one recyle, two recycle, freecyle, four
Freecycle. Until recently, I didn't really understand what this catchy name meant. I mean, I got the "free" part, and I got the "recycle" part, but I didn't really understand how they went together. Wasn't recycling always free?
Until I joined the Freecycle Tel Aviv group, which is part of the larger Freecycle network. Freecyle is a grassroots, non-profit movement of people who are giving away and receiving items for free (and preventing stuff from ending up in landfills). You can easily recycle paper or aluminum cans or plastic bottles, but it's a little harder to figure out how to recycle that kitchen appliance that's in good condition but that you just don't use, or that old piece of furniture that you don't want anymore. You would feel bad throwing those kinds of things away, but just don't know who would want them. Enter freecycle. Freecycle connects people within the same area so that those trying to get rid of things can post a message to the group and give their items to someone nearby. Conversely, if someone is looking for a particular item, he or she can post a message to the group asking if anyone has one to give away. Unlike craigslist, this all takes place without the exchange of money. It is truly "free recycling".
The Freecycle Network, which was recently the subject of a New York Times article, is composed of 4234 groups with 4,449,618 members around the world and it is constantly growing. Recent items I've seen offered on Freecycle Tel Aviv include closets, printers, scanners, small ovens, furniture, and more. The people offering these items are genuinely happy to give them away.
There are additional freecycle groups in Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Yokneam Ilit, Zichron Yaacov-Alona, Herzliya, and Ramallah. Even if you have nothing that you want to "freecycle", its worth joining the group - you never know what you might find.