I like freecycle.org, but this illustrates one of the reasons we created www.GoodNewsForPolarBears.org.

Here’s an email I just received from my Freecycle group administrator today (please note, this is totally unedited by me other than to remove the administrator’s name.  The bold text is mine to highlight a few of the things I’ve been saying for a while):

We moderators got together recently to chat about improving the group.

We decided one of the main problems was the amount of emails we all get.  It seems to be the biggest reason for someone leaving the group.  We currently have over 5000 members now and over 1400 messages a month so we came up with these rule changes in an effort to reduce the number of emails.

TAKEN and RECEIVED messages are no longer necessary

Indeed not everyone uses them anyway but last month there were 258 TAKENs and 26 RECEIVEDs. We suggest that where possible you reply to all members that respond to your message instead of a global message to the group. It is an easy way to quickly reduce numbers.

A TAKEN message should only be used when the item on offer is so popular that you already have lots of replies from which to decide on a recipient and you want to stop any more coming in.

The location is required in all WANTED as well as OFFERED messages

WANTED messages are still very welcome but we want people from areas that have groups of their own to try these groups first. If no joy you would still be able to post here.

Details of how to format your messages correctly can be found in the guides I have created which can be found


<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freecyclewinchester/files/Guides/&gt; .

But here is a summary:

OFFER: [Description of item] – [Location]

WANTED: [Description of item] – [Location]

The guides will also show you how to filter your emails in your email application (such as outlook) or change your delivery method to the daily digest.

Merge multiple emails as much as possible

By this I mean if you have a list of Videos or books to give away please advertise them in one email rather than individually. This goes for grouping similar items, like garden tools, toys and so on.

We hope you agree with these changes because we want as many people as possible to take part in the group.


Freecycle.org is very popular which I think is a great indication of people’s willingness to recycle things by passing them on to others who need them.  But something is wrong when you need an email like this to explain how to post an item, and somehow I believe that you shouldn’t need a ‘guide’ to explain how to structure a listing.  http://www.GoodNewsForPolarBears.org is FAR behind Freecycle.org in members and listings, but then we’re only a few days old, though it does provide a far simpler, more intuitive and better way to enable people to recycle in this way.

Please help us spread the word and grow the community.  It’s entirely free and it’s a non-profit voluntary project; if you have suggestions of how to help the community flourish please email me at BigBear[at]GoodNewsForPolarBears.org