URL = http://www.freecycle.org
"popular with a new breed of tech-savvy greens who are putting their unwanted goods up for bid on the Web, instead of throwing them in the trash.What makes Freecycle unique, though, is that everything up for grabs on the site is free".Further,"the site has 1.6 million members from more than over 50 countries"." (from smartmobs)
Self-description of the project:
"The Freecycle Network is a global grassroots and entirely non-profit affiliation of people who are exchanging goods for free in their towns and cities. It is the equivalent of the LETS scheme, but for goods.
The Freecycle Network was started in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown and help save desert landscape from being taken over by landfills. The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to 'recycle' unwanted items. After all, one person's rubbish can truly be another's treasure!
Local groups are moderated by volunteers and communicate their offers and wants through electronic mailing lists. When a person finds something that they no longer want they mail the list offering it to other members of the local group. Anybody who wants it can then get in touch and, depending on the number of replies, may be the proud owner of that something. Similarly, if there is something that is needed, then a request can be made to the group for that item. In this way items can be given a new lease of life and thus stay clear of landfill."
From a New York Times Magazine profile of the Unconsumption movement at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/magazine/07wwln_consumed.t.html?
"A few years ago, a self-described tree-hugger in Tucson named Deron Beal was working for a nonprofit that focused on recycling as a way to minimize what was going into local landfills. While plenty of people were willing, even eager, to get rid of things they no longer wanted but that weren’t really trash, finding people who wanted those things was a challenge. Beal set up a Yahoo Groups mailing list, hoping to create a giveaway marketplace where people could list usable items and others could lay claim to them and then come pick them up. The mailing list became the basis for Freecycle, a Web-enabled network of about 3,900 such e-mail groups, each dedicated to a local community and managed by a volunteer moderator, and claiming 2.9 million participants in more than 70 countries. One of the largest Freecycle groups, with 25,000 members, is for New York City.
Save-the-earth types make up only a fraction of Freecycle users. Like any successful marketplace, this one works because it links people with widely disparate motivations. Some participants want to declutter. Some see it as akin to a charity. Some just don’t want to lug items to the dump. And of course, many people are looking for free stuff. As Freecycle has become a bigger and bigger de facto brand — Beal prefers “movement” — its sheer scale no doubt attracts people who aren’t tree-huggers or “simple living” fanatics but just have some item they’d like to unconsume and in the process see what all the fuss is about.
Whatever attracts people to join, part of what keeps them involved, Beal says, is something they probably didn’t expect: the moment when someone thanks you backward and forward for giving him something you planned to throw away. “There’s a sort of paradigm shift in your brain: ‘Wow, that feels really good,’ ” Beal says. “That’s what I think is fueling this absurd amount of growth we’ve had.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/magazine/07wwln_consumed.t.html?)
Freecycle is listed in our directory entry on Peer to Peer Exchanges