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Save money while saving the planet: Swap & reuse

Struggling with money? Wishing to be more environmentally friendly but don’t know how? ‘Freecycling’ is the solution for you; a simple way to save money while reducing your impact on the environment.

For thrifty, environmentally-conscious people, ‘freecycling’ provides an effective way to both save money and save the planet. According to The Freecycle Network (TFN) , freecycling is “a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.” The aim is “to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills.”

It is a sentiment shared by The ReUseIt Network (TRN), “In a disposable society where many items are discarded long before they have actually outlived their use, The ReUseIt Network helps get things from people who have them but don’t want them to people who want them but don’t have them.” Freecycling “not only cuts down on goods in landfills, but also helps reduce the strain on our natural resources by keeping useable items in circulation, reducing the need to manufacture additional goods.”

Thanks to the internet, freecycling is simple to do. TFN and TRN have online forums, where visitors can advertise useful products that they are looking to discard, or where they can search for goods that others are hoping to be rid of. Freecycling also occurs at two of the web’s leading classifieds. Craiglist has a list of freebies in its ‘For Sale’ section, while Gumtree’s ‘Stuff for Sale’ has a ‘Swap Shop’ in which things can be traded.

Items to freecycle

What makes freecycling such an attractive proposition is the diverse range of second hand wares just waiting to be claimed. In the five days before this article was written, the ReUseIt newsletter that I subscribe to was offering printers, doors, bedding, baby clothes, children’s books, decorating magazines, women’s shoes, a pool/table tennis table, a backpack, a filing cabinet, a hand held massager, a computer monitor, a calendar, a fax machine, a rice cooker, a coffee grinder, an electrical mosquito repeller, an air conditioner, an inflatable beach ball- even a breast pump!

And if the wardrobes and cameras that were up for grabs at Craigslist weren’t enough, there was an array of items waiting to be exchanged at Gumtree: art, furniture, cars, clothing, vouchers, electrical goods, computer games, music tickets, mobile phones and- wait for it- houses!

If you like the idea of having more money and less waste, head to your computer now. Freecycling would be logical at the best of times, but in a world beset by financial crisis and climate change, it’s never made more sense!

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