'Freecycling' gets a local start

Staff Writer

So you recycle your soda cans and glass bottles. All your plastics are dutifully cleaned and sorted by number, and you refuse to throw out any paper product that could be reprocessed.

What about that Abglutomizer 3000 you bought off a TV ad that now sits in the closet taking up space and mocking your infomercial weakness?

What about the faux-leather couch that has to go, but will not fit in your car?

What do you do when a yard sale is too much hassle, and a thrift store is not handy?

You Freecycle!

Started in the Tucson area in May 2003, the Freecycle movement has spread to almost 2,000 cities with 729,000 people participating.

The premise is that one man's trash really can be another's treasure. Using a local e-mail forum, members can "post" their unwanted whatevers and other members who may be interested in the item can e-mail back. Arrangements are made and the item is given to the interested party free of charge.

Santa Ynez resident and owner of a local childcare center Lindsey Hinnrichs stumbled upon an article about freecycling in a magazine.

"It's a nice way to get rid of items jamming your garage, and if you happen to see something someone has, it's a nice way to get something new," said Hinnrichs.

She looked around and joined existing groups in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. Items she has either given or received include a Stairmaster, weight bench, pilates equipment, barbecue cooker, book shelves, desks, playpens, children's clothes and books.

The stuff may be free, but the task of delivery or pick-up is not, which is why the Freecycle program is designed to be community-specific. And so Hinnrichs decided to start up a Freecycle group here in the valley.

"I figured there had to be great stuff in the valley that needed homes other than in our landfill," she said.

While the local Freecycling branch sports only two members currently, rapid growth is possible. The Santa Barbara branch, for example, added 18 new members last week. With easy sign-up and a lot of unwanted fruitcake to get rid of, Hinnrichs is hoping the Valley will embrace the movement.

SYV Freecycling can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SYVFreecycle/

Dec. 28, 2004

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