You know about Recycling - now try Freecycling

Don't throw it away, give it away

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You all know about the good record of recycling within the borough. However, this process still involves transporting materials which are then reprocessed or maybe still put into land fill. So why not see if somebody else can make good use of it first?

Freecycle is a free and easy to use community group that has over 100,000 members in the UK , the concept it easy; rather than throw things away why not give them to some one who has a need for them? The group is run by email and involves nothing more than emailing the group with what you are giving away and then waiting for the replies, you can also post wanted ads too.

It sounds unbelievable but there are over 20,000 members in London posting some 3,000 messages a month. Because of the sheer scale of the London wide group it is being split into more manageable borough groups and Ealing and Acton is one of the first.

Ealing has only just got off the ground, but it's started off with a success story. Forum member David Eales offered a travel cot which he no longer needs. He says "We don't need the cot any more, we know it's worth money but really and truly no one will buy it either on ebay or in a local paper. So I posted it on the website and one day later some one has asked for it!"

The scheme allows almost anything to be exchanged that is legal with the exception of livestock and items that don't help reduce land fill. So no cats or coupons from a newspaper, please! The most common items are old computers, computer monitors when people upgrade to flat screens and kitchen appliances when people get a new kitchen fitted. We get business throwing out old printers and right up to people getting rid of old cars or green houses. The main rule is it has to be free - no trading or lending. It takes a while to get used to, says David, but it really works.

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February 10, 2006