If you thought a yard sale was a great place to find a bargain, try a yard swap. This June, the HLS Green Team, FAS Green Program, Harvard Office for Sustainability, and Harvard Recycling co-hosted a university-wide “yardswap” in a tent in front of the Science Center. The idea behind the event was freecycling, or the free exchange of reusable goods. Staff members and summer school students were invited to bring by unwanted office and home supplies—lamps, books, envelopes, you name it—or just to browse the donations for items to take home.
Participants began stopping by at 9 am and by 12 pm, the tent—originally full—was almost empty. “We couldn’t keep the tables stocked!” said Cameron Anaya, Harvard ’11 and an intern with the FAS Green Program. Visitors walked away with everything from fake house plants and Furbies to red chili-shaped strings of lights. “It was fun to watch people as they transformed from serious ‘shoppers’ to treasure hunters,” said Karen Thomas, a member of the HLS Green Team.
Freecycling is a great way of reducing waste by keeping old items out landfills. It also prevents the burning of fossil fuels and extraction of resources that go into making more new products in the first place. Plus, swaps like this one can help the whole community save cash—many offices were able to collect supplies, such as toner, that can cost more than $200 a cartridge. Watch this great short video of the Harvard Yardswap.
“Bringing the Harvard community together" to cut back on waste and spending was what the event was “all about,” said Cameron. That, and free Furbies!
Back by popular demand, the second summer freecycle will take place on Tuesday, August 10 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm by the Science Center Atrium (inside, but near the Harvard Farmer’s Market). Drop-off for items is the same day from 8 to 11 a.m. in Science Center 110: both office supplies for Harvard re-use and items from home are welcome at this event, but please, no TVs, computers, large electronics, or large furniture (save big items for Craigslist, the Harvard ReuseList, Harvie, or HLSFreecycle@lists.law.harvard.edu).