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Free For All is a new player keeping usable items out of landfill

“Like Trade Me but with no cost” – That’s how Dee Glentworth describes the organisation she set up, Free For All.

It’s all in the name – Free For All is a website where you list items to give away for nothing – and you can get them at no cost, too.

It’s a bid to reduce the amount of material that goes to waste in New Zealand and help out those who’re strapped for cash.

Go onto the website and you’ll find baby walkers, tennis rackets, couches, kitchen appliances, whiteware and more all up for grabs.

Free For All’s catchphrase online is “don’t bin it, share it”.

“Free for All is not about if you can afford stuff or not. This is about sharing our resources and keeping usable items out of landfill.”

The website launched in April 2019 and now has about 9000 users – a figure that’s rising daily, Glentworth says.

Anyone can use it, anywhere in the country. And they can list whatever they want.

Glentworth describes herself as someone who has always “matchmade things and people”.

Previously, as a teacher doing relief work at a low decile, special needs school and volunteering at an op shop, she noticed families connected to the school had a need for surplus items being thrown away by the op shop.

“So it just became really clear that the surplus actually not only had a use but improved the living standard of the families it was passed onto.”

After working with other groups, her focus shifted to the environment and that work has evolved into what is now Free For All.

“What the whole thing about Free for All is there is a s*** tonne of really good stuff getting chucked out because A) people are time poor and B) people don’t know what to do with (things).”

While Free For All exists to reduce the amount of waste, supporting those in need was a “really awesome side effect”, Glentworth said.

“It doesn’t matter to us if you can buy the item new 10 times over, this stuff has been created, it’s sitting here with all the energy and resources that have gone into it. Even single use items, there’s usually a way to them again safely.”

Glentworth said when the cost barrier was removed, people began to rehome more items.

“It’s a solution. So many people are going on about how much the landfills are increasing – it’s because there’s not an easy to use (alternative) option out there. And we provide that.”

How it works

“The website is pretty much like Trade Me but everything is free and there’s a time limit on collection. So say you want to list a couch and you take photos, you put it up on the site and people can search for that by item by region,” Glentworth said.

“Somebody finds your couch and they really, really want it, and they click reserve. At that point, the 72-hour timer clock starts and they have 72 hours for the transaction be completed by both sides.

“We obviously have the usual restrictions around R18 materials, whether it be alcohol, pornography, weapons, we follow those guidelines but other than that, go for gold.

“If you want to list grandma’s false teeth, there’s probably somebody who will use them for an art project.”

There’s a “three strikes” policy to ensure people play by the rules and other guidelines for using the service.

Glentworth said she had to thank businessman John Holt for the creation of Free For All – he put her in touch with app development company Putti – which she also had praise for, as it built the website at no cost.

There’s also a physical element to Free For All. Glentworth runs pop-up shops around the Wellington region set up like op shops and again, it’s free, save for a $3 entry fee.

Glentworth is in the process of making Free for All a registered charity. So far, it’s been mostly self-funded but it has reached a size where becoming a charity will help with accessing funding to keep going.

She’d also like to expand and have a permanent physical store – all free – for people to get items from.

This was originally published on RNZ.

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