Based in Toronto and New York City

, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

A Home for Household Surplus

Problem: You have unused building or renovation materials, like bathroom tile, that you want to get rid of, but don't have time to responsibly recycle each item.

Solution: There has been a growing interest in the "freecycling" process: repurposing potential landfill material by putting it into the hands of needy individuals or organizations. The nonprofit is the largest of a number of sites dedicated to connecting donors and recipients. The site uses Yahoo! Groups to link you to members in your community, with whom you can arrange free personal drop-offs or pick-ups. Habitat for Humanity ( will connect you to a local bricks-and-mortar "ReStore" where you can donate leftover building materials or buy them for a fraction of their retail cost. Many cities have Web sites (New York City's is that refer you to organizations that will help you donate or resell your stuff. Check your local department of waste management to see if your city has a site. For a list of reuse organizations nationwide, check and click on "Find a Reuse Center." lets you put anything you own into a free virtual-lending library for reciprocal borrowing with your neighbors. If you are leery of dealing with strangers through freecycle and neighborrow, anonymous pick-up or drop-offs can be arranged.

Starved for adequate care

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