Do you need a TV but you have no money? What about a couch? Freecycle.org is the perfect place to look to find the things you need while helping to protect the environment, and the best part is, it’s all for free.
The Freecycle Network, or Freecycle as it is commonly called, was created in 2003 by Deron Beal in Tuscon, Arizona as a nonprofit organization to keep reusable goods out of landfills. The ideals of this network have since spread to over 85 countries enabling the world to keep 500 tons of recyclable goods out of landfills per day. Freecycle.org can be defined as a free version of craigslist.org with a strong commitment to promote community and environmental protection through members with the same green gift giving drive. There are many rules and regulations decided upon by the local networks that a user can be part of. This helps build the community by collaboration about similar views. Freecycle also has specific rules about what can and cannot be posted, especially one that states that users can never offer any money as part of any exchange. Freecycle.org works as a gift giving system broken down by geographical areas into Yahoo.com email groups so members can easily post and respond to each other’s requests.
Marywood junior, Michelle Wolset commented, “Freecycle is a great way to get furniture, school supplies, electronics, and a great way to get rid of clutter when it comes time for Spring cleaning. It is especially helpful for college students for stuff they need for their dorm or apartment. I’ll definitely try it when I need to find something.”
Melody Rentschler, a Marywood student, explains the process of joining a group, “Joining a group on Freecycle is somewhat selective, your membership is not instantly approved like it would be on any other site. You have to be accepted by the group leader of your particular area in order to join the group. Also, the group leader has to monitor the posts for quality control. If any of the rules are violated twice, the membership will be deleted by the leader of the group. Despite the guidelines, the variety of items still able to be placed on the site are enormous.
Recently listed on the site were tire rims, an Apple monitor, clothes, stuffed animals, umbrellas, baking pans, rubber boots, board games and a stroller just to name a few. A member’s Yahoo inbox will only allow a select number of items daily, but it always fills with new requests. It is also cool that members will post messages of thanks to those who could use their items or apologies
to the people they couldn’t help. It really shows the sense of community and mission that Freecycle stands for.”
The Clacton Gazette in the United Kingdom reported in August that, “Alison Denby, 54, of Chilburn Road, Clacton-on-Sea, got everything she needed for her house from the exchange website, www.freecycle.org, without having to pay a penny.” Denby also states in that article that, “I was really surprised at how easy it was to do, and it was so helpful
for me I thought everyone should know about it.”
Although most articles will sing Freecycle’s praises, The Missourian contests that although Freecycle.org “still promotes consumption.” The original concept of Freecycle.org was to find a way for people to get rid of items that were still usable with- out throwing them away. The people that receive these items are usually in need of them, and Freecycle.org encourages mem- bers to consider giving their items to local shelters in need before they give them to other members.
“This trash to treasures concept is a truly unique one that is always a win win situation for the members on either side of the trade. The giver gets an opportu- nity to give an item to a neighbor or a local charity, and the receiver gets an item that they could really use. It is a great way to declutter your life as well as decluttering the planet’s landfills,” says Miranda Sorber.
As always, members are cautioned to be mindful of what information they post on these websites and stick to the guidelines of the website in order to be safe and have the best experience possible.