Fighting for freerecyling

An interesting spin

And interesting spin on freecycling is 2good2toss, which runs across Washinton State, USA.  Largely items are free but items may be sold, up to a certain limit.  Another key difference is that this one is sponsored by Washington State Dept of Ecology, so if you are considering asking your council for financial assistance then here is one precedent that may help your arguments.


July 21, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle

1 Comment »

  1. Hello Andy,

    My Google Alerts picked up reference to on your blog. My company created and manages the software system for the 2good2toss website and about 30 others, including Ecocycle Exchange in Boulder-Colorado, in Madison-Wisconsin, in Newton-Massachusetts, and, and in British Columbia, Canada.

    We currently have about 45,000 account holders using the various websites, and many more ‘browsing’. Website visitation is about 25,000 people per day.

    All websites except the first are supported by Municipalities.

    The websites in British Columbia are a partnership between the Municipalities involved, and the Recycling Council of British Columbia.

    The reason municipalities are supportive is that the software includes a tracking mechanism so we can provide reports on the amount of waste diverted by weight, by tipping fee and/or waste management cost).

    We also calculate Greenhouse Gases avoided using a methane-emission method currently, and a life-cycle assessment method (in progress).

    We designed the system from the beginning to be a waste diversion tool for communities. In addition to the waste exchange, the websites contain a Reuse/Recycling A-Z Guide (which we call the Recyclopedia), Reuse/Recycling Business and Organizational Directory, and a Yard Sale Events listing capacity. We are continuing to develop and build out these tools, and to add new tools as we have time.

    Because of the cost of the servers and I.T. development, we’ve built the website and service entirely from client support. Which has meant we’ve paid a lot of attention to making sure we provide what clients need, and what will work. We ‘rent’ the software/service rather than selling it; this means that it is in our best interest to make sure it works without a lot of maintenance. In the “buy” model, once you’ve bought, you’re stuck with what you have. In our model, we’re responsible for making sure it works (well).

    We are just now beginning to provide these websites to other communities where municipal councils may not provide support, and we’re doing that by working with local environmental groups and/or individuals to find and place ‘green sponsorship’ on the websites. For example, see in southeast Michigan. We will be opening new services in California, Pennsylvania and Ontario in August.

    By the way, we also provide websites for Commercial Use in waste reduction. See (supported by the City of Calgary and operated by the Clean Calgary Association), (supported and operated by the British Columbia Recycling Council), (supported and operated by the State of Georgia, (supported and operated by the Wharton School of Business at the U. of Pennsylvania, and (same)). We are currently preparing a website for the City of Chicago for commercial waste exchange purposes.

    I formerly worked as a Parks Canada National Park Superintendent, and after that as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Exec Director. I have also helped with community capacity development in Northern Scotland, and in China.

    During that work I learned and applied the principles of community capacity building. Our business is a for-profit enterprise (we hope, someday :-)). However, so is Interface Carpet a business, and they are well know for ‘doing well, by doing good’. We hope to do the same.

    As I mentioned earlier, we are beginning to quickly expand the system of ‘green sponsorsed, locally managed and directed waste exchange and green community websites’.

    As we do so, we will be taking the approach that our job is to build and operate the I.T. and the local community’s work is to provide the best local service they can in the interests of waste reduction, and a more sustainable place. So we operate on the system that we provide the tools, but the local person applies them according to the ‘rules’ they set. That’s why for example, Ecocycle Exchange is for ‘free’ stuff, but the others have taken the approach that perfectly good stuff sometimes goes to the landfill because they’res no incentive (besides your conscience) to dispose of it constructively. So the bit of money you get from selling it provides the incentive (especially for lower income people).

    As our community grows, we will help them self-organize.

    We have already set up a “Discussion and Support” Forum and will expand and segment this (into municipal, commercial and volunteer sections) so that local managers can network and work together to build a world wide waste reduction community, using the tools we build together.

    With revenue sharing so that we get paid for our work and expense, and you are compensated for yours.

    You can find out more about us at (and Our company started in 1999 with the idea of a ‘free community waste exchange’. But since we began running our own software (rather than on Yahoo Groups), and needing revenue as a result, our growth has been slower (but steady).

    Kind Regards, and thanks for blogging about this.

    Norm Ruttan
    iWasteNot Systems

    Comment by Norm Ruttan | July 22, 2007 | Reply

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