- Melbourne & Australia
is an email list where like-minded folk let each other know about something that
they are giving away. It is a global phenomenon with over 1 million members.
Freecycle group is the second largest outside of North America (only London
At the bottom of the page is a list
of all the Australian Freecycles
Freecycle Network is open to all who want to "recycle" that special
something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano
or an old door, feel free to post it. Or maybe you're looking to acquire something
yourself! Nonprofit groups are encouraged to join the network too, so they may
even pick it up for you! One constraint: everything posted must be FREE.
Subject line of postings look like this :
double bed spread - Coburg
TAKEN: car speakers
WANTED: wanted, desk for
TAKEN: Pending Pickup. Tiffany toaster, Footscray
Hitachi 17 inch CRT monitor - Heathmont Melb
OFFER: car speakers, St
Some more about the FreeCycle concept
addition to keeping things from landfills, a large part of Freecycle's goal is
to build local communities of neighbors helping neighbours.
groups are run by volunteer moderators who help keep offers organized and members
informed in addition to previewing posts of new members (keeps out spam) and generally
keeping chaos at bay.
don't allow any trades, and no money can change hands. Even offers of
non-consumables like coupons or g-mail are "no nos". Instead our group
is actively just outright engaged in everyday "gifting". We don't emphasize
ourselves as a "place to get free stuff" but have a vital membership
that is busily making "offers". There are some rules to keep everything
clean and easy to use
have offered everything from unused waffles irons and a daybed outgrown by a teen
aged daughter to a push mower and bird bath for a small townhouse yard.
paper and other office supplies
clothing no longer usable because of weight gains and losses
discarded boots & bowling ball now set aside for an artist to use for creation
of mixed media art
booties, bottles and bibs from that last family baby
even empty jars and bottles.
microwaves and washers are replaced and thanks to freecycle the used one is no
longer sent to the landfill, but is freecycled to another loving home.
not so much about the quality or value of the items - and yes we've freecycled
such things as swing sets, tractors and even granite counter tops - but is instead
about the value to the person who is the recipient. A pair of tights can be invaluable
to a single mom who can't afford to replace them as often as her daughter grows
through them, gets runs in them and - well you know how it is.
candidates to freecycle are:
the Environmentally conscious
Parents of growing kids
Techno-whizzes who are constantly replacing their hardware
Newly single folks
Anyone faced with a move (it's easier to freecycle it than pack it)
New folks in town (it's a good way to get acquainted)
Adults combining households
Apartment and Condo managers
People preparing to retire
Decorators & designers
And in essence everyone!
- Slowly groups are shifting to a single platform at Freecycle.org. For the most up-to-date list of Aussie
groups, go to the Official
List at Freecycle.org
Freecycles in the News
Freecycle takes on eBay
AN online trading service hoping to compete with internet trader eBay has a big advantage over its successful rival – everything is free.
Freecycle, an online swap meet, was launched in Tuscon, Arizona, in 2003 and has spread around the world. Sites are now established across Australia.
Unlike eBay, where sellers post items on the net and buyers place bids, everything on www.freecycle.org is free and anyone trying to sneak in an ad or commercial transaction is dealt with swiftly by the site's moderators.
The aim is to keep hard rubbish out of landfills and give pre-loved items a new lease of life.
A quick scan of the Australian Freecycle sites turns up offers of carpet squares, mountain bikes, 20 litres of used motor oil, a spice rack and an eight-tonne cattle truck.
Some of those posting messages on Freecycle say the service is "challenging our exclusionary economic system and creating collectively shared benefits".
Others just want a battered old beer fridge.
Freecycle works best when local sites are set up so people can easily organise to pop around and pick up goods.
Melbourne became the first Australian city to take up the concept when a local site was set up last year.
The site's moderator, Rob, found Freecycle on the net and followed the instructions for setting up a local site in the hope of creating a new online community and stopping hard rubbish ending up in landfill.
"You often see an appliance or sofa and you think if they hadn't stuck it out in the rain it might have been useful to someone," he says.
"If you get a bunch of people who become online mates and say they have this, and does anyone want it, it's performing a pretty easy-to-run free way of dealing with the problem of hard rubbish."
Freecycling is in its infancy in Australia and needs thousands of members to work effectively, he says.
Melbourne's site has 100 members. Rob is having a lot of trouble with members who just want to use the site to chat.
Users of US sites tend to stick to the rules, but Australians are cluttering their sites with irrelevant messages, he says.
"Aussies are more inclined to flout the rules," he says.
Goods are still changing hands, however. A Melbourne Freecycle user, David, says he gave away two mountain bikes. "They were well appreciated and I even received a small gift as a token of appreciation – a pot plant," he says.
Tobias says he gave away a fridge to a very nice Croatian couple whose daughter was a Freecycle member.
Kate in southern Victoria, however, has not had any takers for the eight-tonne 1964 International cattle truck she posted on Freecycle earlier this year.
Freecycle sites have sprung up in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Rockhampton and Hobart. The creator of Freecycle, Deron Beal, came up with the idea while running a non-profit recycling organisation in Tuscon, Arizona.
The Tuscon site has about 2500 members and a constant stream of items changing hands. Rob says he hopes the new online community will take off in Australia.
"We've all seen how successful eBay became, even though it required a good deal of trust of strangers. It's just like a free version of that really."
The Freecycle revolution
21 July 2005
The constant call for people to recycle is not always as easy as it looks, with few services available for people to properly pass on unwanted items. With most families stuck with all manner of items they’d rather just give away, a new online community is sweeping the Internet, turning one person’s trash into another one’s treasure.
Freecycle is an international online network that helps people give away all the bits and pieces they don’t need, and is the best place to go to get a freebie with no hidden catches.
Beginning in the United States in 2003, Freecycle has spread to consist of almost 3000 groups and 1.5 million members worldwide. A total of 47 Freecycle groups now operate in Australia, with the largest and most established located in Melbourne with 2640 members.
Rob Skelton is the moderator of the Melbourne group, and says the most common giveaway items are baby items, books, CDs, furniture and electrical goods that no longer work.
“In the last 24 hours we’ve had rabbits, washing machines, a fish bowl, a computer, computer monitors, a chest of drawers, and a digital camera that doesn’t work,” he says.
More unusual freebies have included a worm factory, an Elizabethan dog collar, spinnakers for a yacht and an eight-tonne truck. Mr Skelton says most items find a new home within minutes and 99 percent of all transactions are legitimate, although he keeps an eye out for people trying to make an easy buck.
Users say it has one simple advantage over Internet rivals like eBay — everything up for grabs is free. But many others say it’s not only about saving money, but also saving the environment.
Sydney mother Narelle Stacey says she’s happy to pass on her children’s hand-me-downs in order to boost the recycling cause.
Otherwise it would go out in council clean-up or in the bins and be thrown away and that is the whole concept; to help the environment, [reduce] landfill and help your neighbours as well,” she says.
However it’s still a case of “surfer beware” when buying electrical goods or handing out your name and address over the internet. Users say if you want to maintain total privacy, use an e-mail address you don’t use for anything else, and don’t give away information about yourself that you don’t want given out.