City Government Promotes Reuse, Generates Revenue through Surplus Item Resale Program

What happens to City-owned items like equipment and supplies when they are no longer needed?  The City’s Procurement Department uses an online system for reselling these used items, generating revenue for the City while promoting reuse and keeping tons of material out of landfills.

Through an online platform for auctioning government surplus items called, the City sells everything from unneeded vehicles to machinery to cleaning supplies to bicycles.

In fiscal year 2014, the City had 46 different buyers and generated $331,438 auctioning its surplus items online. So far in fiscal year 2018, the City had 817 listings on the website, sold items to 169 different buyers, and generated 1.13 million dollars.

Some of the surplus items are purchased by buyers to be used locally, while others are purchased to be used in other states and even other countries. Many items are bought for parts, allowing broken items to be repaired and reused instead of being scrapped or disposed as trash. A few interesting sales the City has made through its online auction system this year include:

  • Sold an X-ray machine from the Medical Examiner’s Office that the buyer informed the City would be sent to Africa to be used
  • Sold a used tire machine and tire balancer that will be used by a small repair shop in Philadelphia
  • Sold 57 items from FDR Park (including lawn mowers, snow blowers, and a leaf blower) that will have their parts reused to repair other equipment instead of going to a scrap dump
  • Sold 18 broken mountain bikes to be used for parts instead of being sent to a scrap dump
  • Sold old table tennis equipment to a local table tennis group
  • Sold unneeded tires that will be used for vehicles instead of going to landfill
  • Sold 100 aluminum light poles for more than the City would have received if they had just been scrapped

In addition to auctioning surplus items, Procurement also oversees various disposal contracts for the environmentally responsible recycling/disposal of e-waste, waste oil, water re-waste, metal, hazardous waste, and other materials. The Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet is working with Procurement and Office of Sustainability to streamline the City’s processes and contracts for managing waste, with a focus on assisting with developing protocols for recycling, reuse, and donating new materials and an overall goal of reducing the amount of waste that the City government sends to landfills.

Through its Municipal Building Waste Audit Program, the Cabinet works with facility managers in different City departments to identify where the gaps are in current waste management practices, determine what opportunities exist for recycling and diverting new materials, and make sure that information about proper recycling and waste practices is as accessible as possible.

On the Municibid surplus item auction site, the public can bid on the City of Philadelphia’s government surplus items. Explore the Municibid site to browse items up for auction.

 Banner photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

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