Guest post by Cat Fletcher of Freegle Brighton
Freegle is an online network of recycling groups that facilitate the reuse of goods amongst members of a community – all for free. There are 299 groups spread all over the UK and they are run by local volunteers. While this is a fantastic way of keeping usable things out of skips, the tip, incinerators and bins it is of course also a fantastic system for getting things for free!
There are 1,163,804 Freegle users who are already giving away and getting things for free – you could start freegling and help the environment, your pocket and your local community all at once.
So how does it work?
Well, first of all you need to see if there is a Freegle group in your area. To do that, use our postcode/town search here: http://www.ilovefreegle.org/groups/
Members of a group offer goods via email or web posts and connect to other members who can make use of them. No money changes hands and everything must be legal. If you see something offered you want, you contact the member, make arrangements and then it can be yours. Most groups do not allow messages about animals, labour or advice – there are other specific websites for such things.
The Brighton group (GreenCyclesussex)
The Brighton Group has just over 15,000 members and up to 500 messages are posted each week. There are 2 volunteers helping new members learn the ropes, and ensuring that all goods offered are legal (so no firearms for example) and ensuring things run smoothly and to sort out any technical hiccups behind the scenes.
In the 4 years I have been doing this in Brighton we have had a wild assortment of stuff given away. Things like: Books, TVs, computer equipment, clothes, cars, sports equipment, office machinery, DIY materials, tools, washing machines, furniture, beds, plants, fridges, kitchen stuff, food, compost, lawnmowers, removalist boxes, CDs, cameras, pet accessories, school uniforms, electrical goods, toys, kayaks (we once had a 27ft yacht given away), mobile phones, bric-a-brac and so on and so on…..Goods are sometimes new, sometimes broken or just plain second-hand. Messages should describe accurately the state of the goods, so you know what you are getting! Remember even if something is no good for its intended purpose and unwanted by you it may still be useful to someone else and reused in a different manner or repaired by the new owner.
Why is Freegle good?
Sometimes it is helpful to try something out before buying it new. Or you can replace that mobile charger your pet rabbit chewed up. You may be on a tight budget, have a growing family or are moving house. You may enjoy hobbies and sport, arts and crafts, DIY, gardening, have a toy crisis or unexpected guests who need a bed. The value of freegling is endless! … Give it a try you may be very surprised at what a fantastic resource it is and how you can save money by getting things you need for free. A nice bonus is that you get to meet lots of other lovely people from your local community and get a feel good factor from reducing waste and reducing unnecessary consumerism….oh and it is all free!
Don’t throw it away! Give it away! Freegle it!
How to Join
Once you have found a local group from our website, click on the link to go to its homepageand follow the instructions (differs from group to group).
You will find yourself a member of a Yahoo group and will start receiving emails from the Freegle group; if you are email phobic it is also possible to just use the group via the webpages and save your inbox from exploding. A lot of groups are also linked into Facebook and Twitter, so you do not always need use a Freegle group via Yahoo. It will depend which group you join but group volunteers will be able to assist you joining up and using their group especially if this is something new to you!
Goods are made available by group members posting messages of goods they have, that they no longer want- and so offer them to the group. (It is also acceptable to post messages to the group requesting items you’d like to have). If you see an offer for something you would like, then you contact that member via email or from the group webpages and if selected by that member making the offer, you will be able to have the item for free after making arrangements to collect it.
So that’s it in a nutshell. Of course if you are the lucky recipient of some free things it is nice to send a thank you email to the offerer and if you have posted a wanted message and actually received what you wanted from another member-then you can tell the group by posting a ‘received’ message to the group too.
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