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Turning trash into treasure

The Freecycle Network making it easy to give and receive items for free

December 30, 2011|Melissa Gaona | Multimedia Journalist

ROANOKE, Va. — Many of us have decided to bring in the New Year with less clutter by cleaning out the closets, the garage and if you're brave enough, even the attic.

Before you throw anything away, there's a group that's making it easy to give and receive items for free.

It's an international nonprofit organization called The Freecycle Network with nearly nine million members across the globe.

Their mission is to keep as many items as possible, especially electronics, out of landfills.

The program is all internet based and members either post what they'd like to get rid of, or what they're looking for.

If other members in your area want the item, or have the item you're looking for, they respond and you both figure out a time and place to meet.


Membership is free but you do need an email account with Yahoo.

Everything posted must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages.

Chris Hanselman got her laptop using Freecycle. She’s not only a user of the program but she’s also the local owner. "People want phones, clothes, furniture, pictures, electronics and even small things like a coat rack,” explained Hanselman.          

Many cities have their own local groups, including one in Roanoke with more than four-thousand members.

Certain items like cars, firearms and pornography are restricted.

Organizers say that members and the website are screened carefully, but they do suggest you still take safety precautions.

For instance, do not meet anyone at their home. Instead, try to meet in a congested area like the mall.

Also, take a friend with you just to be safe.

To find a Freecycle group in your community, visit

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