and doing good
Sarah Mabel Houghis a senior at Temple University studying English
Stuff was everywhere in my son’s room. Thrown in laundry baskets and shopping bags were clothes that didn’t fit and toys he didn’t play with. I’d been telling myself for a month that I needed to box it all up, and the time had come.
When I was finished, I had four full trash bags. I had planned to store them in the basement, but I realized then that I really didn’t need any of the things and that someone else might.
Freecycle began in May 2003 with an e mail Deron Beal of Arizona sent out to a few dozen friends and charities. His plan was to make giving and getting easier, with members posting items they needed or wanted.
There is no cost to join, and everything posted must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages. Though members use Freecycle at their own risk, every regional group has local volunteer moderators who check the incoming messages and keep their group running Burberry Bags Outlet smoothly.
The network grew rapidly. Freecycle reports being in 110 countries, with more than 8.5 million members. This year alone, the network says, it has saved 680 million pounds of items from landfills.
I posted “Offer: bags of baby items,” and within an hour a woman e mailed to say she could stop by on her way home from work.
When I had used Freecycle before, the transactions went pretty quickly. The person waited at the door while I gathered the items, took whatever it was, and headed back to his or her car. We were both happy: The recipient had new and desired items, and I had an uncluttered living room.
This time it was different, and it was a reminder about the community aspect of Freecycle.
As Burberry Bags Outlet soon as I opened my door, the woman stepped inside, smiling. The bags were waiting close by, but she was in no rush. She told me about her children, and about her friends who recently had babies. Turns out the bags weren’t even for her, but she was excited about going through my items to find who could use what.
Her husband waited patiently outside while we talked for at least 20 minutes about children and, of course, Freecycle. She keeps a list of members she knows who regularly need clothing or toys. Within Freecycle groups like ours in Northwest Philadelphia, it’s Burberry Bags Outlet very common to deal with the same members many times.
When I first moved Burberry Bags Outlet to Mount Airy two years ago, Freecycle provided a sense of community. After moving and having a baby, I had eight bins of clothing and other household items that went to a woman who helped run a charity through her church. I also found a desk for myself through the network, as well as empty jars to hold our homemade baby food.
“It really is a beautiful feeling to think that an idea which started with one e mail has snowballed into such a huge movement,” Beal told me in an interview. “Sometimes I think it can feel like what each of us does doesn’t really matter. But our actions really do send out positive ripples to our friends and neighbors. . . .
“I didn’t really set up Freecycle to become so huge but merely to get some good stuff back out there in circulation, but how nice that it has enabled many others to give items away as well, and to make some ripples of their own.”
Like many people, I’m incredibly aware of how much I throw out and what I recycle. But I believe that recycling goes much further than paper and plastic in a bin. Something I don’t need can have great value to someone else. To make that exchange happen, while keeping one more item out of a landfill, is priceless.