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Give & Take Style

Skating around town in your size 7 1⁄2 rollerblades not your idea of fun anymore? Starting a business and in need of a three-draw file cabinet? Looking to find a new home for the videos and cds your kids no longer enjoy? What if there was a place where you could connect with someone in
your neighborhood who either needs what you have or has what you need?

Welcome to where the mission is simlple: to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community. Now living clutter free also means keeping your community clean and green.

Freecycle™ was launched on May 1, 2003 by Deron Beal, an environmentalist who at the time was working for a small nonprofit recycler in Tuscon, Arizona. Through his job, he saw firsthand, the items people were discarding and thought that some of the items, while no longer useful to their present owner, would make a welcomed gift for someone in need. The wheels started turning, the give and take idea was massaged, and the freecycle concept took flight.

The Freecycle Network™ as we know it today is made up of nearly 5,000 groups with nearly 6,000,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. The Freecycle community uses the power and reach of the internet to connect local individuals looking to give something away with those who would like to acquire it. The guiding principle is that everything be free with no strings attached. It might be described as a virtual yard sale of sorts, where no money ever changes hands, where communities are strengthened and where the evironment is preserved. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer who very closely monitors the interaction between the givers and the takers.

Freecycle exists because of the volunteer moderators who “own” the local freecycle groups and manage its activity. Owners like Erika Muller who has been volunteering and operating New York’s Nassau County group for the last four years. When asked how much time she devotes to managing her Freecycle group, she replied “probably more than 40 hours a week”. That is in addition to her full time job in New York City and raising her family on Long Island. Like the other “owners”, she doesn’t get paid with money, but is rewarded with the result of doing something good for people and great for the environment. “I do it because it is my way of giving back,” she said. “I don’t have lots of money to donate to charity or lots of free time to volunteer somewhere. This is something I can do that fits into my life and lifestyle. I love doing it. I was raised to understand the importance of giving back.”

Muller’s Nassau County group has nearly 8,000 members who, with another 15,000 or so from the two neighboring Suffolk County groups, bring the total Freecycle membership on Long Island to over 23,000. Part of the owner’s responsibility is to enforce the rules—and there are many. All of them aim to keep the members safe (some of the more obvious rules include forbidding the exchange of tobacco, guns, drugs, or pornography) and to make the experience rewarding. The rules, along with Freecycle etiquette tips are posted online.

According to Muller, “the most popular items are those for babies and kids—cribs, toys, clothes, games, DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes. And maternity clothes too.” On the day we visited our local Freecycle group online, we found a number of posts including one from a member offering a black office chair, another member in need of a microwave, and another looking for a baby-jogging stroller.

In five short years, Deron Beal’s idea is now a success on so many levels. His Freecycle concept has inspired a grass-roots altruistic trend that has spread to over 75 countries and includes thousands of local groups representing millions of members—people helping people. As a result, the Freecycle website reports that “we are currently keeping over 300 tons a day out of landfills! This amounts to four times the height of Mt. Everest in the past year alone, when stacked in garbage trucks!”

Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box on the network’s website ( or by clicking on “Browse Groups” to locate one closest to you. Chances are there is a group already established in your local area, if not, you can volunteer to start one following the posted instructions.

The benefits of the Freecycle Network are many: keeping things out of the local landfills, giving away something that has no use in our life anymore to someone who could extend its usefulness a little longer, giving gifts to people while clearing out our own clutter, and creating, building, and sustaining an environmentally aware community.

The Freecycle Network is a private, nonprofit organization based out of Tucson, Arizona, and stewarded by many volunteers like Erika Muller. Visit to find the Freecycle group in your area.


