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Why not run a "swap day"

 
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mikepepler
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2924
Location: Rye, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:55 pm    Post subject: Why not run a "swap day" Reply with quote

Many of you have already heard of Freecycle http://www.freecycle.org/ but our village's newly-formed Community Action Group (CAG) ran a physical version last Saturday. It was aimed partially as a start-up and publicity event for the CAG, but I also gave out flyers for the local Freecycle group which I'd just got set up, and I also had a PowerSwitch display board and "Imposed by Nature" DVD playing. We had an "energy display" too, with leaflets and cheap low-energy bulbs supplied by our local Friends of the Earth group.

The basic format of the event was that people brought stuff they didn't want, and took away anything they fancied. It wasn't compulsory to do both - you could just bring, or just take away. Entry was free, as was the tea & coffee.

We had something like 100 people through, judging by the number of Freecycle flyers that went out, and even if only a few of them spoke ot me about Peak Oil (which, after all, was not the main focus), they at least all saw numerous A3 posters with "Peak Oil" in big red letters and a short explanation and the PowerSwitch web address. I actually had a comment from one elderly lady that she resented it all being internet based, as she didn't own a computer, and through buying one would be a waste of energy and resources. She had a point, though I couldn't see any other way to achieve what we do...

Anyway, the day was a success, with items being reused including a tent, metronome, books, videos, picture frames, bike parts, toys - you get the idea! There was a fantastic response from people, who all wanted us to run another one soon - our only flaw was insufficient publicity, as lots of people just turned up on the day without knowing in advance, but we can fix that next time... The funniest thing was that people just couldn't get the idea that there was stuff to take away for free. They got the idea of "swapping" things, but some had real trouble taking things when they had nothing to bring! We only convinced them by saying if the stuff didn't go, then we were left with the job of finding a good home for it.

I'd recommend anyone to run such an event if they can find a group to help them do it. It was good fun, required very little organisation (book the village hall, bring some stuff to give it a kick-start, publicity, flyers) and was a good thing in terms of reducing waste. Oh, and it was a chance to talk to people about Peak Oil too! Wink
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Mike

"Deal with reality or reality will deal with you"
Dr Colin Campbell

http://peplers.blogspot.com
http://peakoilupdate.blogspot.com
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