I recently came to know of a Freecycle group in Hobsons Bay, started by Bill McPherson, an Altona/Seaholme resident. This is probably a nascent group, with about 70 members. There is a considerable number of Freecycle groups in Melbourne, with Melbourne Freecycle (MFC) being the largest and Werribee Freecycle (WFC) also being a major group. Click here to see what Freecycle groups are available in Victoria.

The Freecycle Network (TFN) was founded in 2003 by Deron Beal in Tucson, Arizona of the United States. At that time, Deron was working with RISE, a small nonprofit organization that provides recycling services to downtown businesses. Rather than seeing perfectly good items being discarded, the team at RISE often found themselves calling or driving around to see if various local nonprofit organizations could use these items. Deron came up with an easier way by setting up an email list that allowed members to give and receive items. The Freecycle concept has since spread to over 85 countries comprising 4,909 groups with 8,103,367 members around the world, as of Jan 2011 (Ref 1).

The mission statement of TFN is “To build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community“. Through promoting unconditional gift economics, the TFN helps to instill generosity, strengthen local community bonds, keep reusable items out of landfills and promote environmental sustainability.

Each local group is moderated by local volunteers. TFN groups originally operated through Yahoo Groups mailing list but this has now moved to a centralized, custom site using TFN’s own MyFreecycle software. Groups approved by TFN are listed at the official website, can use the name and logo, and are subject to its rules.

To join a local group, you will need to register as a member. Then you can start posting items to offer and “Wanted” requests to the group. Members will receive emails posted to the group. If you are interested in any particular item being offered, contact the offerer directly through email.