Green Halloween

Top 10 Ways To Green Your Halloween

  1. Schedule a costume swap night—bring costumes and accessories your kids have outgrown and trade with other parents.
  2. Replace traditional paper party invitations with online invites.
  3. Make your own costumes by reusing items found around the home, at local thrift stores, or at yard sales.
  4. Walk the streets of your neighborhood, don’t drive! The exercise is heart-healthy and eco-friendly.
  5. Avoid the plastic trick or treat bags—try decorating an old pillowcase, a tote bag, or a canvas shopping bag.
  6. Treat the kids to organic and fair-trade goodies.
  7. Shop for locally grown holiday treats and decorations—apples, pumpkin, gourds.
  8. Find alternatives to candy treats—try soy crayons or packets of seeds that can be planted in the spring.
  9. Fill your flashlight with rechargeable batteries instead of conventional batteries.
  10. Host a pumpkin pie bakeoff in your town—a great way to use the post-halloween pumpkins.

Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops
Yummy Earth is the #1 organic candy company in the U.S.  Not only is the candy certified organic for the USDA and European Union, but their products are also kosher parve, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, peanut-free and nut-free, wheat-free, soy-free, contain no MSG or chemical dyes, use real fruit extracts, and 100% natural colors and flavors. Oh, and they also taste great! Available in 21 flavors. Look for them at Whole Foods, Toys R Us, Linens N Things, Babies R Us, Vitamin Shoppe, Party City,, and many other health food stores, gourmet stores and supermarkets.

Endangered Species Chocolate
Organic Milk Chocolate Bug Bites

These .35oz. pieces are made with organic-certified, shade-grown, ethically traded smooth milk chocolate with 52% cocoa content. Milk Chocolate Bug Bites are certified Kosher by Orthodox Union and Organic by the USDA and Oregon Tilth. Each box contains approx. 64 individual chocolate pieces. On the outside of the box you can learn about the National Wildife Federation and their Backyard Wildlife Habitat program as well as Endangered Species Chocolate's story and mission. Along with bite-sized squares of organic milk chocolate, each piece contains 1 of a set of 32 insect trading cards from Dexter Sear. Also in dark chocolate variety from Endangered Species Chocolate at

Glee Gum
Glee Gum is all natural chewing gum made with sustainably harvested rainforest chicle. It is made with all natural ingredients including pure cane sugar, rice syrup, natural flavorings and colorings. The gum base has super chewy natural chicle harvested from sapodilla trees in the rain forests of Central America. Glee Gum is vegan, additive free, lactose free, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free, casein free, egg free, yeast free, nut free, peanut free, and soy free. It comes in six great flavors: cinnamon, peppermint, tangerine, bubblegum, spearmint, and triple berry.

Crispy Cat
Crispy Cat combines the flavor and fun of the candy bars we enjoyed growing up with the new schools of environmental and dietary awareness. The Crispy Cat candy bars boast an impressive list of credentials, including credit for creating the first candy bar made with organic ingredients. In addition to containing 70% organic ingredients, they’re dairy free, gluten free, vegan, kosher, non gmo, and made without preservatives. Available in three varieties:

Roasted Peanut: A throwback to days of old fashioned candy bars that used real, high quality ingredients. A roasted peanut flavored center is covered in the best chocolate you’ve ever tasted and chock-full of salty peanuts. You’ll know you’re eating a candy bar!
Mint Coconut: A soft center of flaky coconut and crispy rice is submerged in rich dark chocolate and finished with cool minty lightness. Even those who might not love coconut will jump for joy. Be prepared to be uplifted!
Toasted Almond: Toasty almonds explode in every bite! Dark cocoa flavor combines with the toastiest almonds to make every bite pure fulfillment. Treasure the richness!


Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit
The makers of the Clif Bars and Luna Bars, enjoyed by health-conscious adults, take great care in creating CLIF Kid™ snacks to give kids fantastic-tasting food with the right kind of nutrition they need for their growing, active bodies. Organic Twisted Fruit is real fruit twisted into a fun rope shape that’s easy to slip into a backpack, lunchbox, or trick-or-treat bag. Each piece of Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit equals one serving of fruit. The twisted fruit treats come in six sure-to-please flavors, including: grape, mixed berry, pineapple, sour apple, strawberry, and tropical twist. Visit for more product information or to find out where to purchase them in your area.



