Friday, January 1, 2010

Getting and Giving

... without environmental cost or any money spent.

"One person's trash is another person's treasure." So goes the old saying.

Well, if you've ever had something to throw away and thought, "gee, I wonder if so-and-so would like this," then you've glommed onto the idea behind ReUseIt, a network of individual freecycling groups around the globe.

The ReUseIt Network is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving - and getting - stuff for free in their own communities. At last count, ReUseIt had almost seven million members in 4,870 groups in villages, towns, and cities throughout the world.

There is no cost to become a member or to participate and no item seems too outrageous, including the kitchen sink. ReUseIt members post items for offer or wanted, then sit back and watch the replies come in, usually within hours.

Through my local ReUseIt group, I have given away old software, clothes and books. Among the things I've received are: rice cooker, food dehydrator, two woks, frying pan and spatulas, coffee grinder and, most recently, a wooden knife block set. All without money ever changing hands.

Whenever I need something, I immediately post a Wanted message to my ReUseIt site before ever thinking of buying. Whenever I want to give away something I no longer use, I post an Offer; usually within an hour, someone has responded who has been looking for exactly that item.

Which brings me to a key point. Too often, when your income is abysmally low, you can't give or help others as you would normally. This causes a lot of distress in people for whom giving is part of who they are. ReUseIt enables people of low income to give, to pass on items they no longer need to others in their community who do.

It's not even about affordability. In fact, ReUseIt makes a point of saying that it's about recycling and saving the local landfill from more unwanted stuff and packaging. ReUseIt Networkers aren't beggars or skinflints. We are people of conscience who are trying to save our environment and help others at the same time.

Check out the ReUseIt Network! If you're looking specifically for the Cowichan group, here we are!


rob said...

Thanks for posting this. What a great idea for a website. I checked it out and joined.


Chrystal Ocean said...

That's great, rob. Here in the Cowichan Valley, we're fortunate to have a large, thriving freecycle group that is maintained by dedicated people who have been at it for years now. Not all communities are as lucky. However, freecycle groups are fundamentally about their membership. It's the people who make the difference; it's their determination to help each other while saving their local environment. All good.