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With Freecycle.org, bargain seekers can find good free stuff more easily; gone are the days of hoping to come upon that gem of a discarded sofa on the sidewalk. Unwanted goods—recent offers included a vintage Raleigh bike, a new Cuisinart ice-cream maker, and a bag of mismatched socks—are posted Craigslist-style for browsing, while someone in search of a bed frame, say, can ask if anyone has one to give. No money changes hands. Deron Beal started Freecycle five years ago in Arizona to get items no longer needed by businesses to nonprofits. What started with one e-mail to 35 friends has grown to more than 4 million members in 75 countries. Beal says the site keeps 300 tons of garbage a day out of landfills. Members join a group based on Zip code so all those cuckoo clocks, bed linens, and clothes are recycled locally.

This article appears in the August 2008 issue of Washingtonian magazine. To see more articles in this issue, click here.

 

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