Medfield resident Rose Caira is an avid recycler and ... Freecycler.
Freecycle is a Yahoo community group that offers a way for people to give their no-longer-needed items with strangers who might need them. It also offers a forum in which people can request items for which they might be looking.
Caira is a member of the Walpole/Norwood/Foxborough/Sharon group. Medfield does not have its own group.
“I use the site because it's an excellent forum for giving away and finding items that may otherwise end up in a landfill - especially items that you wouldn't necessarily want to, or be able to, sell,” said Caira.
“I am a big believer in 'Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.' and it really makes me happy when something of good value can be re-used and enjoyed or appreciated by someone else,” she said.
In the last five years, she has given away a wide variety of items including baby and children's clothes and shoes, children’s desks, antique furniture, electronics, plants, yard tools, and chain link fencing.
Caira said one of the downsides to giving away free things is that some people do not pick them up when they say they will which happens frequently.
But she loves the Freecycle concept.
“My greatest finds on Freecycle include the materials to make a chicken coop, which I designed and built; about 85 to 90% of the materials to build it were gleaned from generous Freecyclers. These included wood, insulation, windows, wire and chainlink fencing, cedar shakes for shingling, and roofing materials,” said Caira, who is also a member of the Needham Freecycle group.
Barbara of Medfield – whose Freecycle handle is “quiltace” – has been a member for about three years.
“I use it because I have things that still have a life and I would like to keep as much of our items out of the landfill as possible,” she said, noting that she visited a nature museum and learned how long it takes certain materials to break down over time. “That was a big eye opener.”
Barbara has used Freecycle to find many useful items including some “amazing” things for her grandchildren.
“I think it's great because a lot of times you can get something to use as parts to be able to keep something you can repair, and it's also great for plants and tools and all sorts of things that break that someone has to offer,” she said.
Linda Kennedy started the Walpole/Norwood/Foxborough/Sharon group in 2004 after moving to Walpole from Watertown where had been an avid Freecycler.
She now serves as moderator of the Walpole group, making sure the group runs smoothly, that members follow the rules, and approving applicants who want to be part of the group which boasts more than 2,600 members.
“It's a great organization, and its mission, which is to keep usable items out of our landfills, has both global and local impact,” she said.
How it Works
If you have an item you want to give away, post a message on the Walpole Freecycle website. That message is put on an electronic bulletin board and sent to all members who ask to be notified when an item is listed. People will respond directly to you via email.
When you select someone to “win” your item, you create a pick-up plan, leave the item on your porch/lawn/driveway at the designated time, your fellow Freecycler picks it up, and the item has moved on to a new home.
If you see a posted item that interests you, you respond to the email with a pick-up plan. Most people are eager to get the item out of their house as soon as possible. You then go to their house and pick up the item.
If you are searching for something – anything from a beach towel to Christmas decorations to baby clothes to a refrigerator – you post a WANTED message.
For more information about the group and how it works, click here.