Zwaggle, Freecycle, and Freepeats: Finding Freebies by Recycling Online

Often when I’m headed off to buy a whatzit, it strikes me that someone nearby is probably dying to get rid of the exact thing I want.  And when I drop off a sack full of goodies at a thrift store, I wonder if they’ll make it past the cluttered shelves and into the hands of someone who needs them.

That’s where  the Internet comes in.   For the first time in human history it’s incredibly easy to unload unwanted stuff or search for a used item—all for free! 

Zwaggle is an online resource for parents who are looking to give and get items for their children.  People receive Zwaggle points called “zoints” for giving gently used items to others and then can use then to “purchase” things for their family.  Since it all happens online, you can get things from across the nation so it’s a bit like Ebay without the expense. 

One of my favorite online resources is Freecycle—a local network where people can offer unwanted items and score other things that they need.  According to their own definition, Freecycle is “a movement of people keeping stuff out of landfills while building community.”

So how does Freecycle work?  People post emails either offering or requesting items from their local community.  At this moment on the Eugene Freecycle network I found a full set of screwdrivers, a baby gate, and a bag of unopened kitty litter all offered free of charge.  Also, if you live in Eugene, Oregon, and have loads of Hawaiian party décor on hand, someone on Freecycle needs it!  If I want to respond to any post, I just email a reply and pick up the item or arrange for someone to else to come get my unwanted goods.  Done!

Similar to Freecycle, Freepeats is a set of local, online forums where people can swap stuff for free—but its focus is on children’s items.  The first twenty users in a few area get a lifetime membership for free.  After that you have to pay a one-time fee of just $4.95—which is completely worth it if you end up scoring a decade of hand-me-downs.  Freepeats hasn’t been around as along as Freecycle, so there aren’t as many online communities—but it’s spreading quickly. It currently has new communities opening San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.

My other favorite spot for freebies is Craigslist’s free section.  It’s great to hit it on Sunday or Monday when many people are happy to give away garage sale leftovers. Also, if you’re looking to unload anything, just describe it on the free section and wait for your junk to disappear.   My husband and I posted a broken countertop that we would have otherwise hauled away to the dump.  Within two hours it happily swiped by a local couple who used it in their greenhouse. 

So clean out the garage, save some cash, score some treasures and save the planet.  With online resources at your fingertips, you can help community recycling grow from the grassroots.

Do you have a handy tip that might save money while helping the environment?  We’d love to have you join us at Thrifty Green Thursday.  For directions just go to this page


  1. I love free! I haven’t had great luck on freecycle simply because things go so fast. I seem to have better luck with craigslist and I think that is partly because their format is so simple that the page load time is super fast and you can check it daily. I am too impatient for freecycle.=) When I am in the market for something, I will check craigslist regularly and usually something will come up. I keep seeing people just giving away these beautiful old, still working pianos and if I didn’t live in an apartment, I would hire a moving van and grab one.

    I also love estate sales! Things are not usually free, but they are bargains and if you go on the last day, everything will usually be marked down to 1/2 of the bargain price. Most of my linens are from estate sales.

  2. Although I haven’t tried Freepeats yet, I did do the free sign up a month or so ago and wrote a post on them last week. I’m hoping to take advantage soon, although the nearest group is about an hour away.

    Thanks for informing me about Zwaggle; I’ve never heard of them before!

    Happy TG Thursday!

  3. I use Freecycle and Craiglist, but I haven’t heard of Zwaggle or freepeats–I’ll definitely check into them! You’re right, the Internet is making recycling a lot easier!

  4. Thanks for the ideas, especially Craigslist’s Free Section. We are having a Tag sale this weekend and it looks like it might be a wash out, so we are thinking of unloading some stuff next week on Craigslist.

  5. I added a link from Daily Danny…he has some great ideas! He isn’t exactly participating in TGT, but I wanted to share my find!

  6. Eileen: Thanks for the tip on estate sales! I need to be more adventurous about going to these. Something about the word “estate” makes me envision crystal candy dishes and antique lamps, things that would quickly be demolished by my rambunctious Roscoe. Still, I haven’t been to one in years so I should give it a go!

    Kathleen and Cathy: I too am excited about Zwaggle and am thinking of using them to do some holiday shopping (and recycling) this year from home. Freepeats hasn’t come to our area yet but I hope they arrive soon!

    CanCan: Thanks for the link to Daily Danny. It’s a great blog!

    I hope you can find the time to read one another’s fabulous ideas and send some supportive comments to one another. Thanks for being a part of the Thrifty Green Thursday community this week!

  7. Listia is awesome you can give and get credits for all types of items. Also referal is my referal link if you use it you will get bonus credits to start with:-) You might have to copy and paste the link.

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