I heart freebies

I've been using an online-based service Freecycle for quite some time now, and I want to share with you because it's pretty cool. The Freecycle Network claims to be made up of 4,749 groups with 6,737,000 members across the globe.

Basically, it's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

You have to set up a Yahoo! username if you don't have one already, but it's an entirely free service that helps you get rid of things you don't want by matching you with people in your own community who need those items. Or, you can post a "wanted" item, and group members will e-mail or call you with offers. It really is that easy.

First, you'll want to go to the Freecycle home page and search for the city (or county) and state where you live. Don't be surprised when something pops up. Freecycle is everywhere! Click on that group page, and then click view page. You'll be taken to the group page, where you can click the button that says "Join this Group!" You will have to go through a few steps where the group moderator asks a few questions through e-mail to verify you, but after that, you're free to post wanteds or offers on the wall. (Just be smart and meet people for items in public places.)

The basic rules are that everything listed must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. I check the Lebanon (where I live) and Franklin (where I work) Freecycle pages daily.

Things I've given away:

  • When my mom got a new kitchen table, I gave away her old one to a family with two little girls who didn't have a table big enough to eat dinner together.
  • Old tennis balls to a teacher for placing on the bottoms of chairs
  • Small propane grill good for camping (We used it when we lived in an apartment.)
  • Bowling ball with bag
  • Portable garment rack
  • Small Lexmark printer
  • Large Toshiba office printer
I've also gotten some great stuff from Freecycle:
  • A working hood to go over our stove
  • Three large metal shelves to go in our storage building
  • An answering machine for my mom after my dad passed away
Remember the old addage: One man's trash is another's treasure. So, get out of your neighbor's trash can and get Freecycling!


Pop a Wheelie

Today is National Bike to Work Day!

OK, no, you called me out. I did not bike to work today. Regardless of the fact I travel 82 miles to and from work each day, I am ashamed to admit that I don't even own a bicycle.

I had one, but I gave it away. Does that redeem me even a little? Alex and I both had bikes that someone had given us (it's the "reuse" part of that recycle logo) and we gave them to a younger couple in need.

As I think about cycling, it seems like more and more of a good idea. I do live fairly close to town, so it would not be unreasonable to ride a bike to run a nearby errand. The health benefits, not to mention the environmental ones, are a good motivator.

It may not be completely reasonable for you to ride your bike to work, but I encourage you to think about riding somewhere ... anywhere, really.

If biking is your thing, think about organizing a Ride Your Bike to Work day at your office for next year, or even sooner.


Bag it and snag it

Kroger and its affiliate stores are going green! You can create your own design on a reusable bag and enter it into a contest to win $1,000 in free groceries. In fact, just for designing a bag, Kroger will give you a free reusable bag next time your in the store.

They also have partnered with cafepress.com so you can buy your own designed bag! You can create as many as you want. My design (above) is the only one I've done so far—I only have so much creativity alloted per day. :)

You can go to the site and vote for your favorite design once a day. The contest lasts through May 15.

Kroger Design a Reusable Shopping Bag Contest - Vote for My Design

According to its site, Kroger is going green in various ways:

  • Our skylights mean we can max out on natural light and our open ceiling reduces building material.
  • The refrigeration system in our store is so cool, it not only keeps food cold, but it also helps heat our air and water.
  • Energy-efficient fans and dryers inside our frozen food cases keep products frozen while using less electricity.
  • Our overhead lights are smart enough to turn themselves off at night. Motion sensors turn the lights off when no one is around.
  • The light bulbs over the magazines and check lanes are called "compact fluorescents." They last longer and use less energy than regular bulbs.
  • Our concrete floor eliminates the need for tile and its harsh cleaning solvents.
  • Our wide array of organic products results in less pesticide for the ecosphere.
  • Our recycling program includes cardboard, newspaper, glass, etc.
  • Having reusable bags available for your use, as well as our Bag-2-Bag recycling program, reduces waste.

So what are you waiting for?
Bag it and snag it!


Get that TV out of your pajamas!

With an 80-plus-mile commute to and from work every day, I'm pretty lucky to have a boss and company that allows me to work from home one day each week.

OK, let's think about this. My car gets 22 miles to the gallon. If you divide 80 miles by 22, you get that I use roughly 4 gallons of gas each day. With gas at around $2 per gallon, I save $8 a day, or $32 a month, or $384 each year. Just think, back when gas was $4 per gallon, I would have saved twice that—$768 in a year!

When you take those savings and factor in wear & tear on your vehicle, dry cleaning costs for dress clothes, and any number of other factors, that's a big difference. So, not only are you saving money, you're impacting the environment in a postive way by not burning fuel or contributing to air pollution.

With the economy in its current slump, this is actually a good time to ask your boss for the opportunity to work from home. During a time when many companies are experiencing salary freezes, employers may be willing to
negotiate a work-from-home day each week, especially if you're a responsible worker bee.