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Recycle and Declutter with FreeCycle

Living a Better Life (featured column)
by Michelle Jones

This article was originally posted in 2004, when we were living in North Carolina. Just think of all the items we've saved from the trash since then, from state to state!

“One person's trash can truly be another's treasure!” - FreeCycle.org

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I am so excited about this new recycling group I recently joined I could hardly wait for our next issue to come out so that I could tell all of our readers about it. I first heard about this wonderful non-profit organization on our local news program and immediately went online to learn more about the group and sign up.

I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting our local FreeCycle group manager and she reported that the non-profit group has been featured in Woman’s Day magazine as well as many other media, and that everyone is excited about the free recycling program.

Nothing at FreeCycle is for sale; everything is OFFERED and TAKEN, for FREE!

Members list items they no longer need and wait to find other members who are willing to give those items a new home. Some items are taken within minutes of the ‘OFFER’ message being posted, other items may take a few days.

The philosophy of recycling your unwanted items to individuals in your local area who need them (instead of holding another garage sale or dumping bags of miscellaneous stuff off at a drop box), is just what my husband and I have been trying to do for over 10 years. It’s really a brilliant program – which is probably why new small groups are forming every week.

At the time of this writing the FreeCycle website counter said there were 1,300 cities freecycling (25 countries around the globe), with 425,350 members. If there isn’t a group close to your city you can apply to start a new one and have it announced in nearby area groups, so those located closer to you will be able to join quickly.

After participating in our local FreeCycle group for just a few weeks I anticipate that our garage (which is still filled with dozens of moving boxes from our job transfer last year), could be completely cleared out in just a few months. Not to mention the items I might also receive that in turn will save our family money as well.

Here's how the program works. It couldn’t be simpler. Go to FreeCycle.org and select your country, then select your state and look for your town, or at least one within 25 miles of your home or office. When you click on your selected town the link will take you to the Message Group that is set up for your local FreeCycle group.

Also, as a way to limit daily e-mails the only FreeCycle messages that are allowed are for… OFFER, WANTED (to be used sparingly), TAKEN or FOUND. They also request that you remove your business email signature if you have one, and will reject any spam so we don’t have to worry about that!

If you have any additional questions you can contact your local group owner, they can be quite helpful.

I’d also like to share a few important tips:

1. Whenever you offer to give an item away, don’t post your phone number or address in your email.

2. The best thing to do whenever donating an item (or picking up an item) is to meet the FreeCycle member at a public place, either somewhere in the middle or NEAR one of your homes if it is convenient.

3. If the item you’re donating is too large to deliver and the FreeCycle member must come to your home, arrange to have someone there with you. Everyone I’ve met so far has been very nice, but it’s better to stay safe.

4. Keep in mind that donated items may come in any condition; clean, dirty, working or not working. Members in our FreeCycle group are very good about describing items that are old or needing repair, and the great news is there’s usually someone out there who can still use it. Picked up items may need to be washed, painted or repaired. Remember, they are FREE!

5. Non-profit groups are encouraged to participate; posting any needs they may have.

I hope your experience with FreeCycle will be just as positive as ours has been.

Give your local group a try and tell them we said hello! :o)

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” - Acts 20:35 (NIV)

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Get more recycling tips...

Read my update on Freecycle ...

Copyright © 2004 by Michelle Jones. All rights reserved.

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