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Freecycle: changing the world one gift at a time

January 21, 2008


Freecycle is an organization I discovered through a friend over a year ago. It is a grassroots effort to rid our landfills of items that could be reused, if only the owner knew who they could give it to instead of just throwing it in the trash. The beginning and the 5 year growth of Freecycle is as amazing as how the organization operates.

A man in Tucson, Arizona simply emailed 30 or so of his friends and a few nonprofit organizations and told them he had this idea for people to stop throwing perfectly good usable items away.  Basically the concept is simply a meme of sorts, where a member lists an item they want to give away. The key is the item must be given away, no strings attached and no money exchanging hands. Members may also list items they are looking for. Five years later, this very optimistic view of human nature has grown and spread over 75 countries! I mean, come on, who would have thought getting even 2 or 3 people to simply post an item for free when they could get a buck for it in a yard sale would turn into thousands of local groups with millions of members giving stuff away. It is estimated the items given away in Freecycle posts keep more than 300 tons of usable “trash” out of landfills not every month, not every week, but more than 300 tons every day!

As amazing as the amount of “trash to treasure” items being exchanged everyday is what these items are. I belong to two different county Freecycle groups and it never ceases to astound me to see what is offered completely free. I have personally received a very nice couch for my nephew’s apartment, a doll house with furniture (it needed some TLC but looked brand new when I was done) for a neighbor girl last Christmas, and a collection of Nora Robert’s books. I have seen televisions, dishware, prom dresses, jewelry, CD players, refrigerators, stoves, clothing of all kind and sizes, and a lot of miscellaneous furniture. I have given a chest deep freezer and all the leftovers (and there was alot) from a moving sale including a gas cooking stove. I can personally attest to how good it felt to help the people who desparately needed a stove. I can still remember how excited the little red-headed girl was who was allowed to pick out as many stuffed animals and clothes she wanted.

As much as Freecycle is a blessing to those receiving needed and/or wanted items, greater is the blessing to give and fill a need. And keeping our landfills from filling up so quickly is just an added bonus. Have some fun and join a Freecycle group in your neighborhood today by clicking on the Freecyle logo above.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2008 9:48 am

    You can find your closest freecycle group at

  2. January 22, 2008 10:57 am

    Hi Cricket! I too have spent lots of time on Freecycle. Nice to know the history.

  3. January 22, 2008 3:48 pm

    Hello, I had never heard of Freecycle before. I will investigate and see where the closest one is to my town. Thank you for the information.

    Love and Hugs,

  4. cricket51 permalink*
    January 22, 2008 7:38 pm

    Thank you Will for giving the web address. Clicking on the Freecycle logo will automatically take you there. Did you forget greatfullivin that you were the one who told me about Freecycle? LOL What a wonderful tip. And Joyce I do encourage you to check this out. It is very interesting to see what gets posted and what people are looking for.

  5. January 24, 2008 4:11 am

    cricket51: different links 🙂

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