What is Freecycle and Why Should You Do It?

What is Freecycle?
Freecycle is a grassroots, non-profit group made up of smaller groups created to encourage peer to peer recycling. I know you’ve heard the old adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Freecycle embodies that old saying to the fullest. From old records to brand new appliances, everything you never knew you wanted may be listed on Freecycle. Freecycle is the best place to recycle your stuff and is very easy.

How it works:
Local Freecycle Groups are run off the Yahoo Groups system. If you are unfamiliar with Yahoo groups, visit www.yahoogroups.com and read all about it. In short, Yahoo -Groups is like a mass e-mail group. Someone posts a message via the groups Yahoo Group Website or sends an e-mail to the group’s e-mail address. The message/e-mail is then sent to everyone subscribed to the group. The receivers are then free to reply to the original sender. So, say for example, you have a bike you no longer want. You send an e-mail to the group’s e-mail address. All the users receive it. They reply to you. You set up a time for the taker to pick up the item. Once it is gone, you send another e-mail to the group stating the item is gone. Users may also send e-mails for wanted items. Some groups have a limit on the number of wanted posts each person can send per day or week.

Each Freecycle will have their own group etiquette–rules and courtesies for the group users. Once you join a freecycle, you will get information specific to the group.

The positive side of Freecycle:
Freecycle is a great way to get rid of all of the items cluttering your house. You don’t have to drive anywhere or deliver anything. You have an opportunity to help others that may be in need or just looking for something they would like to have. This is a great way for you to obtain things you want or need. Freecycle is a completely free group and money is not allowed to be charged for the items posted as “offered” (items you have to give). For every item you give, that is one less item in a landfill. Where I live, I often see useable items set out for the trash. Why fill our landfills and ruin our earth when there is a great chance someone may want what you have to give?

The downside of Freecycle:

Freecycle itself is a great concept and I personally love it. The only negative I see is that people will contact you for an item and never show up to pick it up. This usually doesn’t bother me much unless a lot of people do it for the same item. I will usually keep a number of emails for the same item and go down the list until someone finally shows. If you feel comfortable and your freecycle rules allow it, you can post your address and do a “first come, first served” deal.

Overall, Freecycle is a great place to be! You can recycle, help others and help yourself all in one place. Check it out!

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