One Man's Trash...

9 years 7 months 3 weeks ago August 02, 2007 Aug 2, 2007 Thursday, August 02 2007 Thursday, August 02, 2007 12:35:15 PM CDT in News

"There are so many things that still have good use," Freecycle Patron Lesa Swartwood said. "Look, this stuff looks practically new, and if it's not it's still really useful. Sometimes people will tell you, 'Oh, it needs a new spring.' It still doesn't warrant being put in a landfill."

A group of environmentally friendly, computer savvy people started the Freecycle network in Arizona in 2003.

Joan Berry Morris started the Fulton program shortly after.

"We do property management with my company, and renters will leave behind whole apartments full of useful items that we would have to pay to be brought to the landfill," Morris said. "And, I just thought there had to be a better way to deal with that problem."

"It's a give and take, and not a dime exchanged," Swartwood said. "The best part is knowing you're keeping things out of the landfill, and you're helping the environment and helping other people."

"It works along with our goals to try to minimize the waste in the landfill," Fulton city representative Matt Harline said. "We have a finite amount of space for that landfill. At that point we have to go through the expensive process of expansion or look at other options.

So, instead of pitching it, why not give it away?

"It feels better to find somebody who wants it and can extend its useful lifespan," Morris said.

Lesa Swartwood has given away more than one hundred items, and received almost as many, like flowers and a bench, which she placed in her memorial garden.

"I've gotten rid of four different couches," Swartwood said. "We've gotten rid of an oven, a solid wood dining room table and six chairs, a baby bed."

Swartwood currently has puppies that are up for grabs through Freecycle.

Though eBay is another option for ensuring reuse, Swartwood said she'd rather not take that route.

"That's not fun," Swartwood said. "It benefits, but its not enjoyable to me anyways. I'd rather do something where I know I'm helping other people."

"It's easier to me to try to find somebody who wants to use it than try to advertise it and show it, and dicker about price," Morris said.

On the Freecycle website, you can post either a wanted ad or an offer, and the Freecyclers match themselves up.

"People have amazing uses for things that other people would normally discard," Morris said.

There are also Freecycle programs in Columbia and Jefferson City.

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