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Love the Earth, Freecyle Your Stuff

Love the Earth, Freecyle Your Stuff

Seems to me that if manufacturers just stopped making stuff, we’d have plenty of old supplies to keep us clothed, housed, and entertained for quite a while. Instead, those with the money to do so toss things in the dump and replace them with essentially the same things, albeit “new and improved.”

At this rate, it won’t be long before the land starts birthing new geologic formations stretching out beyond the landfills; mountains of electronics, clothing, housewares. In my humble opinion, we’d all be wise to start some serious freecycling–giving away, and getting, already-used stuff for free.

Increasingly people are beginning to list free things in the classified sections. Craig’s List also has a “free” section, listed under the “For Sale” column that you can search by location. But the most comprehensive place to get and give free items is through the The Freecycle Network.

The Freecycle Network is a non-profit, grassroots organization made up of 4,552 groups with 5,506,000 members across the globe. Their 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.”

The system is pretty simple. You join a local Freecycle Yahoo group which is moderated by a volunteer. People post what they want to give away, you grab it. By not supporting the production of new stuff we reduce the use of resources, and save landfill space. A win-win, for sure, and a free one at that.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

18 comments

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7:46AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

What a great idea.
Thank you

2:48PM PST on Nov 26, 2010

What a great idea ... for the greater good and unconditional. Shows the greatness of heart that still beats in good people.

Never heard of this before, thanks for the post.

2:47PM PST on Feb 23, 2010

I have furnished my whole house with freecycle items. I love it! Definitely true to the saying one persons junk is another person's treasure.

2:47PM PST on Feb 16, 2010

If you're not in a Freecycle group and your neighborhood allows it just put unwanted items on the curb with a "Free" sign on it...it beats throwing it away and landfilling it!

1:42PM PST on Feb 16, 2010

ABSOLUTELY! I recommend Freecycle allthe times as I too have benefitted from this eunique innovative service. Freecycle is a great way to make use of various items from sheds to chaise, tables and more. Also it reduces unwanted items being dumped on the streets too.

2:24AM PST on Feb 15, 2010

thank you

8:28AM PST on Jan 14, 2010

I LOVE freecycle! What a great concept! I even know of one freecycler who collects items and gives them to needy families, through the red cross. I give, I receive, it's awesome! I used freecycle to collect the items needed to make a solar cooker. I collected: 1. an old propane grill 2. old window glass. 3. Leftover insulation pieces (the kind that have the aluminum - foil type coating. Then all I had to do is clean the grill's insides, remove the propane crap, stuff the holes with old cloths pieces. Line the grill's insides with the insulation pieces, put the grill back on the grill and voila! The glass was for another cooker - skipped the putting the grill back on part place the pot of stuff to cook inside the grill and place the glass over top (leave the lid open) - 1 solar oven. Another awesome concept: food cooked for FREE

6:02PM PDT on Aug 11, 2008

Like many of the other comments I too have been a Freecycle member for a couple years now and have found some great furniture items as well as giving things away otherwise headed for the dump.

Last week I Freecycled yogurt that I opened before I realized it was the wrong kind. I've found new uses for odd things. I've been given a three-year collection of my favorite magazine Real Simple which was like it being my birthday. And I have assembled an entire room or two of very nice furniture for my brother and sister who came to live with me. I always meet lots of great people to boot- a couple which even became friends! I cannot say enough good things about Freecycle. One warning: it's addicting!

7:39AM PDT on Aug 6, 2008

This is such a great idea. I don't live near a freecycle group, but I do make sure to donate any items that I don't want anymore, as long as they're in good shape. Why throw away a perfectly good shirt when someone else needs clothes?

6:15PM PDT on Aug 3, 2008

Avid Freecycler ... both ends (give and take). I scour for things to save them from going to the dump. I've gotten things that I use alot and given away things that people can use too. (Actually one time I found a bike that was stolen, a 1960's tandem bike, and the owner was found via a freecycler).

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