We live in an age of consumerism and excess, where perfectly useful and functioning items are discarded daily. While it’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, the challenge has always been the logistics of having the two parties find each other. Fortunately, today we have many means of connecting. And with the Trash Nothing App, you can browse, chat, or post to the most popular local freecycling networks including Freecycle, Freegle, ReUseIt, and Full Circles. This app facilitates the exchange of free goods, including computers, furniture, books and more.


What is Freecycling?

Although it has a sporty sound to it, “freecycling”, is not a sport nor the latest bike sharing app. It’s short for “free recycling”, and is the act of giving to others or receiving from others usable unwanted items for free. One of the largest freecycling communities is The Freecycle Network™, an international network with more than 9 million members organised into 5,300 local groups. Members list items they would like to give away or items they want. Everything is free, including membership into the network. Our local group, Singapore Freecycle Network, began in 2003, and has more than 15,000 members. For all freecycling members, the mission is the same – instead of throwing things away, they aim to reduce waste and spread goodwill.


What Kind of Things Can You Find on the Trash Nothing App?

Here are some things I found while browsing:


Features of the Trash Nothing App – Some Pros & Cons

I like that you can request things with the Trash Nothing app and website. For other sites like Craigslist and Gumtree, there isn’t a “request” section, only a “barter” or “trade” section. In browsing through the Trash Nothing requests (the “wants”), I was surprised there wasn’t a cheeky listing for “more money”, “to be famous/gorgeous”, “a girlfriend/boyfriend/sugar-daddy”, or “world peace”. All of the want ads seemed genuine. So if you’re feeling particularly generous, and want to make someone’s day, you can play Santa and reply to a want ad. You might even boost your own happiness level in the process.

The only thing I wish the app had was a user interface that displayed photos (like Carousell) instead of a forum style listing. This would make it easier to quickly scan through items. I also noticed that some listings on Trash Nothing didn’t even have photos, so you have to rely on text descriptions. And as with all peer-to-peer exchange apps, you might find old listings of unavailable items, where the donor has forgotten to delete the post.


Other Similar Sites

I’ve personally never transacted exchanged anything through the Trash Nothing app, mostly because there are other sites that I use to give stuff away. These include Carousell, Craigslist, and Gumtree. When I have a lot of items to clear, I don’t bother listing them, one-by-one; I instead take all my items to a local thrift store.

Last week, I listed a vacuum cleaner that’s only compatible with a US/Canada electrical outlet. I brought this item from the States, thinking that I could still use it so long as I had a voltage regulator. But when I read several reports of fire and electrical shortages due to using a voltage regulator with this particular product, I wasn’t willing to take the risk. I thought that finding someone to claim such a specific item, though free, would take several weeks. However, within an hour, I had several replies from people who saw my Gumtree ad. The item was collected that evening by someone relocating to the States.

Sites like Carousell, Craigslist, and Gumtree are great places to post and browse for free things, but these sites are not really designed for making item requests. For making requests, in addition to the Trash Nothing app and website, Freecycle.sg and Pass-It-On are other alternatives. Personally, I prefer the user interface of Freecycle.sg and Pass-It-On since they display their listings with photos. I also feel a particular fondness for Pass-It-On, as it was a project started by the Central Singapore Community Development Council, the district where I reside. Hence, all its recipients are my nearby neighbours.



Some Thoughts

No matter what method you use for obtaining or donating items, you are doing your part to not only save money, but also save the environment. We live in an era of waste – whether it be wasting money, wasteful utilisation of items, wasting resources, or wasting time. Yet there are those around us who may have a great need and may even be food insecure. I recently read an article about a 20-year-old who had to quit her ITE studies to become the sole breadwinner for her 13-member family. Wouldn’t it be nice to efficiently and effectively match those in need and those with excess so that both can benefit? Because the greatest waste of all in the world is human potential. 

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