Online exchange systems provide a portal for the re-use of unwanted items through the internet.
A growing number of competing national and local websites are available including:
Typically these allow subscribers to post materials available or wanted on a web page listing. Groups are also being set up on social networking websites such as Facebook where local residents can post their items on a group page.
Local authority involvement
Councils can initiate and operate an internet-based free exchange site or support a local community to take the lead. For example a council could support a community group operating a website by advertising the scheme, potentially even hosting or funding the site. To ensure any internet exchange website works there are a number of practical steps that must be considered. These include:
- Who is going to own the website (community group or local authority)
- Hosting of the website (location, funding)
- Advertising the website to encourage usage
Before launching any exchange website it is useful to have the site populated with items / goods so that new users can understand how to navigate the site. Once a site is operational, some policing may be required.