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Reduce, Reuse, Freecycle!

Updated on August 16, 2012

Our Favorite Freecycle Items

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Our kids love the microscope I received for free on freecycle.orgThe kids enjoy displaying knick knacks in our curio cabinet we picked up from another freecyclerMy daugher loves her freecycle butterfly chair
Our kids love the microscope I received for free on freecycle.org
Our kids love the microscope I received for free on freecycle.org | Source
The kids enjoy displaying knick knacks in our curio cabinet we picked up from another freecycler
The kids enjoy displaying knick knacks in our curio cabinet we picked up from another freecycler | Source
My daugher loves her freecycle butterfly chair
My daugher loves her freecycle butterfly chair | Source

Top Reasons to Freecycle

  • New or alternate uses for objects
  • Make a do-it-yourself project less expensive
  • Safe exchange of items/no exchange of funds
  • Benefit others on a local level

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”

My children learn this chant at school and we do our best to implement at home. I am not the greenest person you will meet, but we try to be environmentally conscious.

We recycle and try to purchase from companies with environmentally safe practices. A few years ago I learned about freecycle.

Freecycle is an organization which fosters reusing items that might otherwise end up in the landfill. The goal is to find your ‘stuff’ another home as opposed to just throwing it in the trash. After learning about this movement, I signed up for our local freecycle group and receive daily email alerts about items that are wanted, offered or taken.

In addition to keeping items out of the landfill, these are my top reasons to freecycle.

We Freecycled our Broken Umbrella

We replaced our broken patio umbrella. Our freecycled umbrella is now keeping goats dry!
We replaced our broken patio umbrella. Our freecycled umbrella is now keeping goats dry! | Source

How to Sign up for Freecycle

  • Search freecycle to find your local group
  • Sign up to be included in the email distribution list
  • Read and understand terms and conditions of the freecycle program

Test Your Freecycle Knowledge


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New or Alternate Uses for Objects

What I love most about freecycle is when someone is very excited about receiving something that I seriously considered throwing away. We had a children’s picnic table that was cracked on top. We were planning on getting a new one and figured I would try to freecycle the old one. I clearly listed in the description that the top was cracked, but I received emails instantly from those interested in the table. Many did not have a table for their children and were excited at the prospect, regardless of the condition. We ended up giving it to a grandma who was hoping to do more artwork with her grandkids outside. I liked knowing it was still getting good use.

I also enjoy hearing how an object might be used in a different way. Our patio umbrella broke during a windy thunderstorm. It would no longer open correctly so it was heading to the trash. I decided to try to freecycle it first. I was shocked and pleased at the interest in a broken umbrella. The first responder and recipient said that she had a small leak in her barn roof and her goats were getting wet. She planned to use the umbrella to divert water from her animals.

A dry goat is a happy goat!

I laughed and then realized how glad I was that I didn’t just throw away the umbrella. Even though its usefulness for me was gone, it still could be useful for others.

We Made a Ballet Floor Using Freecyle Materials

Daughter on freecyle ballet floor
Daughter on freecyle ballet floor | Source

How to Freecycle

There are four terms used in Freecycle correspondence:

Offer: Use this term in the subject of your post when you are offering an item for pickup.

Wanted: Use this term in the subject of your post when you are wanting something from the freecycle group. Always submit an offer post prior to submitting a wanted post.

Taken: Use this term in the subject of your post to let the group know that an offer has been taken and notifying the community that it is no longer available.

Received: Use this term in the subject of your post to indicate that an item that you have wanted has been received.

Make a DIY Project Less Expensive

Last year, my daughter was taking dance and my husband and I considered building a ballet floor for her. Utilizing freecycle, we found hardwood floors from someone redoing their kitchen and mirrors from someone redoing their bathroom. We were able to make her dance floor for under $50.

Do you have any do it yourself (DIY) projects that cost is holding you back? Find a few items to offer on freecycle and then try wanting a few of the supplies that you need. Maybe you can get the cost down enough that you can get the project started!

