Freecycle: Turning One Man’s Trash Into Another Man’s Treasure

All Deron Beal was trying to do in 2003 was give a gently used bed a better home than the city landfill.

He saw a lot of items in excellent condition get thrown out when he worked for a small Tuscon non-profit that provided recycling services to downtown business and transitional employment to Tucsonans in need. Rather than send them straight to the landfill, Deron and his co-workers called and drove around to local nonprofits, trying to find a home for those items.

Figuring there must be an easier way, he sent an email to 30 to 40 friends and fellow nonprofits featuring the free items available for pick-up. That first Freecycle email started an environmental movement, and The Freecycle Network has grown into the largest environmental web community over a decade later. The Freecycle Network is a private, nonprofit organization and now has  9.3 million members in 110 countries.

Freecycle.org is a free, easy to use website with one simple mission – to prevent unnecessary waste from ending up in landfills by allowing its community members to exchange items in good condition for free. The Freecycle Network is made up of 5,255 groups and picks up ten to twenty thousand new members each week.

First, you find a group near you and create an account. Each group has a group message board where members post if they are looking for or giving away a particular item and location. Every morning, members receive an email that showcases the myriad of items available to the group, everything from furniture to crafting supplies, clothes to kitchen appliances. If you see something you’d like, you just send an email to the person giving it away and make pickup arrangements.

Every day, 32,000 items are exchanged through Freecycle, which keeps over 1,000 tons out of our landfills a day. Since that bed in Tucson in 2003, Freecycle members have traded over 50 million items.

Freecycle is not just about taking back your closets, basements, or storage spaces. It’s about community. It’s an about changing the world, one gift at a time. Give your unused items a second life with the Freecycle Network today!