Posted by: Anna Webb | June 26, 2009

Recycle through Freecycle™


In this disposable world in which we live, we find ourselves inundated at times with “stuff”. Electronic, automotive, household, construction and clothing items, for example, take a lot of energy to manage. And, when we decide to upgrade, remodel or simply clean the house or garage we discover lots of extra “stuff”.

One option is to have a yard sale. This requires planning, organizing and advertising not to mention a lot of work prior to and the day of the sale. It can, however, be a fun way of at least making a bit of money back on these items. Online sale venues such as EBay™ or Craigslist™ is another option to make money back on these items but also requires organizing, uploading, and a bit of time.

Another practical venue that has grown in popularity, not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well, is Freecycle™. Freecycle™ began as a Yahoo!™ group and was created to keep these items out of the local landfill. There are some rules and regs associated with Freecycle™ in that the item has to be given freely with no strings attached and there are no trades allowed. In addition, services are not allowed to be posted. But when you’ve exhausted your avenues for trying to make money from these items, rather than load up the trunk and pitch them in the local dump or bag them up for the weekly trash pick-up, post them on Freecycle™ instead and give the item to someone who can use it! The main idea is to keep it out of the landfill.

Here in Hawaii our “real estate” is limited, therefore, our landfills are also limited. The landfill here on the Big Island is estimated to reach its limit within the next couple of years. Then what? Will we send barges of trash out into the ocean looking for another state or country to take it off our hands? That is not a likely solution. In my opinion, this fact alone makes it much more imperative to be cognizant of what we are tossing into our trash. Trash is one thing; a sack of nails, a pair of boots or an old day planner is another. They’ll still be sitting in the landfill years from now!

You’ll be surprised to discover the happiness that can come from one man’s trash given away to another who needs it. We may perceive our computer printer to be an antiquated piece of junk as we gladly install a new one, but someone without one would be glad to take it off our hands!

Freecycle Yahoo!™ groups have sprung up all over and you are likely to find one in your immediate city or town. All you have to do is go to the link listed below and go to the “Find a Yahoo Group” box and enter Freecycle™ and location or the nearest town. It’s easy to join and you will enjoy posting your items knowing you will be passing on your favorite, however wornout, drill or toaster to someone who can use it!

In addition, you can post for something you want. Have you recently moved into a new apartment and need some artwork or throw rugs? Post it on Freecycle™ and see who responds. Do you need some firewood for an upcoming bonfire? Post it on Freecycle™ and you’ll discover that a person in your town has just cut down two dead trees in his yard.

It’s an ingenious idea that has grown exponentially. Remember it the next time you and your husband or wife are discussing how you wish you had the money get your kids a swing set for the backyard. Just post a WANTED: Swing set – Your Town on Freecycle™ and you may be surprised when someone replies that their kids have outgrown theirs and it is just sitting in their backyard waiting for you to pick it up! It might even be a neighbor of yours just around the block and you could discover new friends in the process.

Yahoo!™ Groups

Freecycle™ on the Big Island


  1. Mahalo, Anna….

    Freecycle Big Island was founded 5/27/04 and we count 2,296 members as of this morning with many applicants showing up every day… We keep literally TONS of still usable “stuff” out of the landfills.

    The membership fluctuates due to the constant flow of new members and members who unsub and are leaving the island for other shores…

  2. My experience with Freecycle Big Island has been nothing but positive. The listserv is moderated quite well by Sonia who does a stand up job and replies to queries punctually. I’d like to offer my thanks to her and the other moderators for keeping the group organized and positive. Moderators like these don’t recieve nearly enough priase for the work they do.


  3. Thanks for the feedback, Mike. Sonia is awesome and has done the Big Island a great service by starting Freecycle here as she writes in her comment above. She brought me and Wes on board 6 months or so ago as co-moderators to assist her as the group has ballooned in numbers. It continues to grow daily and I felt it important to write about on my blog.
    Not only will it continue keeping things out of the landfill, but in these economic times, it will continue to help those in need.
    Thanks for using Freecycle Big Island!

  4. Mahalo Mike and Anna…I love Freecycle and feel we are doing a very important job, especially as Anna points out above, our ‘real estate’ is very limited….
    Mahalo for being a part of Freecycle!


%d bloggers like this: