What is freecycling and how does it work?

The idea of freecycling is to promote the three R's (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) by making it easy for people to give away their unwanted but reusable items to people who can use them.

And the way it works is that there are thousands of locally run, grassroots freecycling groups around the world. Once you find and join your local groups, you can post 'Offers' for items you want to give away, or 'Wants' for items you need (as long as you follow some basic rules shown below).

For example, here is how offering an item works:

  1. You have a bike you don't need and you want to dispose of it.
  2. Instead of throwing it away, you join your local freecycling group.
  3. You then submit an 'Offer' post to the group that describes your bike and your general location and your post will be sent to all the members of the group.
  4. Group members interested in your bike will reply to your post to contact you privately.
  5. You choose which person you would like to give the bike to.
  6. Between the two of you, you arrange a time and place for them to come and pick up the bike.
  7. Your bike is picked up.
  8. You let everyone on your local group know that the bike is no longer available by marking your 'Offer' post as taken.
  9. You've given away your bike with little effort to someone who can use it, met someone new from your community and kept something out of the landfill. Great for you and the planet!

Similarly, when you need an item you can create a new 'Wanted' post and if someone has what you need, they will contact you to offer it.

What You Can Find

You can give and get almost anything on your local freecycling group. Some of the most common posts are for items such as old electronics, building materials, clothes and books.

Even things you might not consider reusable like cloth scraps, scratched CDs and broken appliances sometimes find homes with artists looking for materials or tinkerers looking for an interesting project or spare parts. Items you offer aren't expected to be in perfect condition as long as you accurately describe their condition when you offer them.

So next time you're cleaning out the garage, moving to a new place or about to throw something away, don't forget that someone on your local freecycling group might be able to use your unwanted stuff.

Rules

When posting to your local freecycling group, you must follow these rules:

  • Groups are only used for offering and requesting free items.
    • No selling, trading or spamming is allowed.
    • No chatting (some groups have separate cafe groups for chatting)
  • Be respectful and polite
  • Nothing illegal should be posted (no drugs, weapons, etc.)
  • All items posted should be appropriate for all ages.

Individual groups often have additional rules. You should check the Group Notices page for rules specific to your local group (if any). The rules are enforced by the volunteer moderators who manage the group and each group has different moderators. If you have questions about a group's rules, you can contact the moderators.