That bike you no longer ride or trunk full of baby clothes would be welcomed by folks who can’t afford such things. See if there’s a local chapter of The Freecycle Network, or put unwanted items up for grabs on the “free” section of Craigslist.
For safety’s sake, leave the stuff on the porch or in your driveway for someone to pick up. Or, offer to meet the new owners in a public place for a drop-off.
In its basic form, the sharing economy is focused on local swap, rental and gifting of assets such as space, tools, and other goods. Citizens advertise their need for an item or the items they have to spare, and rather than buying new which would create more waste, they share the items for some specified period of time. Such activities have been leveraging the internet since it was established, and today specialized platforms like Freecycle or Facebook Neighborhoods make it easier than ever. And governments stand poised to supercharge this process through facilitation and incentivization programs that make it easier and more advantageous to share.
Our popular Meet the client series reveals the inside story on the organisations we support with legal services. This time, we caught up with Deron Beal, Founder and Executive Director of The Freecycle Network. He shares his inspirational story of building the largest nonprofit international gifting community and keeping over a thousand tons out of landfills and incinerators each day.
Freecycle.org is a great resource started by people interested in keeping stuff out of landfills. There are more than 5,000 groups (usually community-based) around the world. Chances are there are one or more groups near you.
I belong to the one for my town as well as two nearby communities. This gives me more opportunities to get things for free and give stuff away. As a mom of two young kids, it’s been an invaluable way to get rid of outgrown toys.
Before you jump into the world of Freecycle, though, brush up on these rules of Freecycle etiquette.
The Freecycle website works a bit like any online auction, except no money changes hands. People gift unwanted items — anything from furniture to electronics, clothes, plants and even musical instruments — to neighbors in the same community. The winning bidder is usually the person who was the fastest to respond or had the best reason for wanting it. Unlike sites such as eBay, groups are formed locally, so most items are exchanged within a few kilometers of each other.
“From neighborhood thrift shops to vintage boutiques, almost every shop selling pre-loved items has baking and serving ware,” she said. “They can also be plentiful at flea markets and yard sales. Additionally, you can look at online marketplaces, Craigslist, other classifieds and ‘free stuff’ sites like freecycle.org. Lastly, hold on to baking ware you plan to replace — and you’ll be all set for your next potluck.”
Who would have thought it would be easy to find a home, other than a C&D landfill, for a few hundred pounds of concrete chunks dug out of a beat-up driveway? But a single post on a website launched in Tucson, Ariz. drew plenty of takers: a school making a garden patio; a builder needing foundation material for a straw bale home; and a guy crafting an outdoor bench.
Akin to an online classified ads outlet, that website, Freecycle.org, has exploded in growth since its beginning, when Founder and Executive Director Deron Beal set up a Yahoo group so his friends and a few nonprofits could link to the new site to give and receive all kinds of stuff at no cost.
Groups that promote gift-giving and exchanging goods and services for free have been around for some time. The Freecycle Network was founded in 2003 by Deron Beal to recycle items and Buy Nothing was started by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller in 2013 as a social experiment on a local gift economy and to cut down on plastic use.