By Shae Hadden | BioMy habits of reducing and reusing come from a tradition I inherited from my family, a tradition that firmly believed in the value of sharing and stewardship. My father used to tell me of Depression days when his mother would wash the tea bags and dry them for reuse, and when he, being a ‘middle’ son in a family of 13, could always count on wearing ‘hand-me-downs’. Considering the environmental and economic crises we face, it’s no surprise that the principles of communal sharing, stewardship and ‘gifting’ are feeding the move to reduce, reuse and recycle. People of all ages are looking at ways to keep ‘stuff’ out of landfill sites.
In the 1960s the hippies of Haight-Ashbury opened ‘free shops’ to swap clothes, shoes and personal items. In the US today, ‘giveaway shops’ have evolved into ‘swap sheds’ in rural towns (where people leave things that are usable but unwanted for anyone to take) and ‘free stores’ or ‘free bins’ on college campuses (stocked with donations or items that students have sorted from trash). Official give-away stores with retail storefronts have existed in