Upgrade Your World 15/10/15

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This press release was posted on our website - http://www.ilovefreegle.org/blog/

Press Release Upgrade Your World 15/10/15 October 15th, 2015

Press Release 8am London time Thursday 15 October 2015

The online UK reuse network Freegle is one of only 50 organisations from around the world chosen via a public vote to win $50,000 (£32k) from Microsoft in their UpgradeYourWorld initiative.

Freegle aims to provide an easy, free, local and friendly way to reuse stuff to avoid unnecessary disposal and to enable positive social action.

Microsoft is supporting charities who are improving their world in these 10 countries — Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Ten organisations in each country will receive cash investments ($50,000) and technology.

Freegle groups enable anyone to give away their unwanted goods, so that they can be reused locally. This displaces the need to always buy new and diverts items from being unnecessarily thrown away across the UK. Importantly the reuse of unwanted things also helps those with financial challenges, enables social and environmental responsibility, redistributes wealth, encourages repairing and upcycling, reduces our collective carbon footprint and builds community resilience.

Freegle is good for people, planet and pocket. The triple bottom line and all for free.

About 1,000 tonnes of goods are kept in circulation every month via Freegle across the UK.

Reuse is a vital cog in creating a circular economy- a fairer and more sustainable consumer framework.

Freegle is a totally volunteer powered UK grass roots project that has an annual budget of about £10,000 in donations to support over 2 million members in 407 groups. About half a million Freegle member emails are processed daily. Winning $50k (£32,000) is a transformative and thrilling development not just for Freegle but also a real boost for the global Reuse Movement.

Winning £32,000 will truly upgrade Freegle – we hope to build of a new interface which will facilitate member’s reuse activity and will be really user-friendly, fit for purpose, integrated with other online streams, measure outcomes and be easier to access and manage. This will increase reuse by improving the Freegle experience, highlight benefits and thus attract a wider demographic to join in. A new Freegle online service will also make it less complex for our volunteers to support waste prevention in their local area. Upgrading Freegle would not be possible without the Microsoft winnings as reuse is sadly undervalued – with limited funding and investment opportunities.

Edward Hibbert, the Freegle Board Chair says:

“Freegle is thrilled to bits to get this generous support from Microsoft. Every day across the UK we help people give and get things for free in their local communities, rather than wasting stuff by throwing it away. Freegle is free to use, but we’re not free to run, and behind the scenes our IT platform is desperately in need of a revamp. As a volunteer-run grass roots organisation, we really struggle for funding, so this is a massive boost for us – it means we can do even more to reuse, upcycle, and upgrade our world.”

The UK consumes 600 million tonnes of new materials and goods annually. About 125 million tonnes is recycled annually and some goods are actually used! Other stuff is hoarded or stored but shamefully as a society we are programmed to dispose of things – which is often easier and cheaper to do than repair, reuse or recycling. As a consequence millions of tonnes of reusable items are discarded each year – buried in landfill or burnt in incinerators – this makes it almost impossible to extract the inherent raw materials back and makes a mockery of the energy and resources already expended to have made those items in the first place. This is why it is important for the reuse sector to improve and expand services.

Cat Fletcher, Freegle Head of Media and a waste activist based in Brighton says:

“Freegle winning an UpgradeYourWorld prize will be transformative for the Reuse movement in the UK. Freegle already has hundreds of volunteers who are passionate about helping everyone in the UK to reduce waste. We know that by making it easy to pass on unwanted things in a local area also helps to address poverty, increase community spirit as well as saving money and resources for all sectors in that area. Being able to partner with Microsoft, means that Freegle can provide a much better online service to increase our positive impact. Improving the Freegle experience will make reusing things easier and more appealing to do. This is fantastic news for people in the UK and our precious planet! Being able to upgrade our world is a dream come true for our Freegle volunteers and 2.3 million members and will boost social responsibility and waste prevention across the UK.”

Notes for editors

Freegle was formed in 2009 by hundreds of UK volunteers who wanted a democratically-run network for UK online reuse groups. The 6 year old network has 407 locally-run free reuse groups with over 2.3million members around the UK. It has grown 350% in those 6 years.

Freegle has no paid staff.

The free service is powered by ~600 volunteers who also elect 7 Board members to run the network democratically.

Freegle is an Industrial and Provident Society for the Community benefit (a co-op model) and registered with HMRC as charitable.

Freegle is operated on about £10,000 of annual donations http://www.iloveFreegle.org/donate/use.php and has free hosting from Bytemark

Freegle Membership 14/10/15 2,360,687 members (2.3 million)

Website http://www.iloveFreegle.org/

Freegle has 100,000 followers across social media.

We aim to raise awareness about waste issues. Inspire waste prevention, reuse and resourcefulness via these channels.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Freegle

Twitter @thisisFreegle https://twitter.com/thisisFreegle

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/freegleuk/

Instagram https://instagram.com/thisisfreegle/

Freegle constitutional aims are to: • Promote the keeping of usable items out of the waste stream. • Promote and support local community groups working in the area of reuse. • Empower and support volunteers working for local Freegle groups. • Inform and educate the public about environmental matters related to the reuse and recycling of unwanted usable goods. • Promote sustainable waste management practices.

At 08:01 London time Thurs 15 October:

Microsoft Corp will publish a blog at http://blogs.windows.com/ This will then be followed by a press release through http://news.microsoft.com/category/press-releases/ and social activity through http://twitter.com/windows The main Upgrade Your World site will also update.

The 5 UK Upgrade Your World winning organisations

Reuse and waste prevention UK data, evidence and resources via WRAP here: http://www.wrap.org.uk/category/subject/re-use

English waste prevention directive (all EU states have a WPD) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/waste-prevention-programme-for-england

Media enquiries

Freegle logos: to download for use: http://wiki.ilovefreegle.org/Logos Cat Fletcher – Freegle spokesperson Freegle Volunteer, Co-founder, Director, Head of Media Based in Brighton, England 07962449573 media@ilovefreegle.org

Edward Hibbert – Freegle Board Chair Freegle Volunteer, Co-founder, Director and Head of ICT Based in Ribble Valley, Lancashire 01772 785 238 chair@ilovefreegle.org

Tags: charity, community, freegle, microsoft, non-profit, recycling, reuse, UpgradeYourWorld, waste, waste prevention, windows

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