From FreecycleFAQ
Jump to: navigation, search

Other languages:
English • ‎français • ‎Türkçe

Here's the basic information you need to know about Freecycle.

What is Freecycle?

Freecycle aims to keep items out of landfills by providing an internet listings service to help people give unwanted items to someone else for free. Keeping stuff out of landfills helps build a sustainable future, is good for the environment and builds local and world communities.

Freecycle (officially known as The Freecycle Network) is made up of thousands of groups with millions of members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free. Freecycle groups operate in specific towns or areas - so it's local as well as global.

What is My.Freecycle

My Freecycle was started as a way of providing an internet listings service to help people give unwanted items to someone else for free, specifically run by Freecycle. Whilst some groups are still on Yahoo! Groups, many have made the switch to our new site which opened in January 2009. If your site has not moved over, rest assured, you can still use My Freecycle as a posting tool to post OFFERs and WANTEDs to your local Freecycle Yahoo Group.

It also enables you to track your open posts and to automatically generate a corresponding "TAKEN" or "RECEIVED" post to the local Yahoo Group as well. It doesn't replace the local Yahoo Group but merely makes it easier for members to make and track their posts. Members don't have to use the My Freecycle tools, they may post directly to the local Yahoo Group.

How did it start?

Freecycle was started by Deron Beal in the USA in May 2003 and the first UK group was set up in October of that year. The worldwide membership is now over 9 million in more than 110 countries.

For more about the history of Freecycle, read a bit about how our grassroots organization grew from one to many!

What does it do?

It's simple: Freecycle keeps physical items out of landfills via no-strings-attached gifts.

Who runs it?

Freecycle is run by volunteers and day-to-day decision making is made by grassroots local groups, encouraging local members to use their group sensibly and safely. Each group is run by a team of Moderators who check messages and help members. These are volunteers who give up time to help run groups - they're not paid.

Group moderators consult with other groups at a regional and national level with other support structures available nationally and internationally. Freecycle rules and guidelines are agreed to globally via national moderator groups.

If you want to find out more, click Organization.

Insert non-formatted text here= Where are the groups? =

The Freecycle Network consists of groups all over the world. Click on the map to find a group near you. TFN map.JPG

Some Freecycle groups still use Yahoo! Groups but most groups switched over to MyFreecycle after January 2009.

This website can be found here: My Freecycle.

What kind of things are on it?

Anything that is free, legal and appropriate for all ages. Examples include: washing machines, computers, baby clothes, jam-jars, carpet, plants, building supplies, etc…

Is it just about giving things away?

No, you can ask for things too. To work, Freecycle needs both OFFERs and WANTEDs.

Is there anything which isn't suitable?

  • No pornography
  • No alcohol
  • No tobacco
  • No drugs (of any kind, including all medicines, vitamins, creams, etc.)
  • No firearms or other weapons

Are there any risks?


This Disclaimer is a REQUIREMENT to be sent out to new members and as a monthly reminder.

FREECYCLE™ MEMBERS USE FREECYCLE GROUPS AT THEIR OWN RISK. Please take reasonable measures to protect your safety and privacy when posting to group lists or when completing a direct gifting with another member. By joining a Freecycle list, you agree to hold neither list owners and moderators, nor anyone affiliated with The Freecycle Network responsible or liable for any circumstance resulting from a Freecycle-related gifting or communication.


This Disclaimer is a REQUIREMENT to be sent out to new members and as a monthly reminder.

FREECYCLE NETWORK MEMBERS USE THE LIST AT THEIR OWN RISK. Please take reasonable measures to protect your safety and privacy when posting to the list or participating in an exchange. By joining the list, you agree to hold neither the list owners, moderators nor anyone affiliated with responsible or liable for any circumstance resulting from a Freecycle‐related exchange or communication.

Copyright © 2003 The Freecycle Network All rights reserved ;Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are trademarks of The Freecycle Network, CTM Reg No 4287553 ;Freecycle UK is a Registered Charity (Number: 1118148) and is a Company Limited by Guarantee (Number: 05945013) Basically: use common sense, since you won't know the people you're dealing with personally. But most people using Freecycle find it works amazingly well.

Does it cost anything?

No, it's absolutely free. It's free to join, it's free to post messages, and everything offered on Freecycle must be free as well.

So how is it funded?

For most day to day activities, Freecycle doesn't have funding - Yahoo provides their service for free, and the groups are run by volunteers who give their time freely and aren't paid. Yahoo funds their groups by advertising - they make money when you click on their advertisements. That money doesn't reach Freecycle - it stays with Yahoo.

As a charitable organization, Freecycle welcomes funding in the form of grants, underwriting and donations from the general public. This can be for central efforts like the new website or for local activities. The new website, My Freecycle, also has advertisements (using Google Ads). Money from this does reach Freecycle, and helps cover the costs of hosting and developing that site.

Freecycle is also fortunate to receive some funding for group-specific and regionally specific projects. Grants awarded are used exclusively for the criteria specified in the individual applications.

Local Freecycle groups do not have formal committees or bank accounts. They are part of the overall Freecycle Network, represented throughout the globe.

What do the funds pay for?

The Freecycle Network's current annual budget is running at about $140,000 in income. The funding comes from corporate underwriting, on-site advertising (in the form of a Google sponsor bar), grants and individual donations. Approximately 90% of these funds are used directly for program expenses. The remaining 10% is split evenly between membership, fund-raising and other administrative expenses. Our IRS 990s are posted at the hotlink below as well as on We are delighted to report that we received our 501(c)3 status from the IRS (11/06) and that donations to The Freecycle Network are tax-deductible! We likewise are a charity in the UK. Further, we are registered as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Arizona. Tax deduct-ability is retroactive to our application date in July of 2004.

Our expenses of about $130,000 are mainly in the paying of four individuals and the maintenance of our current website and design of the new community. These individuals include the executive director, two contractors responsible for the current web community and one contractor for the new website design project. We have several servers to this end, coding expense and related site-design expenses. We also are incurring substantial legal expense, primarily in defending our trademark.

Our model is much like that of PBS. We seek to provide a free public forum for our members, and seek grants, underwriting and voluntary donations to fund these efforts. It's a rather unique model for a website, but The Freecycle Network is a unique organization. As we further develop community reuse and recycling on a globally local scale in over 70 countries we are creating a global gift economy in the process. Simply beautiful how one can change the world, one gift at a time.

IRS 990s

What's Freecycle UK's Legal Status?

See Legal Status.

Are all groups the same?

There are some basic rules and guidelines which are agreed to by all local groups. The main rule is that everything must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages with an emphasis on being nice, keeping safe and building a sustainable local and world community.

In addition to the basic required guidelines for all groups, each local Freecycle group may have some additional guidelines (example: the posting of pets or services rather than items). Group moderators will typically consult or poll members about proposed rule changes.

Ok, how do I sign up?

See How To Sign Up.

Now how do I use it?

See How To Use Freecycle