What's Freecycle Really About?

Wed, 25 May 2005, 19:07

I am a member of both the Toronto and Scarborough Freecycle mailing lists. This is a wonderful concept and it works well if you are truly a giving person and don't expect anything in return. But, if you get caught up in the wanting part of the movement, or expect something in return for giving, then you may be sadly disappointed.

There are several themes going on that I find disturbing as we try to be better environmentalists. A lot of our waste could be avoided if we think differently. We really are an indulgent and throw away society. So many of the "wanted" postings on the mailing list are for luxuries that are deemed "must have", "need now", and "desperately seeking".

First, there are the many sob stories for "must have" items that in my day (and I'm not that old) we could live without, or held off until we had the money. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the single mom who needed a second computer for her son (she can't afford one) so he can play his "tons and tons" of video games. Where he got the video games are another story. Another poster had a desperate need for a DVD player for a child's room. Yet another had to have a dishwasher for a family of six. In my day (not that long ago I reiterate), we had four dishwashers in our home: my father, mother, sister and me. We also went without if something was broken. Go to the laundromat or your relatives to wash your clothes. Or God forbid, read a book while your TV gets fixed.

The second category of people are the "impatients". These are the people who couldn't be bothered or don't have the time to fix their items. Better to Freecycle their DVD or telephone than fix it. This is beyond silly.

The third category of people are the clueless that truly have missed the concept of Freecycle. Remember, the purpose of Freecycle is to avoid placing items in landfill through reuse. It is ridiculous to try to insult someone by complaining they are giving away "garbage". Well isn't that entirely the point?

Finally, there are the collectors who want even more stuff from Freecycle for their personal collection, and then ask for a display case to house their stuff!

Is this what freecycling is all about? Sadly I believe the message is getting warped.


Some background about Freecycle from their website:

"The Freecycle Network" is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is run by a local volunteer moderator. The Freecycle Network was started in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown and help save desert landscape from being taken over by landfills. The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to "recycle" unwanted items. One person's trash can truly be another's treasure! Number of Freecycle Communities: 2,738 Number of Freecycle Members: 1,294,440."

path: /Toronto | permanent link to this entry

the city