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Freecycle: The Good, The Strange

Using Freecycle can be fun, interesting, and satisfying.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Freecycle is a global, non-profit network of local groups that promotes the principles of reusing, recycling, and keeping usable items out of the trash. You use the local Freecycle service to offer (or claim from others) household and other items that you’d normally throw away, donate, or otherwise discard. The service is fantastic and as a member of Odenton Freecycle (a Yahoo! group), I’ve offered and given away a few items so far.

One thing I freecycled (I guess that’s the proper verb) was Laura’s Star Trek: Scene It? board game. As a few of us casual Trek fans learned on New Year’s Eve, we simply lacked the nerdiness necessary to enjoy it. So I hope it is getting the use and respect it deserves wherever it ended up.

I receive individual messages from the Yahoo! group in my e-mail. So each day, I see the wide range of items that people are freecycling. And for the most part, it all makes sense. People looking for a good home for baby clothes, odds and ends from around the house, children’s toys, books, and similar items that you’d imagine people would outgrow or no longer need for various reasons.

I feel there’s a great sense of community inherent in something like this. Kind of like how the individual Patch sites are about the town, its people, and its issues. The local Freecycle groups are a way for people to help out those around them by passing on useful items they no longer need. Fantastic.

But, with all that said, there’s also the smattering of offers that I’ve seen and thought were a bit odd. I applaud anyone willing to help someone, so this isn’t my attempt to criticize. Plus, as with any of my posts, this isn’t to be taken seriously.

I remember an offer for two bottles of aspirin or Tylenol—something in that headache-relief family. One was sealed, but the other was opened. I tried to imagine how much faith and trust it would take to accept an open bottle of pills from a stranger. Maybe my hesitation is from the Tylenol tampering cases I recall from when I was very young. Or those tales of Halloween razor apples and needle-filled candy. Or maybe it’s just my general dislike and distrust of others. Either way, it was a great thought, and I’m sure it helped someone out who needed it.

Then there was the offer for a box or some quantity of Tampons. To me, this was less of a strange offer than the aspirin.  But then I started to think about it. Who needs to get rid of Tampons? I guess someone (assuming and hoping a female) could have bought a brand and didn’t like them. That would make sense, I think. I completely chalk this one up to my ignorance of Tampons and their related area—to which a few kind women could attest.

I’ll leave you with this bit of hindsight: Maybe If I had been a Freecycler when I cleaned out one of my nightstands last year, I would have offered a pack of Trojans I had stopped using after my vasectomy. Instead, I used them to mule some fun size Snickers bars into the movie theater.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Craig J Stadler February 25, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Check this one out as well similar, search engine/free etc http://www.ecofreek.com
Carolpeedie May 13, 2013 at 01:24 PM
You forgot to think about the women going through menopause! I have a stash of pads and tampons that I may never use again (being newly to that time if life myself,) And FreeCycle would be a great solution. And It has always bothered me how much those necessary feminine products cost -- what a monopoly!
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