PEOPLE are giving stuff away for free as part of a movement that has bloomed in the Hunter.
Groups have sprung up in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton and Muswellbrook linking with freecycle.org
They are part of the Freecycle Network, which began in 2003 in Arizona in the US.
It has spread to 85 countries, with thousands of groups and millions of members.
Nicole Chin, of Morisset Park, started the Lake Macquarie group when she moved from Sydney.
‘‘I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get rid of, but it was too good to go into a skip bin,’’ Ms Chin said.
Ms Chin said the site was free to join. Items were given away for free and could not be bought or sold.
Websites such as freecycle.org and friendswiththings.com.au also help connect people who want to give items away with people who really want them.
As usual at G, any unwanted items that still worked were gifted to friends, or given away on Freecycle. Then, I used Planet Ark’s helpful and easy to use Recycling Near You website, where you can search by product or postcode for recycling facilities near you. Here’s our list of our random items, and how we recycled them:
1. Start chucking out unwanted stuff early
If you don’t start packing until the day before you move, you’ll end up panicking and just throwing everything into boxes without consideration. As soon as you know a move is on the cards, start the spring cleaning process. It’s much easier to throw stuff away than shift it, but if you’re trying to get rid of a lot of stuff, you’ll want time — whether that’s to sell it, freecycle it, give it away, or (in the worst case scenario) dump it.
Websites such as Gumtree.com and Freecycle.org are attracting a growing number of environmentally conscious shoppers.
Anne Seccombe, of Belrose, started using Freecycle three years ago. The website asks members to ”gift” their items rather than toss them in the bin.
Now, stashers can get their fix around the clock thanks to online freebie communities such as Freecycle, which puts you a click away from an old sofa, a baby’s high chair or a pile of dirt.
This is but one of many thousands of new communities that have sprung from a simple idea and a location on the web.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or so Melbourne mother of two Michelle Power reasoned a couple of years ago, as her husband dumped unwanted stuff into a skip during their home renovation. “There really needs to be a forum where we can give away these goods, instead of throwing them into landfill or waiting until hard rubbish collection,” she thought. Her subsequent research led to the recent launch of ziilch.com.au, a website dedicated to giving away stuff to be re-used by someone else. More than 300 items were listed on the website during its first four weeks, including an ironing board, a wedding dress, even a car (albeit with a seized engine). Turns out Power wasn’t the only one eager to get rid of superfluous stuff, without binning it forever.
While there’s long been a slew of organisations geared towards swapping, selling and bartering unwanted goods, now the virtual and local communities are embracing a more feel-good, sustainable and no-strings approach to decluttering. It doesn’t involve dumping pre-loved goods on the nature strip or in a charity bin, either.
If you don’t want to send your pre-used or pre-loved items straight to landfill, why not consider re-using or recycling?
With Forbes Shire Council’s Bulky Waste Clean-up just around the corner, now is the time to sort through unwanted items and determine the most appropriate ‘next step’ in their life.
Local environment enthusiast Nina Crawford suggests everyone should look up the website Free Cycle and see if someone is looking for an item they have.
The site works as a trading system and all items listed on the site are free.
“See if there is someone else that might like it,” Ms Crawford said of unwanted items.
Ms Crawford said items listed on the site do not need to be brand new but emphasised it is important people provide accurate descriptions of the items.
It doesn’t matter if it is a chair with only three legs, just ensure this is the description given, Ms Crawford said.
“Rather than shove it in the tip, it could be sent round again for other people to enjoy.
“Its all part of reduce, reuse, recycle,” she said.
Ms Crawford said people are often surprised what can be traded on the site.
To access Free Cycle visit www.freecycle.org
For that reason alone collaborative consumption makes as much environmental as financial sense. Instead of throwing out a perfectly good lounge that would be perfect for someone you don’t even know, a website like Freecycle.com brings you together. But don’t make the mistake of thinking Botsman wants to turn the world into a commune – in What’s Mine Is Yours she writes ‘the people participating in collaborative consumption aren’t Pollyannaish do-gooders and still very much believe in the principles of capitalist markets and self interest’.
Free Cycle[http://www.freecycle.org is a movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.