Taking time out from a beautiful Saturday afternoon to get everybody thinking about an exciting little tool I found about about a few months ago called freecycle.com. The amount of STUFF that gets hauled to our landfills is absolutely astounding and the thing that has always amazed me even more than the overall amount of trash I see piled up for pick up is the percentage of it that is perfectly GOOD STUFF that folks are just tossing because they don't want it anymore! We haul it to the curb with the rest of the garbage and, like the rest of the garbage, it gets hauled off to the dump. Perfectly good toys never to fall into the hands of another adoring child. Discarded chairs, lamps and whatnot that would bless a hurting family. Cast off plants that, with a bit of tlc would perk right back up and beautiful our world.
The EASY thing to do is to toss it, but here's a worthy alternative to think about:
Through freecycle.com, members (membership is free and just requires you to sign up with some very basic information) post messages which are basically short and sweet classified ads. The messages get emailed out to members and then folks can respond, if interested, directly to the sender via email. You can either post messages for items you have that you'd like to GIVE AWAY or, a couple of times per month, you may post a 'Wanted' ad for an item that you are in need of. It's very VERY simple to do. By asking posters to keep listing really short (sticking to an accurage description of the item and not getting into the 'story' revolving around why you are getting rid of or in need of that particular item) it makes it super quick and easy.
In the past, I've taken things to the curb with a big "FREE" sign (also something really fun for me to do! I love the feeling of providing an opportunity for somebody to stumble upon an item they might need~!). In the past couple of months, though, I've given away clothing that our children have outgrown, books, cds, dvds, kitchen items and various other sundry items.
On the flipside, I've received a ton of things that have been a blessing for our family:
~a really cool lounge chair for our livingroom...looks like it was straight out of a trendy coffeehouse
~craft paint for my art camp...along with other craft-related supplies
~even packaged food items and much more
I don't know why some people feel 'weird' about taking used goods. Hopefully all will see the value to our planet and to our fellow man in pooling together our resources and trying to help eachother out while keeping the contributions to our landfill to a minimum. When you've got a minute, do a search for your closest 'freecycle' organization and look into getting signed up. I know there are other similar sort of trading websites out there but this is as far as I've gotten in the recycling adventure so far.