craigslist versus freecycle

19 10 2009

craigslist vs.

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Craigslist originated in 1995 in San Francisco – initiated by Craig Newmark, craigslist started out as an email list of local events in the SF area.  Today, craigslist has expanded to 700 areas in 70 countries.  Users can post, largely for free, classified ads ranging from jobs to housing, goods to services, romance to local activities – even personal advice!  For parents, craigslist can be a literal goldmine of baby and kids gear – well-used, in good condition, used only once or twice – or the real find: still in the box!  Received doubles at a baby shower!  My best craiglist find – a backpack carrier for $30, barely used, the day after our carrier broke in half (*yikes*don’t ask – no injuries!).

The Freecycle Network, born in 2003 thanks to Deron Beal, is a non-profit organization and a movement of people interested in keeping good stuff (not always working or perfect stuff) out of landfills – up to 55 tons of goods a day!  Freecycle exists to establish a “worldwide gift economy”… and many folks are thinking – “awesome!  free stuff!”  But, freecycling’s a two-way street – freecyclers are expected not only to take, take, take — but, also to benevolently contribute to the community.  You can google Freecycle groups in your area and to find out more about how Freecycle works, click here.  Wanna check out some extreme freecycling?  Junk Raiders is a Discovery Channel Show featuring two freecyclers and a crew on a mission to transform a fully functional live/work space in Toronto on a budget of $5000 – and everything and anything that can be re-used, re-shaped, re-fitted, or re-built.  It’s so cool!  Our best freecycled gift – a 4-drawer filing cabinet.

What I love about Freecycle is the transparency and genuine sense of community.  Freecyclers are not shy about letting you know that what they are offering is used, slightly damaged, or missing parts. A face-to-face encounter with a fellow freecycler is warm and personable – it’s like a mutual pat on the back because you just did something good for planet Earth.

And, it’s not to say that craigslist doesn’t hold an important place in our communities – though a step up from a neighbourhood garage sale – sometimes I feel that craigslist users perhaps exaggerate or over-estimate the worth of the item they are posting… I would be wary and do a bit of homework.  Also, I have experienced craigslist buyers often trying to make a low-ball offer.  Personally, I just find that it lacks the warmth and friendliness of a freecycle “gift”.

References:

craigslist factsheet, http://www.craigslist.org

How the Freecycle Network Works, How Stuff Works, http://money.howstuffworks.com

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