“Our mission is to build a worldwide sharing movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”
An account of the social innovation and a description of the phenomena, development, or problems it addresses, including how it differs from previous attempts at addressing the problem.
An analysis of the strengths and possible shortcomings of the approach.
This social innovation actually addresses three problems: reduction of waste, preservation of precious resources, and the uniting power of community
What makes this social innovation different from others in attempting to solve the issue of reducing waste is that without an incentive to reuse items, people won’t be motivated to stop wasting. What freecycle.org offers is a genuine incentive for people to save resources and stop wasting
Freecycle.org is simply a website that allows members to give things away to neighbors (and receive things) for free. The concept is very simple, yet the results of this idea lie in the multiple global problems that it addresses. Most social innovations would find dealing with one issue satisfactory, but freecycle.org attends to three distinct problems: reduction of waste, preservation of precious resources, and creating communities to unite people. All of these issues are very problematic. The world’s landfills are piling up at an exponential rate, and room to place waste is shrinking, further adding burden to the lack of habitable lands for life. Likewise, it is more difficult to acquire simple goods due to a growing lack of natural resources. Societies are becoming more and more alienated; there is so much division and hatred that leads to lots of tensions and flares. Having a large community in which anyone can participate in would do wonders in fixing this issue.
What makes this social innovation different from others that attempt to solve these same issues is that without an incentive to reuse items, people won’t be motivated to stop wasting. What freecycle.org offers is a genuine incentive for people to save resources and stop wasting. “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure”, like they say, so taking advantage of people’s wants and desires helps give people a reason to reuse items.
This program is very efficient, having a well-oiled system with a smooth and intuitive interface. It is easy to sign up and get started right away, and there are many locations in which there are active groups, so members don’t have to go far to trade with others.
Of course, one big plus to this organization is the fact that there are no entry fees or costs at all. One just simply joins and trades immediately. Therefore, there is very high demand for people to give away unused items and receive valued ones, making the market very large and diverse as well.
There are a few shortcomings to freecycle.org that somewhat tarnish its otherwise spotless reputation. There have been several complaints regarding the moderators of the organization, that they denied some members items for no real reason. Clearly, there is some mismanagement, that these type of people would be allowed to moderate.