Why Freecycling Is Outmoded Now November 11, 2008 8:50 AM
I know some are used to Freecycling but I cannot recommend it anymore. I've done it in the past, gotten things I've needed and given to those who need but Freecycling is outmoded now with the price of gas and the prostitution of it making it counterproductive.That's why I'm starting a thread on it because it's important to realize Freecycling actually does damage to the environment now, not to mention not serving it's original purpose.
First off, the competition has become fierce due to so many regulars/predators scouring the Yahoo Freecycling, Freeshare groups and Craigs List Free listings to go out and pick up everything they can lay their greedy hands on, not just what they personally need or want. Some of these people are hoarders/packrats with a certified mental illness whose stories have been documented in newspapers after their deaths or illness whereupon huge dumpsters have to be brought in to haul out years of stuff they've been collecting in their homes, garages, storage units, even warehouses. I know of 3 such instances in my area alone. Two of these were eccentric wealthy men who had profitable family owned businesses with no need for the things they collected off the curb. They had huge (can we say pollution boys & girls?) new trucks that they scoured the curbs all over town with every day. They hoarded everything they found and left it to rot and mold. When these two men died, one from a heart attack the other from being run over by a SUV when he crossed a street to pick up a free item on the curb (true story!), their families were left to spend weeks getting these now worthless freebies hauled off. The third one I know of had an old van she collected freebies/curbies in from all over town which she piled to the ceiling in every room of her house. She ended up being evicted by the city when it was discovered because they declared it uninhabitable. They bulldozed her house and she ended up living in a sleazy motel.
True, these three individuals were extreme examples of the mentally compromised but they are not unique as there are thousands more like them who chronically scour the curbs for free things to hoard away. This is not only a waste because useable items don't end up in the hands that can use and enjoy them but they eventually end up in the landfills after these crazed individuals die or become incapacitated.
Yes, I used to Freecycle too until I discovered it was causing pollution from gas emissions due to too many people doing it. 30 people going out competing for one item isn't cost efficient either, especially when some of them are hoarding what they find or reselling it on ebay, yard sales or their own second hand store.
I would never put any kind of appliance or electronics on the curb anymore either. Scrappers cut the cords off to add them to their collection which takes months to get enough to cash in for about 20 cents a pound and then In the meantime thousands of possibly reuseable items like tvs, microwaves, computers, etc end up in the landfills or sent off to China for illegal "recycling" adding to toxins on our earth instead of being reused by someone who needs it. What a waste and what a detriment to our environment.
So the Clubhouse concept was needed for more efficiency and safety, cuts down on pollution and keeps the items safe until someone spends their points on them.
I realise people are accustomed to using Freecycle and it worked at one time but that was then and this is now. The sad truth is that those who sought to exploit the Freecycle concept have prostituted and ruined it. It was because of that very exploitation I was observing through the years that I started trying to find alternatives to it and how I developed the Club exchange concept.
Please do not take the Exchange Club concept as an attack on Freecycle, it is not. It is a much needed alternative to Freecycle, an attempt to interrupt exploitation, gas pollution, landfill pollution, illegal recycling (I'll go into this more later) and general diversion of free items to their intended goal of reuse.
Many of the people who put things on the curb do so in hopes they find a good home, others just want to get rid of whatever it is. Those who put it out there do so with a good heart but unfortunately this doesn't stop others from taking advantage of their good heart since their motives are not pure.
A Clubhouse can prevent this from happening. Items brought in to the Clubhouse in exchange for points (that they can spend later on things they want/need) are unlikely to be gotten by curb exploiters because they have to bring things to the Club to exchange for points to spend on things at the Club so it wouldn't work for them the same. Their exploitation depends on getting freebies/curbies without any exchange whatsoever.
I realise too that sometimes a Freecycle exchange actually takes place between a Freecycler who has the time to wait for a particular Freecycler they promised the item to. Not everyone has the time or inclination to make this exchange in person plus I have heard a lot of sad tales about someone else snatching up an item before the intended receiver got there or someone came by and cut off a cord, etc. There is just too much competition out there right now and this started before the economy took a dive so it is much worse now.
One can defend Freecycling til the cows come home just like many still defend the Bush Administration but the facts are that it is outmoded due to exploitation and has become more a detriment to the environment and humans than a help. We have to think out of the box towards new concepts and change for the better instead of continuing to support something out of habit or misguided loyalty.
