The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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February 20, 2013

Cut the clutter, help the planet by 'freecycling'

With spring cleaning around the corner, it's a good time to consider options for disposing of unneeded clutter. Typical venues include yard sales and donations to thrift stores, but many are people trying the alternative of "freecycling."

Sites like FreeSharing.org and Freecycle.org help users get rid of their stuff, and use the theory that one person’s trash is another person’s new couch, TV or baby stroller.

FreeSharing

The creators of FreeSharing.org say its main goal is to keep items out of landfills. It uses over 900 groups in local communities across the United States, Canada and other parts of the globe, to place items that are still in decent shape in the hands of people who really need them.

The concept of free sharing or "freecycling" isn’t a new one, but FreeSharing.org has made the practice much easier for people by pooling local recycling groups that do things like manage the item exchange between you and the person you’re donating to. They can also tell you who needs what items in the communities they work in.

A lot of current users believe donating items through a recycling group in their area is better than blindly giving items away to the Salvation Army or similar organizations.

FreeSharing.org doesn’t actually organize the sharing for you or help you give items away. It instead serves as an Internet hub that connects users to local sharing companies that all have a dual mission to better the environment and place items with people who have a specific need.

For example, if you have an old coffee table that you no longer need, FreeSharing.org doesn’t want you to just leave it on your curb for the garbage man or for the neighborhood to grab up. Instead it wants you to use a little more strategy when getting rid of your items to not only help the environment but also to help someone who may not be able to afford an expensive item at that specific moment.

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