A virtual ‘council tip’ whereby things are recycled for free evolved in 2003. Freecycle is a non-profit movement that works under the motto ‘One person’s trash can truly be another’s treasure’ and helps its 1.8 million members across the UK offload unwanted goods. Following an ecological mission, it aims to reduce waste, save resources and ease the burden of landfills.

The Freecycle Network was launched in Tucson, Arizona, with the first e-mail sent out by Deron Beal. At the time, Beal worked for a small recycling firm which asked other non-profit organisations if they could use items instead of throwing them away. Thinking there must be an easier way, he set up an e-mail group enabling people to give and receive. The concept has since spread to more than 85 countries worldwide with a website,

Hot 50 selectors felt ‘the avarice that feeds consumerism is easier to bear if there is a free-moving circle between first-, second- and even third-hand users. The chance to design with this in mind could help define a rethink in attitudes to products and kill off “cheap tat” like ten-quid toasters.’ ‘Ironically, luxury goods often fall into the freecycle psyche because it is understood that they have a residual value – hence vintage shops,’ they added.

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