Cool local article on Freecycle

January 13, 2007 at 6:10 pm | Posted in getting involved, recycling | 1 Comment

Ya’ll know how into Freecycle I am, so today I was thrilled to find out that there was an article in our local paper on it! I am so happy about it that I thought I would share! Maybe for those few of you who are not on a Freecycle list, will be so inspired you will go join one!Forwarded article from Arkansas Online …

Reduce, reuse, Freecycle

Online communities unite to keep unwanted items out of landfills



There’s an amazing amount of give and take in Freecycle. And that’s a good thing, because it’s how the nonprofit grass-roots organization is supposed to work in Little Rock and elsewhere.Freecycle’s No. 1 mission is for its members to give away items they no longer need or want – the kinds of things that clog up closets, garages or a rented storage unit – to other members, including charities, who can use them. The primary goal is to keep stuff from being chucked into the trash and ultimately the landfills.

Members benefit from the Freecycle community because they receive things as free gifts, and because recycling helps keep down the overall cost of waste collection and disposal. The recycling process counters the buy-it-toss-it genre of consumerism, and it helps build a feeling of community. And it has plenty of participants who’d never consider hugging a tree.

America’s largest trash collector and landfill operator, Waste Management, was Freecycle’s founding corporate sponsor. The company also operates waste-to-energy plants, has converted some 500 vehicles from diesel to natural gas, and redevelops closed landfills into recreational or commercial sites. Freecycle got started in Tucson, Ariz., in mid-2003. The organization is set up to operate on local listserve sites on the Web.

Listserve groups allow members to post messages to all the other members at the same time.

Ardee-ann Eichelmann, who started the Little Rock group, heard about Freecycle from a California friend several months after it was founded. “I got started because I’m a frugal, pennypinching woman,” she says. “My favorite thing is that at one point, Little Rock had more members than New York City.” Little Rock’s group now has more than 2,500 members.

The organization now claims 3 million members in 4,000 local groups worldwide. They keep an estimated 313 tons a day out of the landfills.

Here’s how Freecycle works: Each local group is operated by a volunteer leader or leaders. They’re called moderators.

Membership is free. To find your local group, go to www. at the international headquarters. The site also will tell you more about the organization as a whole. Go to “US Southern,” then to “Arkansas” for a list of its 47 city and county groups. If you click “join” next to your nearest one you’ll be able to email your interest in joining. The local moderator will check that you’re a real person and not a spammer trying to gain access to the list and its addresses. You also can reach Freecycle via <a target=”_blank” href=”; mce_href=””></a&gt;.

Once you’ve joined, you post an item or items you want to give away as an “offer.” The moderator, among other duties, keeps an eye on listings to make sure they’re appropriate (more on that later). Members who want the item respond directly to you. You decide who receives the gift. It could be a charity, the first member to respond – whatever you please.

You then contact the recipient and arrange a pickup place and time. It’s often best to keep the list of members who responded until after the item has been picked up in case the one you chose changes his mind.

The Little Rock group requires an OK from the parents of underage kids before their posts will be carried.

You also may list a “wanted” item. Any member who has it available can contact you, and you and that person set a place and time for pickup.

Once an offered item has gone to its new home, you post an “offer /taken” on the list.

Each local group may have its own dos and don’ts, such as whether or not pets or certain items may be listed. In Little Rock, for example, pets are fine (as long as they’re legal in your town and state), but members are requested not to post a “wanted” for Playstations or their parts because of past problems.

Here are some of the “dos” : The cardinal rule is that what you offer must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. This means, for example, no pornography, alcohol, drugs (legal or otherwise), firearms or other weapons, says the headquarter’s Web site.

Be nice, be polite. Figure that the other person probably wants you to pick up the item no more than three days after you are contacted. It’s good manners to accommodate them as much as possible in terms of scheduling. And once you’ve set the time, be punctual.

Consider your safety. You do not have to allow pickups at your home or give out your telephone number. Instead, you can arrange a public meeting point such as a supermarket parking lot (unless the item is too heavy to cart there). There are any number of “nots” as well: Freecycle is not a place to just go get free stuff for nothing, and you must tell the member who posted an item if you plan to resell it. But the organization’s basic goal is to be a place to give what you have and don’t want, or receive what you need and don’t have – in order to keep things out of landfills.

It is not appropriate to ask for a diamond ring, a fur coat, a red convertible or anything else extravagant. The Little Rock group doesn’t allow requests for new cars, speed boats, houses or bags of cash, either, though offers are fine, moderators joke. In fact, the best idea is to list an “offer” before you post a “wanted,” if for no other reason than to show you’ve joined for the right reasons, they say.

Freecycle is not about bestowing items to the poor, although it’s perfectly fine if you want to give priority to nonprofit organizations, churches and the like. Also, it is not appropriate to include a sob story in a “wanted” or in a response to an offer.

Some local groups suggest you don’t post a “wanted” for the same item more than once a month.

Stick to Freecycle business. No politics, no money changing hands, no barter or trading, no personal attacks or rudeness, no religion or proselytizing, no advertising your next yard sale. And no spam – posts about a commercial product or one blanketed across the country such as game pieces from McDonald’s, links to a Web site offering free cell phones, offers for coupons or equity mortgages, and so on.

No chit-chat. Freecycle isn’t a chat room, and responses must go only to the individual listing an item or a “wanted.” If it’s a question or comment to do with Freecycle as a whole, send it to your local moderator.

No offering yourself, your children or your friends. Freecycle is not a dating service.

Don’t offer items that really do belong in the landfill, like a stuffed bear missing its head.

No posts involving pet breeding.

Freecycle is not a bulletin board for finding dentists, mechanics, advertising your businesses, services or special events.

Moderators will call it to your attention if you inadvertently make a mistake in a listing or response. The third time you err, you may be asked to leave the group.

Not everybody or every item fits with Freecycle’s approach to recycling. You will find helpful links to other organizations and sites on the international and local Web sites.

This story was published Saturday, January 13, 2007


1 Comment »

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  1. I still get goosebumps to this day when I read that speech. Although my favorite Dr. King quote is “Freedom in never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

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