Fighting for freerecyling



To help foster that healthy environment of healthy freecycling I now formally announce The Freecycling Charter (TFC). The TFC is there to help group, their moderators and owners to feel free of the chains that may bind them. It is their to help them find a supportive framework without any catches.

  • a freecycling group is a “free” local online forum in which people can post and receive offers of items their local community,
  • this community is moderated and “owned” by local moderators,
  • these moderators are responsible to their community,
  • any potential funding (government or private) can be effectively channelled locally,
  • standard guidelines exist to enable proper action for a group to work effectively,
  • a group has the local autonomy to step outside those guidelines to suit local needs and condition,
  • a group has the support of other like minded groups, and their moderator teams to resolve complex issues,
  • group promotion is available via online directories such as reusit, freesharing and others – without prejudice or external control,
  • online directories that provide support forums should provide and engage with at least one, independently managed, support forum that is unmoderated where moderators may ask any question,
  • groups may use whatever technology platform suits them and their members and
  • personal data is held locally and processes and control are in place to ensure it stays local.

Here are some further other thoughts around this charter.

Group Internal Rules and Guidelines: A freecycling group should behave according to standard guidelines such as nothing is to be sold, everything should be legal and appropriate for all ages.

Local: What I mean by this is perhaps a city, town or village. It could also be a region. What defines a locality actually reflects the networks of the people who make up that community, so it needs to be very flexible. Flexibility is also necessary since local boundaries may change over time and new housing estates being built and so on. What is Local is defined by the membership.

Competition. More than one group may serve the same or similar local community. This is not an exclusive business and competition. Groups will succeed because they have a great membership led by a great moderator and owner team. Also there is no one answer to any local needs.

Splitting or joining of groups. Any group has the full rights to join with another group, or even divide itself into two or more groups. This is a local decision. The only support and influence from outside the affected groups is help with the mechanical steps used to enact the changes in the manner of best practice.

Ownership: The local moderator team is said to own the group. They have full control over the life of the group.

Technology: The preferred platform for delivering this service, right now is Yahoo Groups. We welcome explorations into other technologies with a view to providing the best possible service to the local community.

Online Directories: I recommend that groups can affiliate to one or more directories such as FreeSharing, FullCircles. Some groups may wish to choose a group name that associates itself with a given online directory. I am going to formally approach online directories to ask them to sign up to this charter. If your online directory is not listed, then it will not be recommended.

No Politics. Groups and online directories should stay clear of politics. Online gifting groups are their to help support their community by reducing landfill and enabling the giving and receiving of items. If any individual, group or online directory wishes to campaign politically then they should do so in in their own name.

I fervently welcome comments that would help improve this charter, so get your thinking hats on.

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Andy,

    I agree with the principles and policies of this Charter, though I think it could benefit from some final touches before making a formal declaration about it on my group’s web site.

    On the part about “No Politics” …

    Like most freecycling group and network leaders, has a published policy of “no politics” as a requirement to be listed in their directory, yet has a “We Support Ron Paul” (U.S. Republican Party 2008 minor candidate for president) graphic link on their home page, and Eric Burke, operator of, defends this despite his “no politics” rule, saying that if it’s okay for to do it, then it’s okay for him to do it. What do you think of this?

    See Mr. Burkes comments at:

    Mr. Burke adds:

    “You have to understand that getting Ron Paul into office is not a simple beauty contest for me, it is a matter of saving this country from its impending economic collapse, and preventing it from expanding its wars to even more countries and more lives lost.

    “If the 1 square inch of space on my website dedicated to that cause offends you, then frankly you are too easily offended. There are far more important things to be worried about and working on to save this planet.”

    Regardless of the passion of Mr. Burke’s support for the Ron Paul campaign, I find it inappropriate to use the web site for this purpose, especially because of their stated “no politics” rule published at:
    (as of Jan. 13, 2008 … don’t know if that’s going to stay, now that the issue has been raised).

    Dennis Koenig

    “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E. B. White

    Comment by Dennis Koenig | January 13, 2008 | Reply

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