Detox Your Mailbox:
Eliminate Unwanted Catalogs

Developed by a group of leading environmental organizations, Catalog Choice is on a mission to improve the efficiency of catalog distribution by reducing the number of repeat and unsolicited mailings. It is a free service that lets you decline specific paper catalogs that you no longer wish to receive.

According to Catalog Choice: Each year more than 19 billion paper catalogs are mailed to American consumers. What’s the impact?

  • Number of trees used – 53 million trees
  • Pounds of paper used – 3.6 million tons
  • Energy used to produce this volume of paper – 38 trillion BTUs, enough to power 1.2 million homes per year
  • Contribution to global warming – 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the annual emissions of two million cars
  • Waste water discharges from this volume of paper – 53 billion gallons, enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools

    Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense paper calculator Source:

“Every day, millions of unwanted catalogs clog consumers’ mailboxes and are immediately tossed in the trash. More than just an annoyance, they are overflowing municipal waste systems, devouring precious natural resources, and contributing to pollution and global warming,” says Laura Hickey, senior director for Global Warming Education at the National Wildlife Federation, which joined the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ecology Center to launch the Catalog Choice service in the fall of 2007.

Catalog Choice services both consumers and businesses. Consumers can indicate which catalogs they no longer wish to receive, and businesses can receive a list of consumers no longer wanting to receive their catalogs—saving them production, postage, and associated mailing costs.

Catalog Choice makes it easy for you to simplify your life, reduce clutter, and save natural resources. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1: Sign up.
Fill out the online registration form using your name and primary mailing address. Your contact information will only be used for the purpose of declining/opting-out of catalog delivery.

Step 2: Find your catalogs.
Find and decline your catalogs, using the Catalog Choice search facilities. Catalog Choice will then contact the catalog providers on your behalf, requesting that your name be removed from their mailing lists.

Step 3: See the results.
It can take at least ten weeks to process your request, after which you should no longer receive your declined catalog. If you do continue to receive them, you can return to the Catalog Choice website to let them know, and they'll follow up with the merchant.

Catalog Choice is a sponsored project of the Ecology Center. It is endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and funded by the Overbrook Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, and the Kendeda Fund.

The Catalog Choice community is presently 994,285 persons strong, having already opted out of 13,132,903 catalogs. To take advantage of this free service or to find out more, visit


Hope Is Brewing:
Coffee With A Cause

Pink. Many people associate this color with happy occasions like the birth of a baby girl, sprinkles on a birthday cake, or a beautiful sunset sky.  For others, the color pink symbolizes something different—strength, friendship, and hope.  Hope for a cure for breast cancer.

hopeKathi Zollman knows about the power of pink first hand.  When diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, she received many pink gifts and cards from friends and family to let her know that she was in their thoughts. “I'm not a pink person” she admits, but has since come to realize just how powerful the color can be and what it symbolizes to those in the fight of their life. Today, Kathi is a survivor on a mission. She is committed to give hope to those who feel defeated and to do her part to help find a cure.

Roast Master and breast cancer survivor Kathi Zollman worked with Paramount Coffee to create Caffe Rosa, which premieres this month.  "Being a survivor takes a certain level of responsibility,” said Zollman. “"I developed Caffe Rosa understanding this responsibility and with a simple mission,” she added, “"to help breast cancer survivors find strength in themselves as they continue to heal spiritually, emotionally, and physically."

hopeCaffe Rosa is a full-bodied certified organic coffee created to provide funding for breast cancer survivorship programs like yoga, massage therapy, exercise classes, and lifestyle seminars. “As a Roast Master, I created Caffe Rosa specifically for these important initiatives. As a survivor, I gave it a name that would embody the strength and inspiration I find in each pink rose,” said Zollman.

For each bag of Caffe Rosa coffee that is sold, Paramount Coffee will donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure—the world's largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists.

With its rich aroma and bold flavor, this “pink coffee” will connect you to this important cause and the amazing individuals on their journey toward survival.

