Tuesday, June 3, 2008


By Sally Deneen

Buzz up!

Let’s say you have a perfectly good fish tank or swing set or computer you no longer want, but it’s too much of a hassle to drag it to a thrift store – where it may be turned away, anyway.

A fun way to find new homes for stuff is posting your items at Freecycle.org, a grassroots, volunteer-driven Internet movement committed to the notion that one person's trash is another person's treasure. Think of it as an on-line message center that connects people who want to get rid of stuff with those who can use it. Members of the free web site can give and receive items for free.

It’s a "free cycle" of giving, which keeps good things out of landfills, reduces waste and saves resources. Begun in 2003 when Deron Beal sent out an e-mail announcing the Freecycle Network to about 30 or 40 friends and a handful of nonprofit organizations in Tucson, the Arizona-based nonprofit organization since has spread around the world. So far, there are more than 4,000 local Freecycle Network groups (reachable via Freecycle.org). Among rules: All items must be completely free with no strings attached. No illegal or adult-themed materials are allowed.

No item is too big or too small to post at Freecycle. Offerings have included comforters, beds, mattresses, a 10-year-old glider rocker that rocks smoothly but its arm joints are broken, a working dryer, clothing of all kinds, a satellite dish, Halloween costumes, jogging strollers, file cabinets, computer stuff, picture frames, vases, kids’ stuff, an avocado green refrigerator that must be picked up the next day, coupons for infant formula… You get the idea. Imagine if all of that ended up at the dump. The network estimates that it’s daily keeping more than 300 tons of stuff out of landfills.

If you’re in the market for an item, you can browse the listings or tell the community what you’re seeking. You never know what people have tucked in the attic. You sure can’t beat free!

article found on thedailygreen.com

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