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Eight days of happiness: five

My town has a lot of antique shops. One of them has a sign in the window that says "Going green? Buy antiques!"

Why does that make me happy?

I used to read several "green" blogs. Eventually I stopped because I got really sick of the blogs advertising all these green products you could buy, mostly for very high prices, and rarely ever reminding people "But actually, buying new products, even green ones, isn't as good for the environment as not buying new products."

So I think the sign is a good reminder: "Hey, if you buy this thing that someone already made, it's better than using up even more resources to buy something brand new."

And it's a clever form of marketing. (Well, in theory. I haven't actually bought anything in that shop, and I don't even remember which one it is. I just smile when I drive past the sign.)

While I'm on the subject of reusing things, I'll put in a plug for http://www.freecycle.org/ — another way to get things that someone already made into the hands of people who will put them to use. It's an organization that supports a lot of local mailing lists where you can post that you are giving something away or that you want something. I've had both good and bad experiences with my local groups—mostly reasonably good.

Some of the folks on my friends list talk about barter, which also seems like a good thing. I've never done it myself except for informally with friends.

What are your experiences with freecycle / barter / other ways of redistributing things?


Dec. 17th, 2008 07:52 am (UTC)
While packing up our home to move last year I used free-cycle frequently to give items away, I was paid well by every happy, smiling, thankful face that showed up at my door. I only had a few duds who didn't pick up their items, but someone usually would snap up the items if I posted them again. I have picked up a few things for friends, and our book club, but nothing I have kept so far.

Craigslist is awesome, I recently acquired a new stainless steel fish poacher for $10.00. I sold all my moving boxes and bubble wrap from my recent move instead of putting it in a landfill. When we recently moved into a home that required flooring I saved $4,000.00 on installation by utilizing a company that advertised on Craigslist that they had a canceled job and were offering a deep discount to fill that time frame with work. I did interview 8 contractors for the job and was very satisfied with the flooring installation by the contractor I found on Craigslist. I have been a little nervous about going to someones home to pick items up, no problems so far, unless you count the problem I have getting away in less than a half an hour since the seller's are usually chatty.

I have not bartered in a long time, more than 10 years. I used to live on a farm in the Midwest and found people wanted to barter for fresh garden produce, eggs, fishing privileges, or to spend a day roaming the property. Some of my favorite items I received by bartering; 1 gallon jar of honey, assistance with killing, cleaning and freezing chickens (a job I hated and earned my chickenwitch nickname from), fresh milk (yum, eating the cream off the top), butchering services for the cow I received for allowing grazing on my land for a month. I hope to barter in my new community, I am hoping to trade fresh produce for heavy garden work, and tree trimming in the spring.

I also offer items I am planning on giving away to friends and neighbors, if all else fails I donate to the goodwill industries.

I am trying to compost kitchen scraps to keep from sending to much garbage to the landfill. I use canvas bags for shopping when they are not full of books from the library, I reuse grocery bags in many ways, and I throw small items I purchase into my purse instead of taking a bag at the store. When we go out for pizza I take a plastic container from home to put the left over pizza in, that way I save the $1.00 they charge for a takeout box, and don't throw a big cardboard box into the trash.

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