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.
Most of you reading here have heard of FreeCycle.org. It is a nonprofit movement where you can get rid of items you no longer need by giving them away for free or request items that you need. There is another interesting site that is currently in its pre-stage that looks quite promising. It is attempting to address some of the major problems people have with FreeCycle.
A variety of online groups such as Buy Nothing or Freecycle make it easy for you to get items for free from your neighbors who no longer need them. These groups are gaining popularity, with Freecycle giving away more than 24,000 items each day across more than 100 countries.
When I moved into my mother’s house, supplies for multiple cats were cramming available space and I only needed enough for two cats. I used freecycle.org to find people who wanted the extra beds, scratching posts, litter pans, toys, and carriers. I was already a long-time user of the site. I continue to use it for oddball items that occupy a twilight zone between too usable to trash, but too junky or bulky or simply not in demand for resale outlets.
Donovan encourages residents to call ahead to make sure a store can accept your equipment on the day you plan to visit. Reusable items may also be offered for free on an online sharing group, such as freecycle.org or a Facebook group.
Used building materials (in good condition) can be donated for reuse at the following locations. Donovan advises to call prior to delivery to confirm that your materials will be accepted, or to arrange for free pickup. Deconstruction services may be offered, and items might be tax-deductible.
A more sophisticated site, the grassroots and non-profit set up Freecycle (freecycle.org) allows searches based on location – reducing carbon footprints even further by not needing to travel so far. Membership is free and the site is carefully monitored.