A 1 lb. bag is $9.99 at


Drink To Your Health:
Join the Raspberry Revolution

Guayaki has raised the bar in the beverage industry by offering functional organic drinks that are stimulating, refreshing, nourishing, and made with only pure natural ingredients. Pure Heart, a “Raspberry Revolution” blend, is Guayaki’s latest addition to their award-winning line of Organic Yerba Mate Drinks.

Pure Heart features invigorating organic yerba mate (mah-tay) combined with hawthorn and yarrow – all of which are herbs known to promote improved cardiac performance.  This heart-healthy blend is combined with organic rose hips, hibiscus, organic raspberry juice and cranberry juice to create a delicious and refreshing grab-and-go drink. The unique combination of robust nutrition and balanced stimulation from the brewed leaves of the rainforest yerba mate tree make Guayakí Yerba Mate a healthy source of energy.

Guayaki Pure Heart contains caffeine comparable to coffee and energy drinks; however, the caffeine is balanced by mate’s content of theobromine (the euphoriant in chocolate), and another mild stimulant named theophylline.  Yerba mate is also a good source of B vitamins including pantothenic acid—the "anti-stress'' vitamin which promotes proper function of the adrenal gland.  Yerba mate is also a rich source of magnesium, which has been proven to ease anxiety.  Many caffeine-sensitive people that drink yerba mate gain vitality and clarity of mind, but don’t experience the jitters, stomach discomfort, energy crash and headaches that are common complaints expressed by people that drink coffee and energy drinks. 

Unlike other functional and energy drink on the market today that feature synthetic and isolate ingredients, Guayaki follows a “whole plant - whole health” herbal tradition that unleashes the natural form of these nutrients in a way that the body can easily absorb and process them.  Guayaki Pure Heart is mildly sweetened with organic cane juice, and has far less calories (50) per serving than most other drinks in the marketplace.  Guayaki Pure Heart can be purchased at thousands of natural foods stores, supermarkets, cafes and gyms.

Founded in 1996, Guayakí is the leading provider of organic, fairly-traded, rainforest-grown yerba mate in North America.  In addition to Pure Heart, Guayaki offers six other bottled Organic Yerba Mate Drinks, the new San Mateo Loose Yerba Mate and Traditional Loose Yerba Mate, six Yerba Mate Tea Bag Blends, Traditional Yerba Mate Tea Bags, Gaucho’s Fuerte Espresso Mate, two varieties of Mate Latté Concentrates and traditional yerba accessories.  Visit to learn more. 

FYI…The name Guayaki (Gwy-uh-KEE) honors the Aché Guayakí people.  The Ache live in the sub-tropical rainforests of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, home of the yerba mate tree.


The Purple Book Goes Green:
An Eco-Friendly Online Shopping Guide

It has been called “a roadmap for shopping the Internet” by O Magazine and “the bible of online shopping guides” by Kirkus Reviews. First published in 2003, thepurplebook® has been the go-to-guide for navigating the Internet and finding the best shops—and shopping experiences—on the web. In early 2008, the publishers of thepurplebook introduced a green edition to rave reviews.

In the green edition of thepurplebook the editors have turned their focus to finding the web’s best eco-friendly stores. The e-commerce sites included in thepurplebook green edition give the reader information about the Internet’s best earth-friendly shops, shops that offer products designed with the planet in mind. Over 400 online stores are included and evaluated on several different criteria—their level of “green”, how easy or difficult it is to navigate the website, and shipping costs. Thumbing through the pages of thepurplebook green edition (which, of course, is made from recycled paper) you’ll find an alphabetical list of the green e-tailers and a helpful index by product category.

From art supplies to shirts and ties, you’ll find this book full of responsible online shopping options in a wide variety of categories. It includes helpful hints for going green or getting greener. A listing of green organizations is particularly useful for further research and information.

thepurplebook green edition by Hillary Mendelsohn and Ian Anderson. Published by Purple Book LLC. January 2008. Paperback. 288 pages. $11.95. More information or to purchase, visit,, or


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