3 New or Noteworthy Things with Freecycle.org: Growth, Mobile Access, and Browser Plug-ins

Posted on June 7, 2009. Filed under: Home & Garden, San Francisco Bay Area, Software & Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

freecycle_logo

Freecycle.org is a “globally local”  online network helping millions of people to recycle and keep stuff out of landfills. This nonprofit gifting movement enables individuals to gift items in their local communities rather than to throw them away.  If you’re not already familiar with Freecycle™,  I wrote an article back in July, 2008 about how Freecycle works.  Here is a very cute Flash slide show about using Freecycle (click on a slide to advance it)

So what’s new and noteworthy with Freecycle.org?

1. The Growth of Freecycle

According to Freecycle.org, it has now  expanded to more than  6.5 million members and over 10,000 volunteers who devote their time and energy to this worthy cause.  Freecycle creates a circle of giving in each of its local communities around the world.  Members are gifting over 20,000 items every day.

The Freecycle Network™ is currently growing at the rate of over 45,000 new members each and every week.  In 2007, Yahoo first noted that Freecycle became the third most searched environmental term on the planet just behind “global warming” and “recycling” and ahead of “earth.”

2.  Freecycle.org Has Gone Mobile – “No Computer Required”

In May,  2009 Freecycle announced it is now available to use on mobile devices following an agreement with Nokia, the world’s largest mobile device company.  The move expands the global gifting network beyond the constraints of the computer to
people’s mobile phones in over 85 countries around the world.

Founder, Deron Beal states that, “The goal is to make it easier to give an item away than to throw the item away, thus keeping good stuff out of landfills and helping Mother Nature. Nokia’s design and support of our new mobile phone functionality makes it easier than ever – no computer required!”

You can access Freecycle’s mobile website simply by typing mobile.freecycle.org into your mobile phone’s browser.

3.  Freecycle Now Has Support for Browser Plug-ins

These plugins are free software which make it easier to use Freecycle groups and get your messages right the first time. There are two versions of this plugin for the two most common browsers: Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. You can find out more and download the plug-ins on the wiki page here.

The project is a collaboration between Edward and Nigel Mundy,
moderator on Eastbourne Freecycle.

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Earth911.com – how and where to recycle almost everything

Posted on January 7, 2009. Filed under: San Francisco Bay Area, Software & Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Earth911.com is your one-stop shop for all you need to know about reducing your impact, reusing what you’ve got and recycling your trash, including:

  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Hazardous
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Electronics
  • Automotive
  • Household
  • Garden
  • Construction

They’ve Got the Hookup

In their recycling database, they can help you find over 100,000 recycling locations across the country. With information provided by local governments, industry insiders, organizations and everyday consumers, you can recycle hundreds of products from packing peanuts to computers. They know where you need to go to get things done.

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Time and Money Saving Tips and Services on Holiday Shipping with the USPS

Posted on December 10, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Order Flat-Rate Boxes.  Check holiday mailing dates.  Request free package pickup.  All at a time and day convenient to U.S. Postal Service customers. One click does the trick at usps.com.

Here are some time-saving tips and free services to help make the holidays a little brighter:

FREE package pickup: Don’t fight Mother Nature. Stay inside where it’s nice and warm and let the Postal Service do what it does best — pick up and deliver mail. Prepare Priority Mail and Express Mail packages then notify us online at usps.com/pickup that they’re ready to be picked up. Free package pickup is available from home or office, regardless of the weather. Unlike other shipping companies, there is no fee for the service.

FREE eco-friendly boxes and envelopes: Send a very “green” holiday message across town or around the world when sending Priority Mail and Express Mail packages and envelopes. The U.S. Postal Service is the only mailing or shipping company in the nation to achieve “Cradle to Cradle”SM Certification for human and environmental health. These supplies are 100 percent recyclable. To make it even easier, the same box can be used for domestic or international mail.

FREE shipping supplies: Tape, labels, international mailing products, even customs forms are available online at shop.usps.com — at no charge. Chose from a variety of Priority Mail and Express Mail envelopes and packages, including the popular Flat-Rate Box, and Priority Mail boxes for mailing videos, DVDs or CDs.  Stop wasting time searching for a cardboard box or abandoned shoe box. Everything you need is online and can be shipped to your home or office.

FREE military CareKits: The Postal Service has created a special mailing and shipping kit designed specifically for military families sending packages overseas. Each CARE KIT contains two Priority Mail boxes, six Priority Mail Flat-Rate boxes, eight Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and eight customs forms with envelopes. Call 1-800-610-8734 and ask for the CARE KIT.

For your convenience and courtesy of the USPS, here is a shipping options fact sheet:

shipping_options_fact_sheet2

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Save money and reduce carbon emissions – Free software helps you manage your PC power consumption

Posted on October 26, 2008. Filed under: Home & Garden, Software & Technology, Utilities | Tags: , , , , |

Edison was developed by Verdiem, a company that has helped enterprises the world over reduce energy waste from IT devices. Now Verdiem is bringing Edison into your home—at no cost whatsoever.

Edison is a free PC energy management tool for everyone. It is an easy-to-use, consumer-friendly application that allows users to set energy savings controls on PCs.  Verdiem’s new version of Edison allows you to choose the level of energy savings you want, set a “sleep” schedule, and see estimated savings. Set it and forget it.

Save money and reduce carbon emissions

According to their blog, at product launch in August, 2008, Verdiem challenged consumers to help support the Climate Savers Computing Initiative’s goal of reducing PC-related carbon emissions by 54 million tons by 2010. If just 1% of the world’s PCs – or 10 million – used Edison, we could reduce PC-related carbon emissions by 7 billion pounds, which is equivalent to taking 500,000 cars off the road (source).

