Freecycle is another of those ideas that has leapt across the Atlantic and taken root over here – but, unlike, most it is extremely good for the environment.
The basic premise is simple: if you have something that you would otherwise throw into the tip – don’t; instead, offer it to someone else for free. What’s more, the organisation is set up so that the obligation is on the receiver to pick it up from you. This all means that the stuff you’d otherwise throw away and send to landfill gets used by someone who actually wants it.
The benefit of Freecycle is that items that still have useful life left in them are kept out of landfill and we don’t pollute the ground with anything more than is absolutely necessary. And that’s not the only benefit – we also avoid all of the energy costs involved in making yet another item like the one thrown away – the mining, the fuel and transport costs, the manufacture, retail, storage and distribution costs.
Just like everything else nowadays this is all run from a website (see details below). One tip: when you join, make sure you set your receiving email options to “daily digest”. This option accumulates 25 emails into one large one – we have got 9,400 members and there can be a lot of stuff offered and requested!
In Birmingham we estimate we save a ton a day from landfill, and we want to do more; we would love to get the Council supporting us (since we save them £150 in landfill tax for every ton we keep out of the ground) and we would also love to change their default approach to bulk waste from “we’ll pick it up once a quarter” to “why aren’t you freecycling that?” Also, we need to pester them to put up Freecycle banners and posters at all of the Birmingham tips so that visits to the tip become less frequent.
If you want to do more than just join the Birmingham Freecycle volunteer group we have got a band of volunteers who go out to shows and put talks on where needed.
Main global Freecycle site:
Birmingham Freecycle site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/birmingham_freecycle/