Let’s Snaffle Up the landfill

Filed in Blog by on December 4, 2008 20 Comments
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chris from Snaffle UpAs you’ll have gathered, we’re on a bit of a decluttering mission here at Chez Green. Little Miss Green sorted her toy cupboard, we’ve cleared the kitchen annexe and now Mr Green has had the bright idea of giving the attic a new lease of life so that we can maximise the insulation.

I thought we had a lot of stuff in the toy cupboard, but then I saw the attic……

So far we have half a wicker sofa (don’t ask), enough frames to start a shop, some unloved art work and a plethora of other ‘stuff’ up there, which threatens to come through the ceiling from time to time.

I’m thrilled that we are tackling this beast, but the question remains when you’re attempting a zero waste lifestyle – what do you do with all the stuff?

We’ve got pay as you throw pilot schemes on the horizon, fortnightly rubbish collections in many areas and a throw away culture that wins the UK the much uncoveted title of “the dustbin of Europe”

As I was pondering this mystery, and Mr Green burst through the door wearing a facemask and covered in dust and cobwebs, the ‘phone rang. I love moments like this when you’re just searching for an answer and it gets delivered in the most exciting of ways.

It was Chris Toynbee; Kent website design company person extraordinaire, to tell me all about Snaffle Up. (that’s him looking very proud of his snaffletastic t-shirt at the top of the post)

It kind of has a ring of truffling pigs, doesn’t it? But Snaffle Up is a new site where you can save stuff from its fate in the landfill. If you have anything you no longer need, but is just too good to bin, then snaffle up is for you.

Now I can read your mind. You’re saying ‘But Freecycle already exists’. Exist it does and many of us are fans of it.

There are, however, some significant differences which puts Snaffle Up in a league of its own.
snaffle Up

For starters, the sign up procedure is simple: Pick a username, choose a password, enter your postcode, click on the confirmation email and you’re all set.

Secondly, you won’t get inundated with emails as you can customise your email notifications to suit your preferences.

With Snaffle Up, you can choose to receive no mail at all, or sign up for notification of keywords. Say you’re looking for a sofa, just sign up for ‘sofa’ and every time someone puts in a post with the word sofa in it, you’ll get notification.

Alternatively, you can sign up for notification of an entire category. So if you’re pregnant, you might sign up to receive emails from the ‘baby’ category.

Once you’re logged in, there are all sorts of fun and funky snaffleicious features to choose from. When you select any category; you’ll see a list of all the items listed in that category alongside the number of miles the item is from your home. In addition you’ll see the Top 10 items closest to your postcode, so you’ll see in an instant what is around. Click on an item and a google map kindly shows you where to go to collect your item.

Adding an item that needs a loving home couldn’t be simpler – think of a title, select a category, add a description and upload a photo if you want one. All done!

You are welcome to put up ‘wanted’ ads, but with a simple search function you can check to see if an item is already listed – you’ll even find out how many miles from your home the item is.

There are some exciting developments in the pipeline such as RSS feeds, auto removal of items after a certain period of time – that’s great, it means you can post up and forget about it without needing to post up a ‘taken’ post or remove the listing. Chris also has an ambitious plan to build a wiki of resources for recycling throughout the UK. This will rely on members contributing and help build a real online community.

Got an idea to improve the functionality of the site? You can post your suggestions, which can then be voted for by other members of the SnaffleUp community. The most popular ideas will be put in a cauldron where Chris will cast a magic spell and hey presto; the new feature will appear on the site.

All in all then, the long term aim of Snaffle is to build a resource of all the recycling information you could want under one roof. It saves you have to trawl different sites and becomes a one-stop site for all your recycling needs. What more can you ask for

Why not sign up and start snaffling yourself? I’d love to hear what you think about it!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (20)

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  1. Liz Green says:

    Excellent site and what a good idea. I have always had trouble with freecycle and end up turning the emails off as I get inundated. Snaffleup is so much better and easier to use.
    Thanks for the tip Mrs.Green.
    P.S. Your whole site is really brilliant, the best I have seen. Keep up the good work.
    P.P.S. I help in a charity shop and we get lots of spectacles donated which we cannot sell of course. I have discovered that our local optician will take these.

