Do you freecycle?

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For many people, it starts after Christmas: that mounting panic as we try to find room for all the gifts we may or may not have wanted, realizing we have too much stuff.  For others, it awakens as spring arrives, and the desire takes hold to – as the folks at Freecycle say – “release your inner pack rat”.

What’s Freecycle, you ask?

It’s a growing network of people connecting through groups on Yahoo in an effort to reduce the load on our landfills.  You know that old adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”?  By offering items you no longer want to a local Freecycle group, you are helping members of your community obtain things they need; reducing landfill; and also reducing the demand for new goods to be manufactured.  It’s a win-win situation for the community and for the environment.

Freecycle groups are based on geographic regions, to make it easier for members to meet up with one another.  As a member, you can post to the group when you have an item to offer for pick-up, or to ask if an item is available.

I recently made one of my first “wanted” postings, in search of a replacement pedal for a Gazelle exercise machine.  I asked for a potentially broken Gazelle that could be used for parts, and received a response from a woman who had been using hers as a laundry station.  When I arrived to pick it up, I was shocked to find a beautiful machine on her porch that was newer and obviously much more expensive than mine.  I thanked her profusely, posted my older unit on Freecycle (noting the need for a new pedal), and another member picked it up within hours.  What a great experience!

Old and new Gazelle machines

Old and new Gazelle machines (c) Allyson Scott

To become a Freecycle member, just search for your city at , and join the group nearest you.  The process requires a unique Yahoo ID/e-mail address, and once the moderator approves your application (vetting for spammers), you’re ready to start reading and posting!

We still donate some items to charity, and others still need to be thrown out, but Freecycle has eliminated those piles in the basement earmarked for a garage sale no one wants to organize.

A word to the wise ­– before you post that gift you’ve never used and can’t wait to get rid of, just be sure the giver is not also a Freecycle member!


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