There are simple solutions to managing waste, by recycling, helping the environment and saving you money at the same time.
‘Freecycle’ is a completely free trading website which allows you to get rid of items you no longer need or find ones that you do. Anything from old computers to wardrobes, that would usually go to the skip (further bolstering our growing landfill-sites), is advertised on the site along with a persons contact details. Anyone can then contact the person and arrange to pick up the goods. There is no exchange of money and trading one item for another is discouraged. Freecycle is a worldwide phenomenon but regions have their own section of the site so people can make exchanges in their local areas.
Dundee (among others) has had a trade in discarded goods like this for years, but because everything has to be stored in a warehouse, the charity who runs it is obliged to ask for a small fee for each item, not very much, but freecycle completely removes the need for any exchange of money.
In a world that has moved from Industrial to Technological acceleration there may yet be redemption for our polluting sins.
Very simple schemes like this are a testament to the radical effect of the internet on all aspects of life. It has already altered the way we consume news and entertainment by cutting out the middlemen. It truly is the people’s medium and is now helping us to achieve sustainable living by giving life to online communities. Where the internet is connecting people across the globe it is now helping to reconnect people who live next door to each other.
It is clear now, that in raising civilisation to new heights we have ignored the long-term principle of sustainability; it seems to be a sad feature of human activity, that it takes a looming crisis to spur people into action. However, greater understanding equates to better foresight, and it is essentially the gift of foresight which separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. That is why there is still hope for a better, more egalitarian future – this feeling is reflected in the rhetoric of the Presidential elections in the United States, hollow sentiments perhaps? But the advance of technology provides us with real opportunities to treat the planet and its inhabitants better. One thing is obvious, that the current structure of the international economy will collapse if not altered and is already damaging our planet. This is a vast and complex issue that will only be addressed by the formation of new philosophies, a long process which is happening all the time.
There are many ways to approach the problem of sustainability; by making laws to regulate industry, developing new technologies, building more energy efficient housing, etc. But what is required in the long run is an alteration of the structure of daily life, of lifestyle, values and expectations. Many people are growing concerned about environmental and energy issues and want to make changes to their own patterns of living. They can do this easily by engaging with very simple ideas like Freecycle and save a few bob at the same time.
You can visit the website at www.freecycle.org