Cool Toys Pic of the Day – Freegle

Freegle:
http://www.ilovefreegle.org/

For some reason, I immediately thought, “mathom.”

“Mathom was the hobbit term for anything which they had no use for but were unwilling to throw away.”
http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Mathom

Maybe it was the orange, pink and green chair. Maybe it was the emphasis on giving. And recycling.

About five years ago, online swap stuff sites were a small fad. Which faded. And was mostly forgotten, except for Craig’s List, and for some Freecycle. Until recently, when they seem to be taking off again.

Freegle is a kind of a Scottish / UK version of Freecycle, made pretty, winning awards, getting amazing press, and applying their basic concept in some rather interesting ways.

“I Furnished My Whole House For Free!”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=gwt5Hl588Ec

“Freegle Brighton Announces Plans to Build Community Center Made Entirely of Local Waste” http://www.ilovefreegle.org/blog/?p=4441

It is also rather interesting that Freegle came about specifically because Freecycle wasn’t working out for some groups and communities in the UK. The description of the problems sounded like a combination of personality differences, culture, legal advice, inflexibility, and style. Unfortunately, the problems described that resulted in the Freegle breakoff from Freecycle seem to be part of the nature of many volunteer organizations, but aren’t a problem that is just here and there, but are ongoing, described in articles I’ve found dated from 2008 to today. Here is the kindest post I’ve found describing needed changes.

It’s Not Easy To Be Green: 5 Ways to Make Freecycle Not Suck:
http://noteasytobegreen.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/5-ways-to-make-freecycle-not-suck/

The basic take-away from this? No, it’s not a couch. It’s the lesson that when you “think global, act local” it’s necessary to also “think local” (as in listening to local folk, and making it possible for them to try ideas that fit their local community).

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