Freecycle – saving me from landfill shame
Freecycle, you just have to love it, dontcha? If you’ve not heard of it, then Freecycle is the brain child of Deron Beal. Deron lives in Tucson, Arizona and one particularly inspired afternoon he was coming up with cunning solutions to the amount of landfill the company he worked for, used to generate.
He was looking at all the computers, office furniture and gadgetry that his office was dumping. He scratched his chin, cocked his head to the side and thought ‘hang on a mo; there must be SOMEBODY who could make use of this stuff’ (or something like that) and a few emails to friends, colleagues and non profit organisations later the idea of Freecycle was born.
In five years, this genius of a man has grown his idea around the world and now there are over five and a half grateful million of us worldwide, giving our things away for free and saving the landfill in the process. Gifting at its best – what a guy! He’s earning BIG karma points from Mother Nature for this one.
I set up the Gloucestershire Freecycle a few years ago after witnessing the Boscastle floods. What is the connection I hear you ask; well, this is where we need to think outside the box a bit.
When I got back from Boscastle and reflected on the state of the planet ie What on earth caused a place to flood that had never flooded before? I figured that each and every one of us takes part in actions that have consequences somewhere along the line.
Maybe, just maybe our throwing things to this mysterious place called away, is contributing to ‘freak weather’ incidences and tsunamis on the other side of the world. As the quote, ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’ reminds us, ecological consciousness begins at home. We only need look at Edward Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect to realise that what we do in our homes DOES affect people thousands of miles away.
I figured that we needed to get to the root of some of the problems that are causing climate change, and what we throw into the landfill is one small part of that.
When I heard about Freecycle it seemed the perfect way for me to be able to ‘do my bit’ and it was a way to be proactive in the future.
Anyway, back to the plotette. You’ll also be aware that I have a bit of a thing about food waste and senseless consumerism. It’s the drum I like to gently tap to the rhythm of the beat from time to time.
This weekend I decided to give the kitchen a overhaul. It was time to dig beneath the superficiality of my usual ‘clean the kitchen’ routines and pull everything out of the cupboards.
We have magic Narnia cupboards in our home. They may well look like they have a back panel that is attached to the wall, but they actually feed through to Neverland. Well, food and gadgetland as I discovered to my ‘I don’t do food waste or needless consumerism’ horror.
As I pulled out the contents of one cupboard it was like one of those dreams you have where you’ve got a ball of string in your mouth – you know the ones? (or do I need a psychiatrist?) You just keep pulling and pulling, and yards and yards of stuff just keeps coming out of your mouth.
That’s what my kitchen cupboards were like. Gadgets, food, empty containers, toothbrushes (don’t ask) and all plethora of fun objects that had been lost were now found and looking at me from a dusty heap on the work surfaces.
I was shocked at how many times I had fallen for the ‘new gadget’ lark. I didn’t think I went for that one, but over the years I have collected a small collection of my very own of used-half-a-dozen-times gadgets that promised to change my life for ever.
They did change my life for ever, s’matter of fact – they turned me into a clutter Queen who used to swear every time I took a saucepan out of the cupboard because everything else would fall out in a loud and painful heap on my foot.
In addition, I found enough food to start my own convenience store – some of it shamefully out of date and some of it things that I don’t eat any more. I’m sure some of it was left over from the hazy days of pregnancy where I could eat enough for an army of all sorts of things I would never dream of eating now.
So onto Freecycle it all went on a sunny Saturday morning. This weekend I gave away a toaster, juicer, sandwich toaster, vacuum pack sealer and a sprouting jar. As new friends walked away with their goodies, and more are to be delivered this morning, I was able to catch myself from falling knee-deep in my own guilt. I also packed up a food parcel for a grateful recipient as well as sharing the love with some empty jam jars. If you grow your own food, you’ll know how useful those are (but just not too many ok?).
To top it all off, I reunited plastic containers with their lids – now, just how satisfying is that a job to finally get around to? Go on, dear readers, do that for yourselves today; it’s a fab, satisfying chore that will only take you five minutes.
It’s another win-win situation here at Chez Green. I have a tidier kitchen, new friends have new toys to play with, containers have lids and the landfill didn’t even get a look in (well, ok, there’s a fair bit of packaging that’ll you’ll be able to snigger at on Wednesday in time for our weigh in). Horrah for Deron Beal and his amazing inspiration.