  2. Katy says:

    It sounds like this addresses a lot of the issues that people have with Freecycle, and a lot of the wish-list items that people have had for some time. And I say that as a Freecycle moderator!

    I hope it can reach critical mass (i.e. enough members to be useful) quickly – Freecycle’s main advantage is perhaps that it has benefited from months (even years) of publicity, often quite prominent (national TV and newspapers). Snaffle Up will need to get lots of members in a short time if people aren’t going to get disheartened with not being able to shift their stuff. There is a also probably quite a large inertia factor – once people have joined Freecycle, I think it takes a lot for them to investigate an alternative.

    But I think it looks good, and I hope it goes well! More stuff diverted from landfill can only be a good thing.

  3. Liz Green says:

    I too hope that Snaffleup manages to get the publicity that it needs to get off the ground especially as it is countrywide rather than localized. Freecycle in my area is very well used but the amount of wanted emails and the amount of emails generally is annoying and if I opt for daily bulletin I have found that any interesting items are gone. I like the idea that I can add an ‘alert’ to find an item I might be able to use.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Liz, Thank you so much for your lovely comments about the site and I’m delighted you are impressed with the Snaffle site. Thank you for the tip about the spectacles. We really must get on and build a database of ‘how to recycle’ on here! You’re right in that Snaffle has many leading features which give it the edge over some other recycling sites.

    Katy, I’ve been a Freecycle moderator too and Chris definitely seems to have come up with solutions for ALL the bugbears people have, plus he has other great features built in. Like you, I feel it needs a critical mass pretty quickly; so the more people can blog about it, the better! (hint hint!)

    Also, if any of our readers are members of other forums, it’s a great way to spread the word and help Chris spread the recycling love 🙂

  5. Layla says:

    Woo!! Looks like a GREAT site!! 🙂

    Will it be international, or just UK so far? – I see there are plans for a US version…

    I thought Freecycle was a bit impractical too.. & the Slovenian site http://podarimo.si is better than Freecycle, but still a bit impractical in some ways..

    Snaffle really looks exciting!! (Will take a look & try to spread the word..)
    Ooh, already see some exciting things up there!! /wants the red gym mat!! Ohh!! Why don’t I live in the UK?!!)

    Oh, & I agree with Liz: THIS site truly is AWESOME too!!
    Thanks for telling us about all these other great sites too!!

  6. Good luck to Chris and Snaffle Up. I think it looks great. He won’t know it but he’s also had an influence on my vocabulary…call it subliminal if you like, but ever since I stumbled across it, I find myself using the words “snaffle up” fairly regularly in everyday conversation. Language is a beautiful thing, which is why the name is just perfect 😀

  7. Liz Green says:

    You are quite right AMA – it is interesting how our language evolves and more quickly in recent years with words from the web in everyday use. Who would have thought we would all be ‘googling’ a few years ago!

    Does anyone know where I can recycle a digital camera which I think is no longer working although I am not sure why. Not suitable to put on Snaffleup as it may never work again but don’t want to send it off to landfill site either.

  8. Katy says:

    Liz, no reason you can’t at least try offering your camera on Freecycle or Snaffle Up as long as you say it’s not working. Someone may be able to make use of it or repair it, and if not, nothing is lost.

  9. Hi Liz – I’ve seen a few “broken things” on Freecycle before and I’ve even got rid of a broken DVD player to someone who was skilled in fixing them. Also eBay used to have a few broken things listed last time I looked, advertising that they were being sold for parts. So someone could snaffle it up (LOL – there I go again). Good luck 😀

  10. Greenlady says:

    I have been forth word-spreading in a forum I participate in. I love the whole pass-it-on-if-you-can’t-use-it mentality, I do it on an informal basis with friends and my tenants and in both my jobs. I unfortunately can’t sign up for anything like Freecycle or Snaffleup because of personal security issues with giving out my name/address to people I don’t know 🙁 but I fully support the principle and will continue to pass the word on about SnaffleUp.

