- CHRISTOPHER GARDNER
- CLEARINGHOUSE SPECIAL: Turn your trash into treasure and save precious landfill space with SLO Freecycle, an online sharing network for giving and getting started by Los Osos resident Judy Sullivan.
<> But what about old furniture, or appliances, or books, or clothesâ€” what happens to them at the end of the week? Sometimes this junk gets donated to thrift stores, sometimes itâ€™s sold at yard sales. But more often than not, itâ€™s considered garbage and is hauled off to the dump, where itâ€™s added to a growing pile of refuse. But before we condemn our tossed-off sofas and coffee tables to the landfill, maybe we should consider another option: recycling. With the help of SLO Freecycle, part of a worldwide web-based sharing network, you can find a new home for your old things, help somebody out, and effectively keep waste out of the landfill for a little bit longer.
Local Freecycle organizer Judy Sullivan started the SLO chapter back in 2004 when she decided there were more than a few things in her home she wanted to get rid of. But driving it all to a donation center or even having a yard sale seemed like too much of a hassle. This Freecycle thing, however, sounded great. And it was just too easy: Post a notice online listing things youâ€™re trying to get rid of, and if someone in your community wants it, theyâ€™ll come and get it. She signed up San Luis as a participating community in the grassroots program, and now the local chapter is 1,300 members strong.
â€œThe great thing about this network is that the more people who are involved in it, the more stuff there is to give and get,â€? says Sullivan, who recently scored an â€œalmost newâ€? wing-backed chair from a network member. Totally free. â€œAnd the more stuff we give and get, the less stuff winds up in the landfill.â€?
If you donâ€™t have anything to give, but youâ€™re looking for something in particularâ€” say a twin-sized bed, or a toaster, or even a gallon of paint â€” you can post a request on the website. If somebody has what youâ€™re looking for, theyâ€™ll let you know. They give, you get, and waste is diminished. Itâ€™s really a win-win-win situation.
Outfit a classroom with new desks or computer screens. Furnish your new apartment and stop sleeping on the floor. Finally get rid of your husbandâ€™s shot glass collection. Rugs, shoes, ink cartridges, dishes, hats â€” turn your trash into treasure with the click of a mouse.
This program is good for everybody: individuals and groups, nonprofit organizations, schools, college students, spring cleaners, givers and takers. These are the rules: Everything must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages. Thatâ€™s it. Oh, and one more thing: If you can give it away, donâ€™t throw it away. Reduce, reuse, Freecycle.
For more info, go to www.freecycle.org. >
New Times Staff Writer Alice Moss reuses her holiday wrapping paper every year. Send your scraps to firstname.lastname@example.org.