Freecycle growing at double the rate since financial crisis began

While I'm sure ex-Lehman bankers (some of which are my former bosses) aren't scrounging through trash cans for perfectly good hot dogs, like the poster boy for Freecycling in this BusinessWeek article, I love the factoid near the end of the piece: "since Wall Street imploded [Freecycle] has been registering 50,000 more each week, up from 25,000 previously." I have to wonder: are investment bankers now using Freecycle to get rid of their stuff or is it just that people whose credit cards are limited are looking elsewhere for their material goods?

Freecycle may not make good photo ops, like dumpster diving does, but it certainly makes sense in a down economy. Save money and time on trash and dumpster trips by having a network member (and, in all likelihood, complete stranger) haul your unused items away. On the other end, save money and the planet by getting the things you need for free, from someone else who doesn't want them any more. Having built a fence almost entirely out of recycled materials, I can attest to the feeling of satisfaction you get when you achieve the Freecycle twist on the American Dream: getting what the Joneses have, only without the credit card balance.

Even before the stock market started making pretty little hills and valleys for my kids to pretend to drive their (thrifted) Hot Wheels all over it, WalletPop writers firmly believed in the power of free stuff. We stand by our love of Freecycle and any other way of turning trash into useful stuff. The more Americans who opt into this "economy" in which items are freely given and taken with gratitude, the better.

Recession Watch

    A Saudi youth takes a picture of Koenigsegg CCXR, worth nine million Riyal (2,400,128 USD), during a luxury auto exhibition in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah late October 28, 2008. Despite fears of a global recession, economic turmoil and heavy losses in stock markets, Saudi Arabia as well other Gulf countries continue to announce new mega development projects and host luxury exhibitions. AFP PHOTO/OMAR SALEM (Photo credit should read Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Saudi youths inspect a Koenigsegg CCXR car during a luxury auto exhibition in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah late October 28, 2008. Despite fears of a global recession, economic turmoil and heavy losses in stock markets, Saudi Arabia as well other Gulf countries continue to announce new mega development projects and host luxury exhibitions. AFP PHOTO/OMAR SALEM (Photo credit should read Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    A trader rests beside telephones at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila's financial district in Makati on October 28, 2008. Philippine share prices closed 0.5 percent lower with bargain-hunters limiting further falls a day after the key index plunged 12.3 percent on global recession fears, dealers said. The composite index lost 9.42 points to 1,704.41. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Filipino traders monitor share prices at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila's financial district in Makati on October 28, 2008. Philippine share prices closed 0.5 percent lower with bargain-hunters limiting further falls a day after the key index plunged 12.3 percent on global recession fears, dealers said. The composite index lost 9.42 points to 1,704.41. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    A trader conducts transactions on the phone infront of a monitor showing the share prices at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila's financial district in Makati on October 28, 2008. Philippine share prices closed 0.5 percent lower with bargain-hunters limiting further falls a day after the key index plunged 12.3 percent on global recession fears, dealers said. The composite index lost 9.42 points to 1,704.41. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Filipino traders monitor share prices at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila's financial district in Makati on October 28, 2008. Philippine share prices closed 0.5 percent lower with bargain-hunters limiting further falls a day after the key index plunged 12.3 percent on global recession fears, dealers said. The composite index lost 9.42 points to 1,704.41. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 28, 2008. U.S. stocks rose at the open on Tuesday as investors snapped up beaten-down shares and bet that credit markets would see a further thaw, overshadowing worries about the global recession. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES)

    Reuters

    This view shows Anderson bridge against the business district buildings in Singapore on October 28, 2008. Singapore's economy, which is already in a technical recession, will remain weak in 2009 on projections the global economic outlook will deteriorate further, the central bank said on October 28. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange October 28, 2008. U.S. stocks rose at the open on Tuesday as investors snapped up beaten-down shares and bet that credit markets would see a further thaw, overshadowing worries about the global recession. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES)

    Reuters

    Pedestrians walk past an electronic billboard displaying the drop in the main Singapore indices in the financial district of Singapore on October 28, 2008. Singapore shares had tumbled almost 6.0 percent, or 95.86 points to 1,504.42, by midday with investors gripped by fears of a global recession, dealers said. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum