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Common Questions & Tips

Why can’t I just throw these items away? 

According to the City of San Rafael’s 2030 Climate Change Action Plan “The best way to reduce emissions is to purchase and consume less stuff in the first place.” This surplus equipment procedure helps to promote a culture of reuse within San Rafael, benefitting the planet, our pocketbooks, and local organizations that are in need of equipment. 

How long do I need to plan for this process?

About a month, two weeks at minimum. Notifying people at these various steps takes time, and it can often take even longer to figure out the right time for them to come pick up the items. As a result, we recommend planning for this entire process to take about a month.

How long should I wait before I move on to the next step? 

The Sustainability Division recommends waiting one week after the City Department, Local Non-Profits & Public Entities, and City Employee Personal Use steps so that each group has enough time to claim the item(s). The minimum wait time is two business days for City Department, and Local Non-profits & Public Entities. 

How should I decide who gets the item(s)? 

The item(s) should be awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis to ensure as little bias as possible throughout the process. 

Do I have to do this for smaller office items (such as staplers, paper organizers, and binders)? 

For smaller items, it is recommended to group the items together and treat them as one throughout the procedure. For example, group staplers, paper organizers, and binders together and call them miscellaneous office supplies when communicating their availability. 

Can I claim an item for myself during the City Employee Personal Use step if I was involved in the purchase of the item? 

No. Any City Employee that participated in the procurement process is automatically disqualified from claiming the item for City Employee Personal Use. This stipulation is necessary in order to prevent employees from abusing this policy for their own personal gain.  

If I have a lot of items available, do I need to send out a communication for each of them? 

No, if a lot of items are available—such as during a move-out process—group them together in one communication. For example, send out one email to all City departments that includes pictures, dimensions, and maybe a brief description of each of the items. 

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