21st Century Skipdiving
Recycling usable stuff online with Freecycle
Like many punks and other proles with limited income, I’ve often been found rummaging through skips to see if there’s anything useful to blag. Over the years I’ve managed to find things that I needed (sometimes quite desperately but which I couldn’t afford to buy), often because others were so wealthy they could just afford to throw away perfectly decent shit, or the stuff was no longer needed but the owners simply didn’t think about any alternative to ditching it.
It has to be said that skipdiving, for all the ‘treasure’ that can be found, can also be a deeply unplesant experience (says the man who once found himself elbow deep in old nappies).
Nowadays, there’s a far more humane alternative called Freecycle. The premise is very simple: you have something you don’t need anymore that someone else may potentially need, you advertise that fact via an online list and, hopefully, that someone else will reply and say ‘hell, yeah, that’s exactly the shit I’ve been looking for’. Or some such thing. The worst-case scenario is that no-one else will want your old tat, and you’ll have to do a little bit more than typing on your keyboard to try and find a sound way of getting rid of it. But you’re a punk, you’re resourceful and you know a lot of shit that others don’t, right? So you’ll find a way. All I’m doing is showing you another option to add to your arsenal.
Does it work? In a word, yes. So far I’ve managed to find a home for everything I’ve put up on my local group’s list. Today, for example, a referee for a local commie netball team gladly took the black plastic whistle (traditional style in perfect working order) that I’d found in a box, the remnants of a demo from years back, and which I really no longer felt I needed. After all, shouting like fuck is far more cathartic than blowing a whistle, especially if you just do it for no reason whatsoever other than you can. And I went and collected a foot spa, complete with bubbles, massage capability and spinny things for getting the hard crud off. Which is just about perfect for tired Old Punk feet.
There’s a reasonable chance you’re close to a Freecycle group and, if you’re not, then the means to set one up are freely available. Of course, where you live there may be no need for such a thing. When I was a kid, recycling between friends, family and neighbours was taken for granted. But like I say, Freecycle is just another tool.
Mind you, I still do a bit of skipdiving on occasion – in fact, it’s where I’ve found one or two things that I’ve then Freecycled. Old Punk habits die hard.