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Recycle - FreeCycle

by: Annette M. Hall

When I was a kid it was called dumpster diving. We had great fun reclaiming perfectly useable items from the trash that others thought was useless garbage.

There is a way for you to enjoy this sport without going through the humiliation of climbing into a dirty dumpster or feeling like a thief for taking someone's garbage. It's called FreeCycle and it's all the rage.

Members post free notices describing possessions they wish to unload or items they would like someone to give them.

I belong to over a hundred Yahoo E-mail Groups and I've heard Free Cycle recommended repeatedly in the past few months on many of the groups I frequent. At first I wasn't interested in the group, but as it was recommended over and over again, I became curious. So, I joined my local FreeCycle list and all I can say is wow!

The premise behind the group is that many items end up in the landfill; items that someone else could be using. Often individuals have perfectly good items, which are tossed out in the trash, because the item is no longer needed, yet another person may find that same item useful and desireable to own.

A group such as this wouldn't be much use on a nationwide basis, the territory covered would simply be too large and shipping costs have sky-rocketed in recent years, making even giving items away cost prohibitive. So, local area residents set-up their own FreeCycle list, which serves the local community.

The Freecycle Network began in Arizona in 2003, when community leaders in Tucson brainstormed a way to cut down on waste in the downtown area. A mere two years later, over 3,000 Freecycle communities exist around the world. More than one million people belong to a local network.

The closest group to me was the Sonora FreeCycle list, which I joined.

New members are asked to post an item to give away before requesting items, which seems only fair. I listed a 21" monitor that was just taking up space and someone showed up at my door that same afternoon to pick it up. I was thrilled to have the monitor gone and the new owner was excited about getting a "new" monitor absolutely free of charge.

The items which have been listed in just the month that I joined has simply been astounding.

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Sample Listings

This is just a small sample of the items, which were given away this past month on the Sonora FreeCycle list.

I have about three boxes full of GAP women clothes for a size 8/10, Medium petite woman. Most of them are still good, but I am not wearing them! Also I had a car full of books, I just put them all out tonight and three boxes full of National Geographics out front too!

Treadmill works great, it has the moving handbars if you wish to use them or you can just use them to hold onto. Only two things wrong, the incline does not work and the piece for the pulse monitor is not included. I'm sure one could be purchased if you really need it. It has various speeds. Digital readouts for distance, speed, calorie and time.

People have also listed brand new beauty products, furniture, a well-pump children's toys, a child's play pen, a pot-bellied pig, chickens and much more...

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Even if you don't find others willing to give away books, this is a resource that could save your family hundreds of dollars, in other areas of your life, freeing up household funds, which could be spent instead on books and educational items.

Once you have given an item away, the list allows you to post asking for needed items, which is a neat feature, permitting you to request unused items that a someone else may have on hand and never think of posting to give away.

FreeCycle is a wonderful way to help you cut through the family clutter. If you are like most homeschooling families you have stuff just laying around, not being used, taking up precious space. This is a perfect way to unclutter your life and feel great about helping someone else out as well.

To sign up for a Freecycle Yahoo group, choose your region from the list found on the left-hand side of the FreeCycle website. Then find the closest Freecycle group to your location. If you click [Go To], you will be taken to the website of your freecycle group. If you click [Join], an email window will pop up. Send a blank email to the address in the 'to' field and you will be signed up shortly for that Freecycle group.

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Happy FreeCycling!

Links Last Updated: June 9, 2008