Community Recycling in Traverse City

I have to chime in again about the TCFreecycle network (www.freecycle.org). I wrote about it last April when I first discovered it but having participated in it for several months I am more enamored than ever.

A staunch recycler and incurable pack rat I’m definitely among kindred spirits with my Freecycle brethren. Recently I’ve unloaded a bagful of three-ring binders, several dozen children’s clothing hangers, an electric blanket, a computer keyboard, and a half-dozen sewing patterns all of which I’d been hanging on to because… Well, I don’t remember anymore, but I’m sure I had a good reason at the time.

You get the idea. Soup to nuts. Sometimes the emphasis seems to be on nuts. Like a few weeks ago when a woman south of town offered two huge bags of leaves. She said they were too heavy for her to lift but anyone who wanted to come and get them could have them. For free, of course. The icing on the cake was they were in pumpkin bags. Of course, this was late-November, but if you had a place to store two large pumpkin bags full of leaves you would be golden come next Halloween. I wonder if she had any takers.

A week later a family in Acme posted this:
OFFER: Beef Bouillon Cubes (Acme)
Unopened, New, not expired.

Most of the postings aren’t this weird. Many are for children’s clothing, books and toys, household items and appliances in various states of repair. Sometimes they’re very specific. Like the person looking for an “e” and an “i” for her Scrabble game. Just one of each, please. I sure hope someone was able to help her out.

I’ve requested a few items myself recently and was pleasantly reminded of how generous our community is. I scored a perfectly serviceable metal shelving unit from a family in Grawn, and it inspired me to organize my basement storage area.

Then last week I requested a pair of snowpants for our Azeri exchange student. She’s on a tight budget and didn’t want to buy snowpants she’ll never need back in her country. Consequently she didn’t care about the color or condition of the pants. Within hours two offers came in. One even came with an invitation for our family to join theirs at a tribal dance ceremony in February. We were delighted to accept. Coincidentally Parvana is working on a big project about the native American community in Northern Michigan. As if this wasn’t enough, imagine her surprise to find that the snowpants were brand new with the tags still attached. And although she would have been just as grateful if they had been hot pink, they weren’t. They were black. Bonus.

So I urge you to check it out (www.freecycle.org) and repurpose some of those treasures collecting dust in your attic or garage. It feels great.

Oh, those bouillon cubes? They were snatched up within the hour.

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