Campaigning for a greener future

Reduce, Re-use, FREECYCLE!

Everybody is well aware of the growing need to recycle and generally minimise the amount they throw away. Landfill sites are filling up and closing and there isn’t the same availability to open new sites that there used to be. But even if there was, just burying what we no longer need doesn’t help anybody. That’s where a fantastic community called Freecycle comes into its own.

Freecycle is an online community that anybody can sign up to. If you have unwanted items lying around the house (or garage, shed or attic!), you can list your goodies in an offer on Freecycle and wait for other community members to get in touch. There really is truth in the saying that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.

There are currently 4,542 groups worldwide, with a total of 5,455,000 members. Each group is moderated by a volunteer local to that particular group and ensures that the facility operates as it is supposed to.

Apart from being a great way of passing unwanted goods on to people who can make good use of them, the bonus about Freecycle is that it stops unnecessary waste. Thousands of items that could otherwise be destined for the tip get a new lease of life and a loving new home.

You’d probably be surprised, too, at some of the things that are offered. Nothing is too big or too small it would seem! From old conservatories that are being replaced, to seedlings, car parts, bricks and rubble, fence posts, bits and bobs for camping, mirrors, beds, chairs… the list goes on.

Many groups also allow ‘wanted’ postings. Now you may think that this would go against the idea of people offering unwanted items, but imagine somebody posts a want for a food processor. You read the post and think, ‘Ah… haven’t I got a food processor at the back of my kitchen cupboard…?’

So many people have items they completely forgot they had and the wanted request may trigger a distant memory of the item pushed to the back of a dark shelf. All you have to do is reply to the post, offer your item and agree a time for them to collect it from you.

The beauty of this is that new consumer goods are not needing to be purchased as people are able to use perfectly good items that aren’t in use elsewhere, therefore saving the resources and energy that would otherwise be used producing a brand new item. It’s not just the materials for the item that are being saved either, but all the extra bits of the chain, such as fuel for transporting the item, and other details that get forgotten when we stand there choosing which kettle or toaster we want for our kitchen.

To find out what groups are in your area, and see for yourself how Freecycle works, visit http://www.freecycle.org/. Once you have joined, most groups will allow you to subscribe to an RSS feed which will send you details of any postings by email a couple of times a day as a daily digest. You can then peruse these at your leisure, or you can log on to the message boards and see what has been posted throughout the day.

So, why not join today, have a clear out and make somebody’s day. And who knows, somebody might offer exactly what you were looking for and you might be lucky enough to receive it!

Happy Freecycling!


Posted in Green PlanetRecycling and Waste
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  1. […] by selling them at a carboot sale or in a newspaper ad; give them a new home by advertising them on Freecycle, a worldwide recycling network that helps keep things out of landfill, or give them to charity. Although some charity shops are […]

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