Recycle with Freecycle-A Gifting Movement That Reduces Waste
The Freecycle Network
Freecycle is a nonprofit network that was started in Tucson, Arizona in 2003. The founder just wanted to donate a useable bed to a local shelter rather than throw it away. When he found out they did not accept used beds he emailed a network of 30-40 friends to see if anyone wanted or needed it. That small network has now grown to nearly 5000 groups and over 8.5 million members in over 110 countries around the world.
The Freecycle Network Mission
Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.
In keeping with their mission, Freecycle prevents over 800 tons of "gifted" items from ending up in the trash and the landfills daily.
In a 2010 Press Release they broke through the "25,000 items daily" mark! The Freecycle Network estimated that the items donated that year alone would be equal to about 12 times the height of Mount Everest when stacked in garbage trucks!
How Does The Freecycle Network Work?
- There are about 10,000 volunteers worldwide.
- Each city or town that has a Freecycle Group has a volunteer moderator and a unique email group.
- Each group has rules and regulations that you must abide by.
- Remember, this is about giving and getting items for FREE. No money is exchanged.
How to Post a Freecycle Message
- Wanted is you seeking a certain item
- Found is telling others in your group that you have found what you are looking for
- Offer is letting the group know what items you would like to give away
- Taken is letting the group know that someone has taken the item(s) you offered
Describe the Items You Want to Freecycle
- include color
- mention any flaws
- it helps to include a photo
- give the general location where the items can be picked up.
- the moderator will read your email and make sure it is appropriate before it is posted.
For example; I had bathroom items I wanted to give away.
Subject line: Offer: Bathroom Items
In the body of the email:
- Shower Curtain: Turquoise and gold, fish pattern
- Silver shower curtain rings
- Turquoise rug 2ft X 3ft
- White behind the toilet shelf with glass doors
Who Will Get the Items and How to Conduct the Exchange
- You may get many responses.
- One person may not want all the items.
- It is up to your discretion who you will give the items to and not necessarily on a first come-first served basis.
- I would give my address and usually a cell phone number if they needed to contact me.
- I would then put the items on the front porch and label them with the name of the person coming to pick them up.
- If you are not comfortable with someone coming to your home you can bring the items to another location.
- Again, how you conduct the exchange is up to you.
One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure
I joined my local Freecycle Group when I decided to declutter and spruce up some of the décor in my home. It's amazing to me how quickly people responded to my offers and how quickly the items were picked up.
I certainly thought that I would not find a taker for some of the items I offered. For instance, when I replaced my kitchen countertop I offered the old one to my Freecycle Group. I already had it curbside for garbage pick-up when a woman responded to the email and asked me if it was still available. She wanted to use it in a store she was about to open up! I put a note on it asking the "sanitary engineer" to leave it there. She called me once she picked it up and was so excited! It gave me a good feeling that someone was going to reuse it, was excited to have found it and it didn't end up in a landfill.
Working Together To Keep It Green
How to Join The Freecycle Network
Odds are there is a Freecycle Group in or near your own town or city. If not, you can start one! Just go to www.freecycle.org and plug in your location to find the group closest to you. Once you find your group follow the instructions to join.
Once you get started you will be amazed at how receptive people are to your offerings and how many items are out there that you are looking for. It's a free cycle of giving that keeps stuff out of landfills.
Give what you have and don't need to someone who does. Receive what you want but don't have from someone who does.
Recycle, Reduce Waste and Reuse. As the Freecycle Network's motto says you will be "changing the world one gift at a time".
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