It’s All About Freecyclin’, Baby

Binky didn't think much to the freecycled teapot.

For me, 2011 is shaping up to be the year of trying out new things online. Admittedly, however, I may not be quick off the mark in trying out said new things, which include blogging (it’s been around for years) and really embracing social media outside of Facebook (I decided this year to really give this Twitter lark a go and recently joined LinkedIn, though I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand it) – but I never did profess to be the sharpest tool in the box!

Anyway, this week saw my latest online foray into the world of ‘freecycling’;  a decision made after visiting some friends in York at the weekend who had begun freecyling in their area and had plenty of positive things to say, and show, as a result of the experience. For those of you who are possibly as slow as me and haven’t heard of this concept before, freecycling is passing on, for free, an unwanted item to another person who needs it. The stuff you offer can be anything from beds to greenhouses or mobile phones to coffee grinders. Freecycle is essentially a means of sharing unwanted items so that we can free up space in landfills, cut down on the need to manufacture new goods and help save the earth.

It’s now Thursday and since I joined the Sheffield Freecycle Network on Sunday, I have managed to shift quite a few of my unwanted belongings – two saucepans, two CD towers, a hairdryer, a juicer and a set of old kitchen scales. I’ve also collected a lovely ceramic teapot that was in need of a new home and I’m hoping to hear back from a lady who has a pine double bed on offer, because it would be ideal for my mum’s spare bedroom and will be one less thing for her to tell me she wants every time I see her.

When you post information on Freecycle about an unwanted item you have, you can expect to get quite a few replies from people, requesting the item from you. Good Freecycle etiquette is for someone to politely respond, asking for your item and perhaps listing a reason why they would like the item. It’s then up to you to choose who you would like to offer your item to! The guy who came to collect the first item I advertised, the saucepans, was kind enough to send me an email after he collected them from my house, thanking me once again for passing them on to him. So, in addition to helping to save the planet, it’s always good to meet genuinely nice people.

Of course, there are other freecycling sites around, apart from the Freecycle Network, but I don’t think I can tackle more than one at once, so I’ll be sticking to Freecycle for now…

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