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Freecyclers Covet Neighbors' Rejects

When we dug through the layers of junk in the garage recently, we unearthed all sorts of interesting objects, including a brand new electric garage door opener, still in its box, a legacy from the previous owner of our house.

It seemed a shame to send it to the dump. Surely somebody could use it, but who? And what about the large desk which had all its drawers AND a return? I didn’t need it but someone setting up a home office might love it. How was I going to find this person?

Leslie Freed, an avid recycler and a member of Freecycle, told me exactly what to do. “Sign up and post what you want to get rid of,” she says. “You’ll be amazed at how quickly it gets picked up.” Leslie's favorite recycling story is about the old rangetop her husband, Greg McEnary, had just replaced. She felt bad throwing it away because it still worked. Two hours after posting it to Freecycle, a man came to pick it up. "He was building an outdoor kitchen," she says. "It was just what he was looking for."

Signing up is easy and costs nothing. Freecycle works on an honor system. You’re not allowed to profit from the free trades, which means you can't sell items you pick up. You can use Freecycle to look for things you need, too. Leslie gets her firewood free from other members – and she also found a bike.

Within a couple of hours of posting my items, almost everything had gone. A partially used gallon of chain saw oil won the most popular award. Eight people tried to snag it. A box of pre-finished oak flooring got a lot of attention too. And the garage door opener? That was claimed five minutes after I put it up for grabs.

You can join the Westchester Freecycle group here.

How do you get rid of things you no longer want?

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