For immediate release – February 16, 2012
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Freecycling in Ottawa – 8th Anniversary; 33,000+ Members!
Sunday, Feb 19th, 2012, Ottawa, ON – The freecycling phenomena celebrates its eighth birthday with over 33,000 members in the Ottawa area today. Worldwide, freecycling has grown to almost 9 million people in 85 countries around the world.
No one could have imagined that what began in 2003 as a small circle of friends in Tucson Arizona collaborating using the Internet to save some old furniture from the landfill would have evolved into the vast freecycling movement of today. Freecycling struck a sensitive environmental nerve within humanity igniting a passion for maximizing the utility of the “stuff” in our communities.
In Ottawa, freecycling started rather slowly on February 19th, 2004 when TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Ottawa Chapter board member, Eric Snyder, launched the first Ottawa freecycling group now known as FullCircles Ottawa, filling an obvious vacuum in Ottawa.
Eight years later, freecycling has grown to include 33,000+ people in more than 35 FullCircles, Freecycle, ReUseItNetwork groups. Other popular sites like kijiji, usedottawa, Facebook, etc have added Free sections reflecting the growing popularity of the idea in North America and all over the world.
In these 8 years we saw the start of a paradigm shift where a novel idea, an expanding technology and new economic and environmental conditions changed the way we look at ‘garbage’ and ‘old stuff’. We now see them as resources and treat them differently. Throwing something in the garbage is becoming a social faux-pas.
We are happy and proud to have been an instrument of this change.
What is freecycling?
In our throw-away, consumption society, freecycling gives new life to unused, unwanted items… things that are frequently out of sight… hidden… cluttering closets, basements, garages… clogging our living spaces. Or things that end up at the curb and in landfills prematurely. Freecycling gives them full value and moves those still useful things to people who want them and will actually use them.
The benefits are obvious and immediate… uncluttered, simplified households; reduced waste; reduced spending; conservation of energy and natural resources, and, of course, less (good) stuff ending up in landfills.
By activating unused items, freecyclers squeeze maximum value from the surplus “stuff” already in our community’s inventory, reduce the need for members to buy already available “stuff” with after tax $$, and reduce unnecessary use of natural resources and energy to manufacture even more stuff.
A old school economist will point out that we are not helping ‘the economy’, where the more we produce and waste the better off we are thought to be. We have seen the results. To that freecyclers respond that a new economy is emerging where all resources and pollution will be adequately priced and we strive for Zero Waste.
The freecycling goal is to ensure that the “stuff” in our lives goes Full Circle and is indeed used up before it is discarded or hidden away. Proudly celebrating their 8th anniversary in Ottawa, freecyclers think that it is a wonderful thing to be sharing this planet’s abundance with each other. ”Working together, we can help keep our planet green”, says Ottawa FullCircles founder, Eric Snyder.” This non-profit gifting movement operated entirely by many volunteers across the region, enables individuals to gift and “rescue” items locally in their communities.
Each city, town, neighbourhood has volunteer moderators and a unique e-mail group. Anyone living in that area is then welcome to post items to be given away or to seek items which they might be able to use. Whether it is an old door, a pile of dirt or a computer, it’s probably being given away on one of the local groups already up and running as you read this article.
Find and join a group in your neighbourhood — Ottawa.FullCircles.ca.
Liberate a garage, basement, closet, or drawer near you.
Interviews with a local facilitator can be arranged by contacting:
Ottawa, ON K2J 2P6