Click here to download Edison and you can start saving energy and fight climate change.

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NeighBORROW – borrow a cup of anything

Posted on October 15, 2008. Filed under: Home & Garden | Tags: , , , |

NeighBORROW.com is a FREE website for borrowing/sharing books, videos, music, tools, and other stuff with neighbors, friends, and colleagues:

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My utility company PG&E is sending me a check for $60

Posted on September 30, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized, Utilities | Tags: , , , |

My utility company in California, Pacific Gas & Electric, also known as PG&E, is sending me a check for $60.00.  Why? About 2 weeks ago, I called 800-299-7573 to schedule a FREE pick-up,  based on their refrigerator and freezer recycling program.  You can also visit www.appliancerecycling.com for more information.

This morning, I had my old refrigerator picked up.  For this, I will receive $35.00. I also had an old air conditioner taken.  If I had brought the window unit to my local dump or had it picked up through my local garbage collection, I would have had to pay them for hazardous waste disposal.  Instead, PG&E is paying me another $25.00.  I’ll get the rebate check in the mail in 6-8 weeks.

Better for the environment and my wallet.

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CraigsList.org – free local classifieds and forums for jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, local community, and events

Posted on July 21, 2008. Filed under: Entertainment, Home & Garden, Travel & Leisure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

I didn’t make any entries in my blog over the weekend because I was busy with other things, socially as well as home improvement projects. One of the projects involved perusing Craigslist.org in my area for free sod leftover from other landscaping projects. Craigslist provides free local classifieds and forums for jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, local community, and events. It was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark in the San Francisco Bay area, and given that and the population here, the SFBA Craigslist site is probably one of the largest. It’s been a fantastic resource for me.

I have found jobs and clients on Craig’s List, employees and interns, a seamstress to inexpensively recover some chair cushions ($20 and she even piped the edges), offered short term housing rentals, found garage sales, auctions, advice, and good stuff for cheap or free. Recently, my coffee grinder broke and I was able to get a good used replacement for $1. There is a fee for job posting if you’re an employer.

CraigsList has grown tremendously all over the world. As of September, 2007, Craigslist had established itself in approximately 450 cities in 50 countries. Recently, my sister in southern Maine very excitedly informed me that they finally have a CraigsList site for her area, previously the closest was metro Boston.

Back to the sod. I found two sources within 3 miles of my own home and was able to pick up about 100 square feet of free sod. Cut sod has a pretty short shelf life. My gardeners don’t come until Wednesday, and I am no green thumb, but I looked up “how to DIY” online. It was relatively easy. I worked up a little sweat breaking up the packed down soil to prepare it for the sod and a roll of sod can be rather heavy. I was able to install the 8 rolls on one side of my brick patio area in a little less than an hour, including giving it a good watering. One of the sources had leftover dwarf fescue, the other unknown, but they seem to match pretty well. It’s not as perfect as if I had gone through a professional landscaping service or a single supplier, but it looks so much better than before as you can see from the photos. To complete the job, I probably still need another 150 square feet for the other side of my brick patio. So I will continue to search Craigslist for FREE sod daily.

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Freecycle.org – Give something or Get something

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: Home & Garden, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

I joined Freecycle in my local community a few years ago when I first read about in it the Parade magazine that comes with the weekend newspaper.

As stated on their website (stats as of today): The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,537 groups with 5,416,000 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on “Browse Groups” above the search box.

When you sign up with a local Freecycle group on Yahoo, make sure you read and follow the rules of engagement specific to that town or group. Basic protocol works like this: you post to the group an OFFER for something you have and would like to give or a WANTED request for an item you would like that someone else may have, but not be using or want. If you post a WANTED request, and receive the item, you should post a RECEIVED message. People who OFFER items can decide at their discretion who to give an item to, non-profits are often given first priority. It may also go to someone on a first come, first served basis, or just because someone likes how you replied to the offer. Some givers will post a PROMISED message so they stop getting email responses to their OFFER post. Once the offered item is picked up, the giver will post a TAKEN message to the group.

If you read my magicJack post, you know that I recently posted a WANTED request for a digital answering machine. A few days went by with no responses, and I started researching purchasing one. But once again, Freecycle came through for me. I received an email from someone who said he had just purchased a combo cordless phone with built in answering machine and he no longer needed his older AT&T 1750 model. He said it still worked fine except for the time date stamp feature wasn’t always accurate. That was okay with me, so I responded I would gladly take it. He emailed me his address and said he would leave it outside next to the garage and I could pick it up anytime the next day or evening. It works great and now I can cancel my AT&T voicemail service.

Examples of other things I have received on Freecycle:
– small set of free weights
– Mrs. Meyer’s green cleaning products (it turned out the woman who bought
them has an allergy to rose oil)
– a Petmate cat drinking water fountain
– a bicycle tire pump
– a crockpot cookbook
– the game Cranium

Examples of some things I have given on Freecycle:
– a cat carrier
– a small computer desk
– an adjustable metal bedframe
– the game Trivial Pursuit
– some old, but still usable, garden tools

I have never really had a bad experience using Freecycle, but once, after I had picked up a box of used canning jars, I received an email requesting them back, because the man had not checked with his wife first. I guess he was in “trouble”. Of course, I was disappointed, but let him pick them up. I have also received items, because I was “next on the list” of responders, when someone never showed up to pick up the item. So be aware, that does happen on occasion.

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