It's an understatement to say that Maria Sexton believes in
recycling. This Idana resident has taken her recycling efforts to a higher level, creating treasures from someone else's trash.
Inspired by the book, "Trash to Treasure," Maria's current project involves the transformation of more than 2000 empty vegetable cans into a forest of Christmas trees. She decorates the canned trees with "junk
jewelry" -- costume jewelry that cannot be repaired.
Maria has received most of her project materials from members of the
Freecycle Network (tm).
"It is so important to keep stuff out of the landfill, and Freecycle
is a really cool deal. I only want things that would otherwise go to
the dump. If it's still useable, I don't want it," said Maria.
The Freecycle Network is a global, grassroots movement comprised of
people who are giving (and getting) "stuff" for free in their own
towns. Freecycle members give away things they don't want or can't
use to other members who do, and everything is done on a local basis.
Clay Center's Freecycle group began in July of 2005. The group has
close to 100 members. There are also groups in Manhattan, Beloit, Salina, and Fort Riley.
The group is moderated by Clay Center resident Kathi Hemphill.
Kathi made extensive use of Freecycle to find new homes for her
mother's belongings after her mother passed away.
"We didn't want to have an auction or a garage sale. I hate dickering
over money. I just wanted my mom's stuff to go to people who needed
it," Kathi said.
The family donated some items to the Lighthouse for Christ, but found
homes for nearly everything else through the Freecycle Network.
"It seems like people join every day. We already have 92 members in
Clay Center, and it's all been through word of mouth. The group is
open to all who want to 'recycle' that special something rather than
throw it away, whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old
door, " Kathi said.
Kathi has received a few items via Freecycle -- a rug and some
"But I use Freecycle more for giving. I've given away a lifetime's
worth of stuff -- a snow blower, a lawn mower, chairs, a full-sized
bed," said Kathi.
As the name implies, Freecycle membership is free. Communication is
done via email through yahoogroups, a free email subscription service.
Each local group is run by a volunteer moderator. The primarily rule
is anything offered on Freecycle must be free, legal, and appropriate
for all ages.
The Freecycle Movement was started in May 2003 by Tuscon, Ariz.,
resident Deron Beal. Beal wanted to promote waste reduction in
Tucson's downtown and help save desert landscape from being taken over
The concept has since spread to more than 50 countries. Currently
Freecycle has more than 1,701,236 members in 3,109 communities around
the world. Officials say that Freecycle member efforts have kept
approximately 50 tons of material out of landfills.
"Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces
waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills
while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger
community. People from all walks of life have joined together to turn
trash into treasure," said Freecycle officials.
The Clay Center Freecycle website is at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClayCenterFreecycle/. More information
about Freecycle can be found at freecycle.org.