Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Reduce, Reuse, Freecycle!

Part of reducing your footprint, or being "green" as we call it, is really taking to heart the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra. I want to talk a little about the reuse part of that. We all need to buy things, but there are ways to get great used stuff for cheap or free! Craigslist.org is a resource in cities all over the world. Almost anything you could want, you can get on Craigslist. I myself have bought and sold many things (including a car!) on Craigslist and have had great experiences. Furniture, baby stuff, automobiles, yard and garden, hobbies, real estate, etc. - you name it, you can find it. I even used Craisglist when I moved to Portland to network and find out about preschools for my son. Another great online resource is Freecycle.org. Everything, as the name suggests, is free. People post things they want or things they have to give away. You can sign up for the daily digest, and I find that I get sometimes 3 or 4 digests from them per day, and that is just Portland Freecycle! You have to be quick to respond though, because things go FAST.

If you want to be more extreme in your reducing/reusing goals, check out the Compact groups. Here is an excerpt from the yahoo Compact group :
We are a group of individuals committed to a 12-month flight from the consumer grid (calendar year 2007).
The Compact has several aims (more or less prioritized below):
To go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of disposable consumer culture and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step that, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact.
To reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er).
To simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
We've agreed to follow two principles (see exceptions etc. on our blog).
#1 Don't buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
#2 Borrow, barter, or buy used.
The COMPACT PLEDGE is an agreement to not buy anything NEW for one year. Exceptions are made for toiletries, food, undergarments, medical supplies and safety equipment. This pledge should be customized according your needs. We encourage you to be honest with yourself & make this your own personal challenge with attainable goals. You choose how extreme to take it.

I am up for trying to buy clothes at consignment shops such as Buffalo Exchange, or sports equipment at Play It Again Sports, and buying toys and clothes for the kids at various sites (Craigslist, local children's consignment etc), but I don't know how diligent I could be about absolutely not buying new for one year. It would save me a lot of money for sure and help with my ecological footprint - but part of this blog is chronicling our path to greenness. In other words, it is a journey - to me, it means that I am not there yet BUT learning and trying everyday. I will, of course, continue to be a Craigslist frequenter and maybe one day I will act fast and get something FREE from Freecycle. I also think twice, or three times, about the purchases that I do make. I just bought a new puzzle for my son, but bought it at a locally owned toy store and the puzzle brand is a very small company that makes it's pieces out of recycled materials. I think if you are a mindful shopper, you can support your local economy and small businesses AND do the right thing for the environment all at the same time!


Diane said...

I love Craigs' List. We got some furniture through there, and it was kind of exciting to make a find. I've also been preserving all baby things my son grows out of so everything is in excellent condition for selling or donating. Just makes you feel good.

Tiffany said...

Excellent resources all of them. I freecycle my stuff all the time. :)