Brad Wallis is a photographer, living in Portland, who frequently engages ‘free-cycling’ to constantly support his art. Recently he has developed a passion to give his possessions to absolute strangers. He derives a lot of pleasure and satisfaction by giving his valued belongings. Wallis has even become excessive generous by going out of the way to include additional items. Although he required some of these parts, he has assembled it along with the parts he did not require, and has given it to the benefit of the recipients.
Wallis has said that he has also received useful items he required from strangers. He has admitted that being born and brought up in a poor family, he tends to collect and keep objects not required, in the hope that some day it would be useful. However nowadays using technology, objects that are being felt as useless by the owner can be transferred to somebody who may require it. In this way, such objects would be prevented in accumulating in the landfill.
In real life, it may be difficult to find someday who can use an object which is not required by the original owner. However, through the internet, a network is existent for to get rid off and to share such objects with others. Such a community has promoted the sense of gift-giving.
Free-cycle began in the summer of 2003, and has rapidly spread throughout to several cities of the World. The website has more than 2000 members, and unlike any other shopping site, the objects come as gifts absolutely free. The website has created an environment for sharing and gift-giving.
Besides gift-giving, the website has also helped people get rid of objects that are not required and occupy a lot of space in their homes. Some instances include an old washing machine that very well works but has not been used, a dog carrying cage, excessive coffee mugs, etc. The author also gives instances in which new objects, not required, have been given through the website.
Decron Beal started the first Free-cycle list in May, 2003 in Tucson. He wanted to connect people in region in the hope of sharing objects not used, in a non-profitable manner. This kind of listing has been adopted in more than 82 cities around the world such as Bangalore, Tokyo, Washington, Orlando and Kansas City.
In order, to offer or get an object through the website, an individual has to simply post his message. Barter and trading is allowed, but buying and selling is not permitted. Individual who enter the website exclusively to get free-stuff would soon realize that spaces in their homes are getting filled up.
The Website also helps to prevent certain items (that may not be required by one individual) from going waste. A good example of this is mentioned by Bryan Cordova, who is a recycling expert in Tucson. He had received gift coupons for dog food from a local supermarket store. However, he did not use this particular brand. He prevented it from going waste by giving it to another individual who used and needed that particular brand of dog food.
Free-cycling is different from charity organizations, in the sense that the person giving the item knows the person receiving it. Many people using the website feel that it is very convenient for them to get ride of single objects. They feel it better than making a trip with several items to the nearest charity office. Many people are quite satisfied because they have got rid of several items and have created additional free space in their homes.
Martha Blake, who is the moderator of the Columbia George Free-cycle list feels that people on the website besides doing the right things by helping other people, are also protecting the environment.
However, Free-cycling may also have some negative points. People say it is a means of shuffling junk items from one individual to another. However, as the internet is a very efficient communicating device, in the future people may find somebody who dearly needs their things, thus propagating the concept of ‘no junk’.
I do feel that Free-cycle is a website that promotes gift-giving and sharing amongst peers. It is also offers an effective waste management and recycling solution. Many objects that are not recyclable and yet can be useful to others can be given out. I feel that Free-cycle should be made available in each and every country and city of the world. A strong environment for sharing gifts and helping fellow humans is being created. The website is significantly contributing towards the protection of the environment as many objects are being recycled and a lesser number of objects are reaching the landfill.