Culture, Reviews, Society, Sustainability

The Freecycle Network

A few months ago I came across an organization called Freecycle that aims to reduce waste and environmental impact by connecting people who are looking to get rid of items (like old book shelves, toys, etc) with people who might be interested in obtaining them. As someone who is interested in sustainability (it matters) and saving money (who doesn’t appreciate that), I think the idea behind this is incredible. I have to say, though, that I’ve been unimpressed but I want to start with what I enjoy about the Freecycle network.

I decided to go down the list of most recent emails from my local group and list off what people have been offering:

-work gloves

-grout tiles

-file cabinet

-cat food & litter

-gas dryer


I love that, rather than simply throwing out these items, people are willing to hang on to them for a few extra days in order to reduce their impact on the world around them. That’s awesome…Really awesome.

What I don’t like, though, is the constant (and I mean almost constant) amount of emails I get from people who are flat-out asking for items (usually in list form). That really strikes a nerve with me. I think it’s great if someone is looking to get rid of something that you happen to have a need for, but at what point does Freecycle become a stomping ground for beggars?

Here’s the list of items that people have been asking for lately:

-Hunger Games books

-computer and keyboard

-queen size bed with mattress and box spring with bedding

-children’s clothes from 0-3T

-moving boxes

One of the only items I can understand (and get behind) is asking for moving boxes. That’s legit and it’s a great way to try to find boxes when you’re prepping for a move. The rest of it, however, is ridiculous. As great as this network is, I feel that it’s lost its purpose and that makes me sad. On one hand, I want to say it’s okay to put feelers out there to see if something you happen to need is out there but on the other hand there’s something about the way people are asking in our particular group that I find to be really bothersome. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

At the end of the day, I’ll continue to be part of the group. We’re in the process of finishing our basement and so I’ll be listing some items in the very near future and, you never know, I may see something that someone has to offer that is right up my alley one day. For now, I’ll take the good and leave the rest…