donors (e.g. grocers, restaurants, caterers, farmers’ markets, corporations, etc.) register available fresh food. In DC, over 350 donors have participated since 2016.
    • Learn more about how to sign up to donate food at
  • MEANS Database
    • Food business donors post whenever they have extra food.
    • Nonprofit users tell MEANS Database what type of food they need. When any food donation fitting their need is posted, they get an email or SMS text message about it. If interested, they can claim the donation, and receive the contact information of the donor, and the donor receives contact information of the nonprofit to coordinate delivery.
    • Learn more and sign up at
  • Capital Area Food Bank- MealConnect
    • A Feeding America platform, MealConnect matches donors (food business of any kind) with CAFB partner agencies.
    • Food businesses interested in donating can learn more and sign up at

Volunteer as a Food Rescuer

Food Rescue US

  • Join over 400 active Food Rescue US volunteers who use their own cars to transport healthy surplus food from local businesses that choose to donate rather than waste to nonprofits that assist the food insecure.
  • To date, volunteers have rescued more than 7 million pounds of food with most rescues taking less than an hour from start to finish.


Through reusing, donating, and repairing your household items, you can save money and reduce the impact of creating new items and making waste. DOEE has launched several programs to achieve Sustainable DC’s goal of facilitating local reuse and recovery of materials to capture their economic and social value.

Fix-It DC

Fix-It DC holds community repair events dedicated to changing the “throw-it-away” mentality. Participants bring their broken items to the Fix-It events where community coaches provide guidance in troubleshooting and how to repair each item.

Fix-It DC regularly holds events at the DC Public Library Fabrication Lab and works with other community organizations to enable them to hold their own events. Learn more at

ReThread DC

ReThread DC, the District of Columbia’s textile reuse and recovery initiative, provides residents and visitors resources for decreasing the impact that their clothing (and other textiles) has on the environment. The Department of Public Work’s 2021 Waste Characterization Study found that clothing textiles make up 6% of residential trash, causing our city to spend an estimated $200,000 a year to dispose of unwanted clothing and other textiles as trash. Furthermore, textile production is a leading contributor to water pollution globally. Help save money and reduce pollution by reducing textile waste.

Whether hosting clothing swaps and knowledge summits, or sharing resources on how to properly donate, reuse, and recycle clothing, ReThread seeks to create a culture of sustainable use of textiles. Learn more at