Achieve Zero Waste & Save Money With Freecycling

Freecycling is a pretty simple concept; consumers band together to pass on surplus goods when they no longer need them, using the internet to maintain an efficient network of communication and to take sustainability beyond the recycling bin. It’s a movement that’s definitely worth getting involved with, as it’s not only environmentally friendly but also saves you money on both ends. Individuals and businesses can benefit both from getting free goods, and from having someone pick up bulky goods that would have otherwise been difficult or expensive to dispose of.

So where can you start making connections with this web of helpful givers and takers? We’ll look at the best starting points in today’s post.

The Freecycle Network

The Freecycle Network has emerged as a national focal point for organizing the transfer of free stuff. Participants form local groups centered on their city or county which can be accessed through the web site. Some groups also opt to maintain their own email mailing list and/or to also communicate through a Facebook group. This allows members to make matches, communicate directly and arrange specific times to pick stuff up rather than having to simply place something out on a curb and hope someone comes by in response to a general posting. With over nine million members and growing, the odds of making the connection you are looking for are pretty good!

The Freegan Movement

Freegans share a lot of overlap with freecyclers, but the freegan movement pushes even more toward the extremes in terms of living a zero waste lifestyle. The website is a good central gathering point; they don’t organize groups in the same way that The Freecycle Network does, but they do maintain links to individual localized message boards, mailing lists and Facebook groups.

Free Stores

The “free store” is a concept that originated with the hippie movement of the 1960s, but can still be found today in select areas. They’re effectively a free thrift store, consisting of a retail storefront where everyone is welcome to drop stuff off and to take whatever they might find useful. Unfortunately, there aren’t any really good national directories of free stores on the web; you’ll have to ask around in your local community. Members of The Freecycle Network will very likely know of any that are available in your county.

Though Craigslist postings are certainly a viable method of both giving and receiving, the established communities we’ve listed here really help to cut down on the possibility of running into flakes and scammers.