As the name suggests, everything advertised on Freecycle must be free – whether it’s an old sofa, unwanted CDs, or even a few hours’ help in the garden. Anyone interested simply replies by e-mail: deal done.
The site is about recycling goods but not charging for them or being charged to take them to the local rubbish tip.
If you’ve ever looked at an item around your home or work and thought to yourself ‘that thing is taking up valuable space but it’s too good to throw out. I wish someone who would appreciate it would come and take it away’, you can list it in the classifieds ad section of this site.
It is just one of a number of websites that could play a valuable part in reducing the rubbish sent to landfill sites by encouraging one of the most efficient forms of recycling – giving things to people who want them. ‘One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.’
Freecycle embodies some of that charitable internet spirit of old, asking that before members accept a freebie, they put something up for offer. And it’s by no means all junk. There are nearly-new toys, furniture, electrical goods, even bikes and cars.
That such high-quality goods are on offer does not surprise Friends of the Earth campaigner Georgina Bloomfield. She says it reflects the fact people are buying more than ever, but don’t want to simply throw things away when they can afford to replace them.
“People want to feel a bit better about consuming, and so they’re happy to give things away,” she says. “They also imagine the problem of selling it is not really worth their while.”
The ultimate aim is to reduce what’s going into landfill sites. But for those people who can’t afford to buy new things, there’s a real benefit.
Freecycle is a cross between an internet auction house and a global chain of charity shops, and its chief aim is to cut waste and help the environment. For information visit www.freecycle.org.au