As more of us try to concoct ways to become more “green” or “sustainable,” one of the most tried and true methods to reduce one’s carbon output is to just not buy new items in the first place. It’s easy to focus on solar panels, composting bins, double-paned windows, or weatherizing your home. But if more of us would be content using used products, that alone would make a huge step in reducing the depletion of our resources.
Freecycle and Intuit are onto something. Freecycle, the global recycling and repurposing network that has 7 million users (or “reusers”?), and Intuit, the personal finance software company, have partnered to launch Freecycle@Work, a free online application for anyone to access when establishing Freecycle programs at their companies and educating coworkers about reuse.
Perhaps the unwanted or unneeded items are your household goods. Maybe that file cabinet is hogging room in your cubicle. For the home and office, Freecycle@Work makes it simple to repurpose equipment or to even search for items for a favorite charity of non-profit. Employees can send unneeded office equipment to other departments, or a group of workers can band together and gather items for a favorite charity. Furthermore, employees with access to Freecycle@Work can log into their accounts and view the number of pounds of material that were diverted from a landfill. Freecycle claims that its subscriber bases saves about one landfill’s worth of space daily.
It’s easy to understand why Freecycle works so well. First of all, everyone loves the word “FREE.” To that end, Freecycle states that 80% of goods marked for “FREE” (offered) are claimed and reused; only 20% of goods are posted via a “wanted” link get claimed. For organizations considering such a program, the key is to have a few desirable items posted early on—and then the news goes viral.
The process is simple, but the Intuit-Freecycle partnership can only help people to regain a lost community spirit, while reducing our society’s needs for natural resources as well. For young companies and solo consultants, this is a great way to find cost savings while avoiding having to buy new items.