FREECYCLE: Help reuse, save money, and build community!

by Muskaan Suthar

Muskaan is a Global Business Management student who volunteers as a Sustainability Ambassador. She is passionate about repurposing, reusing and recycling materials to reduce waste.

You can connect with her via email or LinkedIn.

You have heard of “recycle,” but have you come across the term “freecycle“? If not, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered!

Freecycle is an amazing concept that encourages people to repurpose, reuse, and recycle materials they have at home with the goal of reducing waste and promoting sustainability.

As the name implies, “free” means encouraging people to give away items for free in a “cycle” that gives continuity to the process of reuse. It’s a way for people to pass along items they don’t want anymore that helps others and reduces waste.

I had no idea what this concept was until I stumbled upon an app called Karrot. Karrot offers similar features to Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji. Although Karrot is not exclusively about freecycling, it promotes sustainability. When browsing through the app, I found some content tagged with the hashtags #Freecycle. It was then that I realized that this concept was about giving away used items for free. Since then, I have also given away items that I no longer need on the app, and it was inspiring to me.

How to “Freecycle”

You can host a freecycle event or use various websites or apps to list your items and mark them as free. The most notable website in Canada is Freecycle Toronto. Other sites that you can use to find local Freecycle groups are Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, Freegle, Streetbank, Craigslist, Nextdoor, etc..

Using the websites and apps is pretty simple: you just have to take a picture of the item you want to give away, post it with a description that includes the size and condition details, and pickup location. Hosting a freecycle event is another great way to interact with the community and build relationships with people who share the same values of reusing and recycling.

How to Host a Freecycle Event

Harvard University has shared some tips on holding a successful freecycle event:

Group of people at a freecycle event.
  • Pick a date and publicize early.

Publicizing your event will be key to its success, as people need to know when and where it will take place. Consider contacting Humber’s Office of Sustainability to help promote it.

  • Pick a good time.

Timing really matters, so be sure to choose a time that will make it easy for people to attend, like during the lunch hours.

  • Consider pairing with another event.

Harvard suggests that partnering with another event will help boost your attendance, as people who are already attending another event in the area will be more likely to come to your freecycle event too.

  • Collect items in advance so you have enough to give away.
Box of clothes.
  • Make sure you have enough tables to organize your stuff neatly and by type.
Table set-up for a freecycle event.
  • Paper bags or cardboard boxes would be helpful for people to take their items home in. 

Freecycle is a fantastic way to promote sustainability and reuse. With websites, apps and local groups, it’s easy to connect with others who share the same values. Hosting a Freecycle event can bring the community together and encourage people to give away items they no longer need. By following some expert tips, like choosing the right time and location and preparing in advance, you can host a successful event that benefits both the environment and your community. Let’s embrace Freecycle and work towards a greener future!

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