Admin message to group

Dear Members,

Very recently, a bed was gifted to a member who posted a wanted message for furniture. It turns out that the bed was in bad condition, and it may also have been infested. I’m still working on getting the details of this, which seems to have involved 3 different parties. In the meantime, I’m going to suspend Offers and Wants for beds until 4/30/11. This will also apply to bed linens, comforters, and pillows. Sorry if this causes an inconvenience, but I feel it’s necessary to take a step back on these items right now.

This incident has also brought up a few reminders that I want to share.

Giving vs. dumping
As wonderful as it is that our group lessens the burden on our local landfill, let’s be honest… some things belong in the dump! Let’s not use ANY freecycle group to offload an item because it’s a hassle to transport and pay a fee when that item has no life left in it, or even worse, is infested.

Inspection at pickup is really important
Not every item requires a top to bottom inspection, but certain items do. Furniture, especially mattresses of all kinds, clothing, and even strollers or other child items, should be at the top of everyone’s scrutinization list. Yes, we’re all in a big giant hurry these days, but please remember to take the time to really look at that item before you drive off with it.

Sometimes, it’s okay to walk away empty-handed
Every member of this group needs to remember that all MarinFreecyclers have the right to walk away from the pickup empty-handed. Free is free, but some items should not be going home with you. Use your common sense on this one. If you have a doubt, leave it. It’s just one those things that you’ll know when you see it.

Ask for an advance look
Is the item so large that you will have pay for transport and moving costs? Or even enlist a friend’s help? It’s worth asking to see the item first before you commit to pickup. Yes it sounds like a big hassle, but it could save a lot of time and angst in the long run for both the gifter and giftee.

Thanks for taking time to read this note. I’m posting this at my blog too, so if you’d like to send a comment or continue this conversation, please go to

Have a wonderful Earth Day tomorrow!

The “Original” MarinFreecycle at Yahoo Groups


Want to opt-out of yellow page directories?

I like having a yellow book directory around in case my internet connection goes down and I actually have to look up a phone number, but I don’t need the scores of directories that seem to come year round. Ran across a site today where I can opt-out of receiving them, and wanted to pass this info on. The site was developed by the Yellow Pages Association and the Association of Directory Publishers. They recognize that most people use the internet to look up numbers, so opting out of receiving directories can keep them out of landfills. Opt out here.

Your MarinFreecycling success stories

Do you have a success story you’d like to share? You are welcome to share it here. ๐Ÿ™‚

My favorite wanted posts this past week

Wanted posts are super popular in our group. Sometimes we forget how invaluable they are in reminding us that someone wants something that we don’t use anymore, but haven’t gotten around to posting an offer for it.

I especially like the posts that ask for an item to re-use in a creative way. My favorites this past week were:

WANTED: old wool sweaters โ€” if you have any wool, mohair, angora โ€“ any all animal fiber old sweaters that you don’t want to keep โ€“ any condition โ€“ moth eaten is fine โ€“ you can recycle them with me. I am going to be teaching kids to knit and need the sweaters to felt for them to cut out designs for embellishments. Any colors are fine. โ€”Rena


WANTED: feed bags โ€” Don’t toss them! I’m looking to recycle some of those woven plastic animal food sacks. Bird seed comes in these, also some chicken feeds, and I believe cat food too sometimes. I’ve been using them to make handled grocery bags and wallets. I’m in San Rafael. โ€”Juliana

A high-five to you both for innovative freecycling!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

PS: What were your favorite wanted posts?

Recycling fluorescent bulbs, and household batteries

I got a question this past week about where to recycle fluorescent bulbs — and wouldn’t you know it — a few days later I was also in need of recycling three of my own. As we all move from using incandescent bulbs to fluorescents, to save on energy costs, recycling these new bulbs is a must, as is careful handling. They contain mercury, a hazardous material. It’s said that “no mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (i.e., not broken) or in use, but CFLs release mercury vapor when broken”.

I did some info digging on these bulbs and they’re not without controversy with regards to health and safety, with UV emissions, etc, and that annoying flickering on occasion. Given that federal law has scheduled incandescent light bulbs to be phased out by 2014 (Brazil has already phased them out), I want to do what I can to handle them responsibly from purchase to use to final disposal. There is info about fluorescents all over the web you can find for yourself. I started here. If you have info you want to share here, you are welcome to.

The right way to clean up after a fluorescent bulb has broken, read and print out these instructions. Note: DO NOT USE A VACUUM CLEANER!

To recycle fluorescents (and household batteries) in Marin check this site for locations. I recommend calling them first to confirm they are still accepting. The City of San Rafael also has a great info page on where household batteries are accepted in the county — at most fire stations and city and county offices, community centers and libraries. (Not on the list is my personal favorite: Batteries Plus at 2064 4th Street in San Rafael. They are super convenient for me when driving from SR to Fairfax — their outside drop-off box is always available. They also have a sweet coupon deal for watch batteries!)

Have a great Sunday everyone, and keep on freecycling!