Websites for sharing, swapping and recycling

Don’t you just love getting something for nothing? Factor in that sharing, swapping and recycling are good for the planet, and we’re all winners. We asked Friends of the Earth supporters to share their tips on websites for sharing, swapping and recycling. Here is a selection.

Swaps, sales, and e-neighbourhoods

ilovefreegle.org, freecycle.org and lynxup.com The mind boggles with all the things you can recycle here. Lynxup boasts a mobile-friendly site too.

ecomodo.com and streetbank.com Lend and borrow stuff for free.

localskillswap.com This website has some great ideas about skill swapping, what kind of skills to swap and how you go about doing it. See also ecomodo and streetbank.

meetup.com Billed as the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup's mission is to revitalise local communities.

reddit.com A source for what's new and popular on the web. Users provide all of the content and decide through voting what's good and what's junk.

gumtree.com Huge classified advert site.

mumsnet.com The meeting place for parents. All sorts of exchanges including classifieds, meet-ups and support groups.

readitswapit.co.uk A free online book-swap club.

streetclub.co.uk Some retailers and big names are also launching their own sites with the aim of rekindling the neighbourhood spirit. This one’s from B&Q.

charityretail.org.uk Find which charities operate in your area.

gazelle.com A good place to go to buy, sell and recycle your electronics.

Knowledge and ideas

ted.com A not-for-profit community that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s greatest thinkers and doers.

moocs.com MOOCS stands for massive open online courses and are a free way to distance learn. class-central.com also lists free university-level online courses.

Software and coding

Libreoffice.org Is a free, open source programme that gives out the software or apps for free. The website allows users to feed back and collaborate on the software’s development with programmers. openoffice.org offers a similar service.

Skillsmatter.com Is a London and New York-based organisation that runs conferences, training courses, user groups and events for open source programmers. Many are free events where you can crack coding problems with the industry’s best. If you’re technically minded and want to collaborate on open source projects try finding some on apache.org, codehaus.org and github.com.

Creativity and design

creativecommons.org This not-for-profit organisation has been instrumental in enabling sharing. It provides licences and free legal tools which allow creatives to license their work (photography, music, arts and so forth) for sharing and reuse without losing their copyright.

fixperts.org An innovative site where designers and storytellers collaborate to solve day-to-day problems. The problems are fixed by innovative design applications. A short film ('Fixfilm') explaining the process is uploaded on the site. It is hoped this will encourage more people to join and inspire future fixes.

Food

grubclub.com A supper clubs website. A great way to meet new people and new chefs in your community while enjoying delicious food. Plan and host your own grub club too and post it up on the site. If you have spaces to rent, want to help with cooking or have produce to sell, they welcome your involvement.

foodcycle.org.uk Put surplus food to good use by volunteering with Foodcycle to create nutritious meals for people suffering from poverty.

Furniture

Oxfam There aren’t many of these as most specialise in clothes and small things. Not free but very reasonable prices and a good place to take old furniture.

British Heart Foundation The British Heart Foundation offers a free collection service for furniture.

Trinity Is based in the West London boroughs of Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow. The charity helps people suffering the effects of homelessness and offers a free furniture collection service.

Wood Works Wonders This wood recycling project in Tottenham, London, makes use of wood waste by collecting and recycling it. People that are out of work are brought together with local carpenters to trade skills and create new things. Their wood collection price is £13 per cubic metre or £100 per truck load. If you compare this to an average of £199 for skip hire of the same size, it is a saving of £100.

Travel

Unless you use a car every day you are probably better off joining a car club or liftshare scheme. For starters try Zipcar.co.uk, WhipCar, liftshare.com and BlaBlaCar

Barclays cycle hire is London’s cycle-hire scheme.

Fashion and accessories

swishing.com A great way to get new clothes and swap accessories for free. Unwanted clothes are brought to the event and swapped for something else. You could even set up your own group with friends or through Facebook or Meetup.com.

Shwop shop When you go shopping you can recycle your old clothes at M&S.

visionaidoverseas.org A charity that recycles your glasses and uses the money to fund better eye care in developing countries.

Money

zopa.co.uk and fundingcircle.com DIY bankers advance loans online at 'peer-to-peer' lending websites. The middlemen are cut out so that borrowers get cheaper loans and investors get better returns.

kiva.org A non-profit organisation with the aim of helping alleviate poverty. Make a loan to help start-ups, green initiatives and housing schemes in developing countries.

buzzbnk.org, kickstarter.com and sponsume.com If you can’t get funding from normal channels to get your project running why don’t you crowd-fund it? This has just got to be the best idea of the century.

Accommodation and land

lovehomeswap.com A popular members-only house swap scheme.

wimdu.co.uk You can rent private rooms or homes for your trip or rent out your home.

couchsurfing.org If your main aim is to cut holiday bills, this website lets you tap into a network of millions of people willing to share their hospitality. Does what it says on the tin – not the lap of luxury but you get a sofa to sleep on.

desksnear.me and deskwanted.com For all the freelancers out there. There may be times when you want to discuss ideas with clients but holding a meeting in a bedroom is not the image you want to project. These sites let you book a desk or meeting room. Meanwhile if you’ve got your own office, you can rent out desks to help with the cash-flow.

storemates.co.uk Links people who need cheap storage space with those that have a spare shed, attic or garage.

landshare.net If you have green fingers but don't have anywhere to use the talent, or if you have a spare bit of land that you are prepared to share, then sign up for landshare.net. You can also find useful growing guides and tips. Other sites that can help you find a spare patch of land include freecycle.com and justfortheloveofit.org

Blood banks

blood.co.uk One of the most crucial and life-saving ways to share is to give blood. The shelf life of blood is only a couple of weeks so blood bank stocks need to be replenished regularly.

Friends of the Earth campaigned for and won doorstep recycling for British homes. Find out more about our work to keep the Earth a beautiful place. 

Compiled by Annabella Macris. Thanks to Cian O, Wendy C, Amelia Collins, J Gurney, Karen L, Christi H, Julia Peculiar Brown, Tom Wright, Catherine W, Jacqueline H, David V, Taruna, Iain W, Sheila Freeman

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