I see your points, but... November 17, 2008 12:35 PM
you are attacking the whole system, based on a failed method of application. Our area is very rural, and sparsely populated. I worry that broadly worded fear based and personally pointed attacks such as yours will discourage participation in a functional means of barter. Freecycle works great for us. We communicate, meet in person, get to know each other's needs and interests. I traded canning jars for excess tomatoes, gave a young family a much needed car seat, and provided a breeding buck rabbit to a lady who is just starting a homestead. Without freecycle I would not have met these people, and I look forward to trading with my fellow gardener and homesteader again.
Laura, One can't compare apples to oranges here. Yes, it may work in a small close knit community like yours but for millions of other communities it is no longer working as intended. By all means keep freecycling in your community if it works there but for the communities where it has become counterproductive, an alternative is needed.
Apples and oranges? This is a topic about freecycling and Laura gave a good point on how this can work in the favor of everyone. I do not see how her story is any different then yours, other then she is disagreeing with you.
I am with Laura, I am in a big city and it is working fine for me also. I have meet and funny enough, will be having coffee tomorrow with a lady I met doing freecycling.
We seem to both have the same love for books.
I also have been able to give away all my old baby clothes, toys and other things my 2 year old no longer needs. As well as my other children, I will always remember the look on the woman's face, who needed clothes for school and work and just happen to be the same size as my oldest daughter. She was extremely grateful.
I do not see not doing this because of a handful, and that IS what it breaks down to. A handful of people, who are exploiting or are hording.
Driving 2 times a week to the food store has just as much of a pollution cause with emissions.
Also, just for the record. I have never and never will defend the Bush administration.
My Issue With Yahoo Freecycle is the Confusing Message Board where items are Claimed November 18, 2008 2:24 AM
Sometimes Before the ad appears? and when You find something The adds don't dissapear when it is taken; You have To Go thru all the recent adds; to See if the Owner Bothered to put a notice of it Being gone. if People would follow the Group rules it would be Easier; Like No Curbside; Give to the first responder or the first Charity; it would work better;
but it still Serves a Purpose;
I prefer craigslist the adds are easier to read; People Seem To Clear them when the item is Gone; and it combines lists of items for sale with Free items; and other interesting catagories.
Curbsiding is not something I chase after as there is little chance of being there first; unless it is a big Givaway or Someone has Something of little demand Nearby; Freecyclers are Not Supposed to Do that anyway.
Prioritising based on Distance and Value of the Item; Not wasting Gas is something everyone needs To do; and I usualy try to Combine trips with other Shopping or Pickups if it isn't in my immediate area.
Your Club Idea has Merit for an area that has a comunity spirit; and can find the Space for an Exchange/Storage site But it would Discourage the Struggling Poor; who have little or nothing to give away.
I have thought of using that system in a Crafts/building supply Coop that would serve a members only network and allow for Tool Sharing and Repair/Reuse/Recycling/ and melting and casting for metal crafts.
But to Do it Right it has to be a Protected Secure site with rules and a Selfpolicing membership.
So For What it's Worth The Lists serve Who They Serve and while freecycle has use Rules that Some avoid following; Craigslist has no rules and what someone does with what they pick up is thier own BIZ.
For those who chose to judge and step aside; Well, as I used to Say to my kids when they complained about dinner; "Fine More For me, Go Fix Your own Food"...
Rod, Craigs List Free stuff is also subject to whoever gets there first to pick the offered item up and since so many are out there competing, the gas and pollution issue becomes a concern just like with Freecycle.
Didn't notice the reply untill now February 07, 2009 1:08 PM
Most Craigs Adds Do not give out an address; and Do only contact one person For pickup at a time; So I don't Get your Point about Gas and Competition.?...
Your Idea may be fine for you and your area But You seem to need to Put down the existing resources to justify it. They work for those thatthey work for and I am thankfull for that; I have Driven 100 miles Round trip to trade and then made $100 + Profit from a Craigs List Barter; Waste of gas You might say; But I also made a friend and Shared an Extra Tool of mine with someone that Needed it for thier Craft; and had something to offer me. I don't drive anywhere near that far for Freebies But as I said it is about prioritiseing and Mixing your Driving with other tasks/Pickups..You might get a More Welcome response to your ideas if you Would offer them in a positive manner rather than Codemning outright, with Obvious Prejudice; something that works for others; Just to promote your own Way. that as I said will not serve the struggling Poor; But then maybe you don't care about us......