Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 12:55PM
May 12-18, 2005
Dumpster Diving 2.0
Freecycle NYC lets you give as good as you get
Tired of watching dogs pee on that sofa you put out on the curb? Join Freecycle, a national online movement that reduces waste by gifting. "New Yorkers produce 13,000 tons of garbage daily, nearly one ton per Freecycler," says Christina Salvi, who founded a local chapter, Freecycle NYC, in 2003. The group, which now has 14,000 members, connects givers with getters via e-mail. Just join their free Yahoo group and start giving (sign up at freecycle.org). I easily gifted a printer and a suitcase in 24 hours. Posts must be legal, G-rated and, above all, free. It beats Craigslist's "Free" board because "it's more like a community with a cause," says Salvi.
Alastair Ong, an e-commerce entrepreneur whose prize "get" is an industrial microwave, loves Freecycle's e-mails because "you never know what's going to pop up." He's not kidding—daily posts range from Baywatch Barbies to bicycles. Sandrine, a 32-year-old recycling enthusiast ("even my toothbrush is recycled plastic!") who didn't want to give her last name, recently scored an ice-cream maker. Yolanda Brooks is a die-hard Freecycler. She's given and gotten almost 300 items, including her favorite score: a bag of designer shoes.
On Saturday 14, the group hosts its third Freemeet, which is like a spring-cleaning love-in. "You bring what you have, and take what you need," Salvi explains. "Everyone's really friendly."
The strangest offer Salvi has seen? An antique dentist's drill. Still, it found a home: "It was turned into someone's Halloween display."