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Share creative ideas to assist people of all ages with tips to save money and improve their lifestyle!


September 17, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)--According to the EPA, the U.S. generated  251 million tons of trash in 2006--and 67% of that trash ended up in landfills. But much of the trash in landfills is not really trash at all. It is so easy to throw items away when they are no longer needed – even if they are still usable – that it happens every day. However, there is a growing population of people who think that there must be a better solution.


Have you ever walked in your neighborhood early in the morning of trash pick-up day? You would be amazed what your neighbors are throwing away. Things that appear perfectly usable but no longer wanted. There is a better way to dispose of unwanted items--and get items you actually want free--all through Freecycle!


Freecycle is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 by Deron Beal, and has grown to a community of over 7 million members. Their goal statement reads, "Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."


What this means is you can find just about anything on Freecycle for no more cost to than the cost of your gasoline to drive to pick it up. You no longer need to make trips to drop off donations when you clean out your garage – simply post the items on-line and someone will come pick them up for you!


To get started, visit the official site at and locate a group near you. Next sign up for the local group (free, of course) and as soon as the moderators add you, you will start receiving emails.


When Dawn first signed up, she requested a daily email because she was trying to cut down on the amount of mail in her inbox. What she found was that the items she wanted were gone by the time she got her digest, and switched to the “individual email” option. The reason this makes a difference is that most items posted on Freecycle are gone within an hour or two. If you see something you really want, you need to act fast!


If you have kids, you know how quickly they grow! Some other websites designed to help you reduce your clothing bills and keep more usable items out of the landfills Check out Zwaggle or UandITrade; both sites facilitate the exchange of gently worn children's clothing. Along the same line, there are sites dedicated to the exchange of adult-sized clothing as well. Swapstyle was launched in July 2004 by fashion designer Emily Chesher as a way to make "designer fashion accessible to women everywhere," and Rehash Clothes launched in the summer of 2007 as a way to "shop for clothes without spending a penny, all while helping the environment."


Using these simple ideas you can get free items, save time and gasoline on shopping and keep more usable items out of the landfills.


Next week’s column is about how to save money as you “Play the Grocery Game.”


Nancy Clement is an east county Realtor@, mortgage broker and freelance writer and can be reached at 619-563-4184 or
Dawn Clement is a stay-at-home mother of three, a freelance writer, and creative shopper.



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Re: Freecycle

Oh, Internets, this is why I love you. THANK YOU for finally posting about this! Yay!



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