Nhật Hồng & Vân Nguyễn, Quỳnh Anh, Hoàng Việt
HÀ NỘI — What do you do with a bunch of items you no longer need after decluttering your house? When Phạm Thùy Chi found herself in the same situation, she took to an online recycling community to make sure that nothing goes to waste.
Called freecycle, this Facebook-based network offers a platform for people across Việt Nam to give and take things for free.
Chi, who has been ‘freecycling’ for the past five years, learned about the group after seeing them on TV.
“It is an amazing idea because the receiver can save money and receive useful items, while the giver can be rest assured that the items they want to give away will reach the right person,” Chi told Việt Nam News.
Group members make posts with pictures of the things they want to give away, describing the items and specifying the neighbourhood they are in. Others then simply leave a comment to ask for the stuff they need.
Items being passed on can range from old clothing, books and toys, to furniture and even food.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Vân, a mother of two who once received a whole chicken from a freecycle group, was delighted to see many other members sending food to her family upon seeing her comment in a post.
“My children were overjoyed, as it had been quite a while since they get to each that many delicious dishes,” said Thu Vân.
Each post and membership must be approved by the groups’ administrators – a part of the team’s effort to uphold their not-for-profit cause, making sure that people will not take the things given away for free in the group and re-sell them somewhere else.
Chi said: “The group administrators are very enthusiastic and devoted even though they all have their own jobs, which makes me feel assured to be in this community.”
The initiative has come a long way since it started out in 2013, now with tens of thousands of members, and dozens of posts to be approved each day.
One of the moderators, Bùi Thanh Vân, said that the management team mostly work together online, as they are from all corners of Việt Nam.
“We joined this community because we share the same passion and are very enthusiastic about this not-for-profit purpose,” said Thanh Vân.
“This practice helps pass on the items we no longer use to those who really need them, which helps save resources for our society and protect the environment.”
Vũ Thị Định, another group moderator added: “It is about the direct communication between the giver and the receiver.”
Many people can mistake the freecycle community for a charity, Định noted, but it is in fact an environment-friendly practice.
“All we do is just to create a platform for everyone to give and take things when they truly need to.
“It is much more efficient than managing storage, plus having people to manage that stock, posting pictures of items online, and distribute then them,” she said.
Thanh Vân said: “All of us administrators expect that this freecycle movement will be expanded across the country to everyone else, no matter their ages, backgrounds or lifestyles.
“And every time we give out an item, we also receive in return a little joy for ourselves.” — VNS