  11. Liz Green says:

    I could try the camera on Snaffleup for a few weeks to see if anyone can do anything with it. Unfortunately the little flap which holds the battery in place has snapped off. This happened not long after I got it and was horrified to find that I could not get a replacement part which would be easy and cheap to manufacturer and was told at the shop to just throw the camera away (more landfill)and buy another. This is another of my pet-grumbles – why are goods never repairable these days? I used the camera for a while by taping the battery in but now even that is not working.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Layla,
    I don’t know about international; I’ll have a chat with Chris and let you know his plans. And thank you for your lovely comments on the site; we appreciate it 🙂

    😀 Mrs A; I love how Snaffle has expanded your vocabulary LOL! Like Liz, I find google a great name because it doesn’t mean anything, but you can’t help but remember it.

    Liz, I’m a bit late coming back on this one, but I have to share a story. I once sold a digital camera on Ebay, which was in six pieces! I took close up photos, explained all the breakages; the thing would even turn on, yet I had over 20 people interested in it and it eventually sold for sixty pounds. The guy was over the moon as he wanted it for a particular spare which would have cost him much more than 60 pounds to buy new. Win-win 🙂 We also have a LOT of broken items on our local Freecycle such as printers and computers, so there is no reason not to try it on Snaffle.

    Great to hear you are helping to spread the message, GreenLady; and it’s lovely that you pass things around in your own little community of family, friends and colleagues.

  13. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Layla,
    I just heard back from Chris. His plan is to get the UK up and running first, and then head it over to the US and Canada.
    If you think recycling is big in your country (I’m afraid I couldn’t remember where you were – sorry!) then he would like you to contact him to have a chat about things:

    hello AT snaffleup DOT co DOT uk

    (replace the AT and the two ‘DOT’ with the real symbols; I’m doing this to save Chris from Spam)

  14. Liz Green says:

    Hi Mrs Green
    Thanks for your story about the camera – I have been given another working camera so could take a picture of my old one and put it on Snaffleup to see if anyone is interested. I also have some more bits around which would benefit from Snaffling – there’s that word again!
    Re. Bread – I used to make my own each day when the children were small and I have been out and bought some nice wholemeal flour and dried yeast etc. but cannot find any easy to follow recipes. Any chance you could put one on the site for those of us who are keen to give it a try.

  15. Mrs Green says:

    Liz, I’m not the best bread chef. I cheat and use packet mixes for the bread machine; the Wright brand being particularly good.
    I do have a favourite recipe, but it produces a very, erm, ‘robust’ loaf. If you don’t mind that, then I’ll post it up next week as it’s quite a fuss free bread to make 🙂

  16. Liz Green says:

    Thanks Mrs. Green – robust and fuss free sounds just fine. I will await your recipe with interest. It is years since I have made any bread and if it turns out not quite right then the birds will be delighted.

  17. Liz Green says:

    I have put the camera on Snaffleup along with some other odd items which were lurking in the attic – amazing what you find when looking for the Christmas decorations. I have a lot more stuff which could go on and will get around to that after Christmas when the decorations go back up to the attic.

  18. Mrs Green says:

    Liz – that’s always my philosophical conclusion too; if we can’t eat it, the birds will enjoy it LOL! Good luck with decluttering your attic and I hope you have some success with Snaffle Up.

  19. Liz Green says:

    Hi Mrs Green – thanks for your comments – I have to say that if there is one thing I am most passionate about when it comes to waste it is food. I only recently discovered that food in landfill produces methane (obvious I guess) and this is very damaging to the environment of course. My main reasoning however is being brought up by a Mother that lived through the depression of the 1920s and 30s and being taught that to waste food is practically a criminal offense.

  20. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Liz, we really loathe food waste too, especially when there are so many people in the world who do not know where their next meal is coming from. We have bought LMG up to take small portions and then return for more; it’s a habit she tends to slip out of, however, and only this evening we had to remind her of this. We always try and view our ‘leftovers’ as ingredients in this house….

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