I’m a big fan of Freecycle and it’s UK-run counterpart Freegle. Freecycle, an American organisation, was set up in 2003 by one man who thought it would be a cool idea to see if anyone wanted his old stuff, in exchange for other people’s stuff. It worked. Now, Freecycle, which is run through a Yahoo! groups message board system, has thousands of local groups all over the world, comprising millions of members. The aim is simple: advertise your unwanted belongings to save them from going to landfill. There are local variations of the rules, but the common theme among them is that you must offer your goods for free – no strings attached.
Some Freecycle groups in the UK had a barney with the US organisers and decided to split from them in 2006, renaming themselves Freegle. I’m not really sure what the beef was – they look pretty similar to me! – but the aims are the same: to recycle unwanted possessions, for free.
As the boy Tom and I are soon to be moving in together, we’ve become ever so slightly obsessed with Freecycling. The house in Bidford-on-Avon we’re moving to is completely unfurnished and because we’re both coming from fully-furnished rented accommodation, we haven’t got much to fill a two bedroom house (not unless you include my clothes, anyway…)! Momma and Poppa Benj have kindly offered to buy us a mattress, so we won’t be sleeping on the floor, and Mummy Martin has kindly donated her old sofa to our cause, but apart from that and a bookcase that I bought from Ikea a few years ago, we have nothing.
We’re not moving for 3 weeks yet, but we’ve already started the Great Freecycle Hunt. So far we’ve managed to bag ourselves a TV unit, microwave, small chest of drawers and an office chair (very important as I will be working from home) – it’s a start! We could still do with a fridge/freezer, washing machine, desk, wardrobes, more drawers and other miscellaneous knick-knacks, but there’s plenty of time yet, and Ikea is just down the road if we need it!
Don’t worry, I’m not just taking from Freecycle – I’ll be sure to give things back. I know that there are vast amounts of trash under my bed and in my cupboards, so when I start packing up my London flat I’ll re-Freecycle them and hope that they will become another man’s (or woman’s) treasure.