Freecycle Etiquette

  • No money is exchanged.
  • Be accurate about the condition of the object you are offering. If it is broken or damaged, please state this in the description.
  • No shows are not appreciated and can be reported.
  • If you are chosen to pick up an object, honor your commitment.
  • If you are unable to show up on the agreed upon day and time, attempt to reschedule or suggest that the items are offered to another freecycler.


Safe Exchange of Items/No Exchange of Funds

I have heard stories of odd exchanges using Craigslist. Freecycle involves a very safe and simple exchange of items and no exchange of money. All freecycle items are given away which eliminates the need to exchange money or have contact with a stranger.

While I do provide my address for pickup, depending on the object, I have set them at the base of my driveway or in a bag on the front porch. The recipient comes, picks up the object and leaves.

Simple enough.

Use Freecyle to Donate Excess Toys

If your toy box won't close, consider freecycle to easily donate your items to another, local family
If your toy box won't close, consider freecycle to easily donate your items to another, local family | Source

Do you freecycle?

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Benefit Others on a Local Level

Using freecycle, you not only offered the items, you also choose the recipient. Sometimes I chose a recipient based on first come first serve and I provide pick up details to the first email responder. Other times, I might ask how they intend to use the object or request that the recipients are in need of the objects I am offering.

A few years ago, we had a revelation that in order for Santa to come to our house, our play room needed to be purged. I put a post on freecycle and requested that the toys go to a family that was in need of Christmas toys for their children. We wanted the toys to be able to change a child’s Christmas morning as opposed to go to another family who, like us, already has too many!

It was great for the children to know that their gently used toys would be further loved by another child and it was great for us to know that there might actually be room for any new toys that Santa dropped off.

Recycle: A Handbook for Kids

We Love to Freecycle

I cringe when I see large objects sticking out of trashcans waiting for the trash truck to take them to a landfill. What might be trash to you could still have use for another family. Before you put an object in the trash, pause for a moment and think about freecycling it. You don't have to pack it up in your car to drive to a donation site and you are keeping it out of the landfill. I enjoy lining up bags on the porch for pick up by fellow freecyclers. I am getting rid of unused objects in my house and finding them a new home.

Freecycle is an absolute win-win.

Consider signing up for freecycle today and please share you freecycle success stories!

Comments

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    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      You are totally right, Written Up. I have to remember to Freecycle, too, at times. It can be easier to just throw things out, but when they still have use in them, freecycling is so easy and worthwhile. Thanks for taking the time to read!

    • Written Up profile image

      Written Up 4 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      thanks for the reminder to freecycle. I did years ago, but haven't in some time. Got rid of some things that I know went to a good home!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, raggededge. Freegle...cool name, too! Bottom line, I love to hear how people are active in their communities and how people are working together the help the environment. Great job to YOU, Raggededge!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      I started a Freecycle group in 2004. We have now changed to Freegle as the UK began having issues with Freecycle management. However, the concept is a wonderful one and I love being able to facilitate a useful community resource. I have recently set up another group for our nearest city and am having fun watching it grow. Lovely hub, Twinstimes - you explain how it works really well.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      You are correct, Diana Lee. The movement is excellent and is really helping keep things out of the landfills that should not be there. Freecycling is in a ton of communities. I hope that more people look up their local freecycle and join in the effort! thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This sounds like a solution other communities should show an interest in. Our land fills are already way to full. Wasteful people throw good things away because they know no different. Perhaps this freecycle thing could help them change their habits.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, soccer world, for taking the time to read and comment!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      I knew you would be all over freecycle, Natasha! Thanks for taking the time to read!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Our yahoo group is extremely active. I easily see 50 posts a day. I also enjoy seeing the generosity in our community. Chrissie, I hop the FB page will help your community!

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I am a member of freecyle but have not had a transaction yet. My community has also started a facebook group that is on online yard sale and people meet at local places to exchange....maybe a facebook freecycle group would work better in my community...may have to look at setting it up. I loved all the tips and great photos in your article!!!!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I learned about freecycle about 4 years and love it! My local group isn't that active, but it's still pretty awesome!