The wartime slogan of the 40’s, Make Do And Mend, has become Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in today’s poor economic climate. Not only is a recycling cost effective choice but it’s also an environmentally sound concept that can reduce the number of items being sent to landfills that are actually still perfectly useable.

Back in 2003, an industrious chap named Deron Beal started up the Freecycle network in Tuscon, Arizona. He believed that unwanted items in one household might be of value to another, and that instead of just throwing them away they could simply be redistributed for free. Since then, the concept of Freecycle has exploded all over the world, with over 85 countries now operating local groups who recycle unwanted items to other homes nearby.

Local groups are available in most locations, all connected through Signing up is free, and new items on offer or wanted will be emailed through to you via a daily digest for those with overflowing inboxes, or single emails for each new item. Be aware that daily digests may mean items have already gone before you’re notified, and communication preferences can easily be changed.

So before you throw anything away, have a think about listing it on Freecycle first, especially if it’s still in full working order. What may be junk to you could be someone else’s dream piece. Local groups have different rules on what can and can’t be listed, so things like finding homes for pets may not be allowed on one list and will be on another. But generally, so long as you’re polite, respectful and aren’t asking for money, anything goes.

Don’t discard the broken items, such as bikes, cameras or other electronics. Items that can be broken down in to parts can be of use to many people, and as it only takes a quick post online it’s not going to cost you anything to offer it to someone else. If all else fails, throwing it away is still an option, but at least your conscience will be clear.

And if you’re after something for your home, Freecycle could potentially offer it up to you for free. If local listings don’t have what you’re after you can always post a request for the item in case someone’s got one they’ve just not got around to listing yet. It will be your responsibility to collect the item from the current owner, so please be sure you’re comfortable visiting a strangers home in order to receive your new item, and be sure it will fit in your car before you arrive or risk disappointment!

If you’re looking to do your bit for the environment, unclutter your home or need new furniture, books or clothes, then Freecycle is definitely for you. Find items, offer items, and collect items all for free, you can’t ask for more than that! Sign up for your local group or, if no local group currently exists, you can apply to create and moderate your own, and join thousands worldwide recycling unwanted items for free.

Leave a Reply