Introduction

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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 in their own community. 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.

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 local 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 group moderators nationally and internationally. Freecycle rules and guidelines are agreed to globally via our international Moderator Leadership Community.

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

Only some non-English speaking Freecycle groups still use Yahoo! Groups but most groups switched over to Freecycle.org after January 2009.

This website can be found here: Freecycle.org.

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

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?

As a charitable nonprofit organization, we are fortunate to have volunteer moderators who keep the local groups running smoothly. Beyond this, we receive grants, underwriting, royalties and donations from the public at large. Our latest financials can be found here.

What do the funds pay for?

Our funding comes from grants, underwriting, royalties and from donations from the public at large. 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 Guidestar.com. We are delighted to report that we are a 501(c)3 status from the IRS (11/06) and that donations to The Freecycle Network are tax-deductible! Freecycle UK is a charity as well. 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 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, a lead engineer and contractors. We have several servers to this end, coding expense and related site-design expenses.

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 110 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