Recycling is so yesterday, today lets start Freecycling!

Recycling is great, but in reality it’s not ideal. Many of the products that we consume (plastic bags, cardboard, paper, plastic jugs, etc.) are not able to be recycled in the sense that we think that they can.

You may have heard this before, but when you recycle that 16 once pop bottle it does not become a new 16 once pop bottle. Instead it’s downcycled into something else (a park bench perhaps). The quality is poorer and the integrity of the plastic has been compromised, so new materials and chemicals are added to the mix to subsidize the new plastic material.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t recycle these “consumables.” In fact, most items that are able to be recycled at this time still make their way to the landfill.  So please, recycle away!

But what about all that other stuff we have?  You know, clothing, electronics, furniture, books, out-dated media, etc.  What should we do with that stuff???  Yard sales are a good option (in summer).  You could also list items on Ebay or Craigslist.  And donating to thrift stores and charities are curtainly a good option too.  But there is something else you could do with that stuff and it’s called Freecycling.

What is Freecycling?

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,985 groups with 8,777,806 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit 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.  Whether you’re looking to discard or acquire and item, you can turn to FREECYCLE™  to do so.  All items are 100% free.

I first heard about this great resource this summer from the owner of Green Smart Gifts where I have some of my recycled-based work on consignment.

Here’s how Freecycling works:

First, go visit the The Freecycle Network™ site to find a Freecycle™ group in your local community and sign up to become a member (it’s free!).

After you become a member, you will have access to see listings for things that people are requesting and offering.  You will be able to make your own listings as well.  For instance, you might see a listing that says, “Wanted; size 8 girls clothing, in Lakewood.”  So, if you happen to have some size 8 girls clothing that you don’t need, you can let that person know, via email.

Now lets say you’re doing some spring cleaning and discovered that you have a bunch of old magazines that you weren’t going to look at again.  You would make a listing that would say something like, “Offer; assorted travel magazines, in Lakewood.”  When someone from the group wants what you have listed they will contact you via email.

Once the two parties have contacted each other via email they will arrange a date and time to pick up the items.  Usually the person with the item will leave said item in a box or plastic bag on their porch for the other person to pick up between designated hours.

Now tell everyone you know about Freecycle™ because the more people who participate and the larger the community grows, the better it will become!

Of course there is a bit of etiquette involved.  For instance, no shows (people who say they will pick up at a curtain time then don’t show up) can be kicked out of the group, as well as people who SPAM.  Also, and this almost goes without saying, you need to be very safe and careful about who you give your address or phone number to.

But really, it’s a great way to circulate unwanted but still usable items and materials in your community.

Freecycling is the perfect source for finding the kinds of materials I work with.  I recently requested old greeting cards for making my origami gift boxes and got three responses!  I also saw an offer for some old cassette and VHS tapes that I’m really excited about working with.  I’d like to make the plastic cassette tape casings into mini note books and crochet the tape itself into different things.

I thought the whole idea of crocheting a butterfly out of tape would be an ironic and interesting idea.  You know, because of the whole transformative nature of the process.

I hope that you have found this post about Freecycle™ informative and that you will consider using it as a resource in the near future.

Thank you for stopping by.  Happy Freecycling!

This post was just added to a link party at Skip to my Lou and Upcycled Awesome over on The T-Shirt Diaries. Check out some more awesomely upcycled projects here.



Filed under Just For Fun

11 responses to “Freecycle™

  1. Nancy

    I certainly do like the concept! Certainly!!….m

  2. You’re the only person I’ve ever seen that can take “junk” and make it awesome. Seriously, I’ve seen crafts that used cassette tape thread, but they all still looked like junk. Your butterfly is truly amazing and beautiful!

    If you make those notebooks from the casings, please share those, too. I’d love to see how they turn out.

  3. Wow this is really cool!

  4. Lisa

    Love the idea and you set up this post nicely with little teases about what your creation was but not revealing until the end.
    I was wondering if you left the cassette attached to the butterfly as shown or if you removed it. I think it looks great with the cassette to connect it to its origins, and the cassette is almost like its cocoon it has shed to reveal its true identity. Will you create more of these?

    • Thank you Lisa! I did leave the cassette tape attached in fact. I want to frame the butterfly and cassette tape together, but I haven’t found the perfect background fabric or board yet. I do want to create more of these, either with different butterfly patterns or a different imagery altogether.

  5. I love freecycle, but I always feel like a leech when I come to collect my “free” prize. That’s one thing I dislike about it, there are often MANY replies to the free offer, but no way to determine the greatest need. To overcome that feeling, I like to bring a small thank-you gift for the donor. Then the whole process feels much better for everyone.

    • I see your point, and I have never thought to bring a thank you gift for the donor, which is a great idea. I was under the impression that most people who offer things up on Freecycle do it because they really just want the items out of their house and feel better passing them along to someone else rather than it going to the dump. The items that I have asked for on freecycle are generally things that would normally go in the trash or conventional recycling; puzzles with missing pieces, empty cereal boxes, bottle caps, and used greeting cards (although one person gave me a bunch of unused greeting cards, which I was not expecting.) It’s important not to abuse the system for sure, but there is nothing wrong with asking for things that you could use that you think others may have lying around and not need or even want. As the person offering an item, I think there can be a lot of satisfaction knowing that something that was just taking up space in your home is being used and loved.

  6. excellent.
    will feature you on the blog.

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