Freecycle growing at double the rate since financial crisis began

While I'm sure ex-Lehman bankers (some of which are my former bosses) aren't scrounging through trash cans for perfectly good hot dogs, like the poster boy for Freecycling in this BusinessWeek article, I love the factoid near the end of the piece: "since Wall Street imploded [Freecycle] has been registering 50,000 more each week, up from 25,000 previously." I have to wonder: are investment bankers now using Freecycle to get rid of their stuff or is it just that people whose credit cards are limited are looking elsewhere for their material goods?

Freecycle may not make good photo ops, like dumpster diving does, but it certainly makes sense in a down economy. Save money and time on trash and dumpster trips by having a network member (and, in all likelihood, complete stranger) haul your unused items away. On the other end, save money and the planet by getting the things you need for free, from someone else who doesn't want them any more. Having built a fence almost entirely out of recycled materials, I can attest to the feeling of satisfaction you get when you achieve the Freecycle twist on the American Dream: getting what the Joneses have, only without the credit card balance.

Even before the stock market started making pretty little hills and valleys for my kids to pretend to drive their (thrifted) Hot Wheels all over it, WalletPop writers firmly believed in the power of free stuff. We stand by our love of Freecycle and any other way of turning trash into useful stuff. The more Americans who opt into this "economy" in which items are freely given and taken with gratitude, the better.