Using Online Recycling Groups

A great idea for people to connect, help each other, and keep many useable items out of the landfill. This guide is about using online recycling groups.

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Recycling is good, reuse is better. Before tossing things out, see if someone else can use them. Post on Freecycle or Craigslist for free and see if your trash is someone else's treasure.

Here's an example. We take a lot of prescription medications in our house (even the dogs) and I always removed labels, washed, and saved bottles for our own reuse. When cleaning the cellar recently I found 2 bags of bottles - more than we would ever use. Before putting them in our recycling bin, I posted them for free on Craigslist just on the off-chance someone would want them. In an hour there were 4 replies! The first 2 people came for them, the other 2 asked me to save their email addresses and contact them when I had more. So not only did I find a home for clutter from my house, I can continue my habit of saving the bottles and someone will use them.

NOTE: Pharmacies cannot reuse the bottles because of the possibility of medications having leached into the plastic, so do not reuse them for food products (spices and the like). The folks who took mine were planning to use them for beads and for electronic parts.

Source: Inspired by a craigslist post by someone wanting plastic peanut butter jars.

By Soup-Lady from near Boston, MA

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Where can I get my children 2 queen mattress sets? They are 16 and 17. Please can someone help with ideas. Thank you.

By Bobbie from Southside

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My Grandson sleeps on a blow up mattress. It thinks it's "neat" and has never complained. He shares a bedroom with his little brother where space is limited so when not in use the bed is either deflated or leaned up against the wall making room for play, etc.

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Can someone tell me how find bed and other furniture for a needed family?

By Michelle

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Your local food pantry many times has access to donated household items; also church sponsored thrift stores will often have a list of things available. Don't hesitate to call because you have nothing to lose but a little time. Good luck.

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Where can I find free beds and dresses for my children?

By Shewana

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I have friends who do the food-pantry thing. They get some really nice clothes there, and have brought me some. I still wash them before I wear them, though, just for safety's sake. I got an old refrigerator & a chair once at a ministry here. The fridge shelves were rusty, but I was able to scour it off. That fridge served well enough for two or three years before giving out. You may also be able to get information on how to get what you need by dialing the national information/referral hotline, 2-1-1.

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Is there anyone that is giving away furniture in west Philly or southwest?

By Kori from Philadelphia, PA

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Go to, look for your state, then the closest town. They will ask you to join the group. I have given and received many items from my group.

Good luck.

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I live in Indonesia. My name is Adi. I really need a free used wedding dress size 10 for my bride. We don't have enough money to buy it and she really wants it. Can somebody help us? Thanks.

By Adi from Indonesia

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Adi, The best sources are local. Churches, community listservs (online "bulletin boards"), freecycle, Craigslist. You could also just "borrow" a dress. Check with Indonesian-American communities online; perhaps someone is returning to your area and could bring a freebie back for you. If all else fails, promise to have a second wedding in the future, the wedding of her dreams (people do that!). But I'm sure that someone will come through for you! Especially check churches in your area!

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If you can't find an item on ebay, or can't afford to bid on ebay for the item, try searching the yahoo groups in the appropriate category for the item you are looking for; i.e. toy collectors groups, etc. If you find a group you are interested in, join the group and post your wanted item. Often, group members who might not have thought of selling an item, offer to sell to members of the group.

By Monica from Cortez, CO

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My husband became disabled in 1985 and then I became disabled in 2005. So we have had to think of ways to cut back and save money. I recently found out about some groups on Yahoo that have helped us considerable. You have to join Yahoo if you haven't already, then you can sign up for these groups. The groups are freecycle, petcycle, tag sale and barter groups. You need to offer something first and then you can put on for a wanted item. It is a good way to spring clean any time of the year also. They have a lot of these sites all over the place. There is even a site you can go to ( and pick your state or a neighboring state and it gives a list of sites in that state or county.

We have managed to get rid of some stuff sitting around the house and have received free items which this year helped us out with Christmas for my son and his girlfriend. We were desperately trying to figure out how to be able to get their Christmas presents so we offered some magazines (5 bags full) and put on a wanted ad for what we wanted. We got a well cared for oak medicine cabinet with mirrors, light bar(w/oak veneer)w/bulbs, oak vanity with sink top with fancy spigot and knobs, a toilet, 2 towel holders and a toilet paper holder. This is going to be given to our son and his girlfriend for Christmas so they will be able to realize their dream of putting a half bath in the upstairs of their home. The cost for us, only the gas to go pick it up. It completely changed our whole outlook on Christmas because we were pretty down in the dumps and this helped to give us back our Christmas spirit. We really enjoy seeing what is being offered and wanted by others and it has helped us clean out some of the stuff we don't use anymore. You know the old saying, "One man's junk, is another man's treasure."

Source: Go to Yahoo and register or if already registered sign in. You can search for groups on that site by typing in freecyle or one of the other types of sites I listed.

By Connie S. from Towanda, PA

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Does anyone know where I might be able to get a used computer that works on the internet? It is for a 79 year old lady on a fixed income and housebound.

By Pauline

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Contact the share project .com There's a woman for California that gives laptops and also desktops to those who can't afford them. Good luck

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There is an online Recycling group here in the Manatee County area of Florida. If you've got more "stuff" than you know what to do with this is the place!

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I belong to several recycling groups in my community. After you join, you write your own postings with items that are either "Want", "Need" or "Offer", but ALL items must be for FREE.

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If you live anywhere near a large, or mid-sized city, it is easy to get free used items in a hurry! All you have to do is use your computer.

Go onto an Internet classifieds site, such as, and search for "free" items under the "for sale" section. You can then search for the items you want by keyword; some of the ads even include photos of the item. When you find what you want, simply email the person who posted the ad; you do not have to join the site or even give your name!

It is important to contact people as quickly as possible, since the terms are usually first-come, first-served. If you can't find what you're looking for at first, be patient. New ads are posted every day!

We got our 20-inch color television and huge wooden computer desk this way; these were items that worked fine, but that the owners no longer needed. How nice to be able to pick up free items from my own neighborhood within a day of emailing these generous folks!

By Melinda

Editor's Note Please do not post personal ads in the feedback. They will be deleted. Go directly to Craigslist for those sorts of posts.


How to Get Free Used Furniture, Electronics, Clothes, and Much More

How would you find something like that in the Fredericksburg, VA area? (07/13/2005)

By sholzshu

How to Get Free Used Furniture, Electronics, Clothes, and Much More

You can also try for posting your needs or those items you would like to get rid of, it's amazing what shows up in the postings. I just lent an arch with lights to a young woman who wanted to make a wedding service for an 85 y.o. couple at her church a little special. She used her creativity and made two special areas with it, decorated the arch with tulle and flower garland for the ceremony, and tacked the lights to the ceiling (with some garland also) over where the couple sat at the reception that followed.

Freecycle is an organization that started out in Ariz. or New Mexico (Senior Moment is upon me) and has spread across the country. There are chapters all over. NJ has them by county or area, there are so many. Doesn't cost to join and no article may be charged for. Happy Hunting! (07/14/2005)

By GraNita

How to Get Free Used Furniture, Electronics, Clothes, an

I always use and they have everything there. Free stuff, free furniture, free everything for all your needs. Just go and look around, you will not look back! It is a great site for people who don't mind used furniture! Happy Hunting! (11/26/2007)

By connie

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Better Living Green Living RecyclingNovember 5, 2012
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