Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Recycle, Renew, Reuse

While I am not a green, nor an environmentalist, and I don't celebrate earth day, I do like to recycle. I like to find new uses for old things or new owners for old things.

You see the thing is that I really don't like waste. I'm not sure why, maybe because my house burned down when I was 12. But for whatever reason, recycling has always appealed to me. Which is probably why I started using ebay, and craigslist. Recently I discovered FreeCycling or FreeSharing and surprisingly in about 10 days I have cleared out about 15 boxes of stuff some of which I would have eventually thrown away or recycled. Recycling is good but reusing seems to me to be better.

Here are a few sites that can get you started:
I am registered with 15 groups in my general area and I have found that there are some common rules and expectations.

Most use a variation on the same format for the subject line either Offer, Received, Taken or Wanted depending on the situation. Offer if you are gifting something, Taken if something you have gifted has been picked up\taken. Wanted if you are requesting something and Received if you have received what you requested. It is pretty simple and straightforward, for example if I had a dining table to give away I would put the following in my subject line - OFFER: Dining Table, 75056. Keep in mind that some groups want the city listed while others want the zip code instead.

Some groups do not allow "First come gets it", in other words, the giver is required to pick someone to give it to.

None of the groups allow you to sell things, and this is not a charity so you are expected to give to the rich and poor alike. The idea is to keep things out of the landfill, so everyone needs to be encouraged to participate.

Be polite - if you say you are going to pick something up, do so, and if you can't pick it up contact the giver to let them know. Failing to pick something up or at least contacting the giver is a sure fire way to burn someone out on this process.

So now I am developing a process of sorts when getting rid of things:
  1. eBay - Can I sell it on eBay? Do I want to mess with shipping and eBay fees?
  2. craigslist - Can I sell it on Craigslist?
  3. garage sell - Can I sell it in a garage sale? Do I want to mess with a garage sale?
  4. FreeSharing - Does anyone on my various reuse group lists want or need it?
  5. Give to charity - Is it likely to be worth anything to anyone? We are lucky enough to have local community charity that uses a thrift store to generate revenue. So it is not uncommon for us to take a truck load of things there since we know the money generated will go to good causes.
  6. Recycle - Can it be recycled?

No comments: