Freecycle can help you help others. Teachers have been some of my best "customers" over the years. As I get ready to put some items up on Freecycle, I thought I'd outline the process for those of you who may not know about this website.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is a theme many in the United States hear over and over again. The US Environmental Protection Agency has a website that outlines some thoughts on the reduce, reuse, recycle theme. It's not just the US, either. I read an article stating the Italian government declared an emergency due to the poor upkeep of Pompeii. People are leaving mattresses and refrigerator's behind.
Is It Another eBay?
Freecycle is not like eBay. There is not one main site; although, you can click on freecycle.org to find your local group. No money changes hands. As their tag line states, you are helping to "change the world one gift at a time".
My local group operates through a Yahoo group. Once I joined, I was able to place items that are free for the taking. I've passed on used, but still good, children's clothes. I've given away old pieces of technology that are obsolete to me, but useful to others. Mostly, I give away items. A few times I've picked up books and once a bowling pin that caught my husband's eye.
Once I place the notice of an item, I wait to see who is interested. For some items, I'll get multiple responses. My group suggests that you do not necessarily give it to the first responder, but wait a bit and see who seems to have the bigger need. Once I choose the recipient, I'll contact them via email and set up a pick up date/ time.
Does It Always Work Out Well?
I've never had a bad experience. I sometimes get frustrated. I will tell a person that the item is out on the front rail and they will not come on the appointed day. Mostly, I never end up even meeting the person. I place the item in a bag on the front railing and it is gone before I know it. In the long run, I enjoy Freecycle because most of what I need to get rid of has past its use for me but is not broken, damaged, or worthless. I'm helping the landfill stay a bit emptier. I'm giving someone something they need. I'm feeling freer because I'm not bogged down with clutter.
Give it a try and you might develop a new habit to help the planet.
"Christmas gifts on Flickr." Brungrrl's photostream. 2007 Dec 3. 2008 Jul 5.