The idea behind Swaptree is simple. You have a stack of old books, CDs, and maybe video games that you never use. Of course, being a conscientious greenie, you don’t want to add to our already clogged landfills by throwing them away. You could donate them to the local library (so long as there’s no profanity, violence, not already too many copies there, etc) but there’s this book you’ve been dying to read… you’re the perfect candidate to sign up for Swaptree now! You list the items you have, then search the items that others have, arranging free trades with people. So you get The Botany of Desire (an awesome read!) for the price of shipping, and also manage to rid yourself of that dusty old copy of the joy of cooking that Aunt Mabel gave you even though your apartment doesn’t even have a kitchen. Saves landfill space, introduces you to media you may not even have known about, and helps to undermine the excessive capitalism that’s sweeping the planet all with one click. It only takes a second to sign up (well, their website claims it takes 8 seconds, so I’ll trust them on that), which you can do at the Swaptree Signup Page.
A brief tour around the site revealed some pretty interesting looking picks available for trade… the first Godfather movie, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Star Wars movies and complete seasons of many many TV shows, the Complete Planet Earth collection on DVD (an amazing series), lots of kids movies, music ranging from Bob Marley to Madonna and pretty much everything in between, and a wide assortment of video games, of which I won’t even pretend to know what’s hot and what’s not. I’d bet that no matter what your tastes there’s something here for you.
Part of going off-grid involves understanding that the capitalist system in which we’ve been raised is unsustainable and needs to change. Barter predates the exchange of money as a form of goods exchange by a long time, and is a more globally conscious way of doing business removing the money component of the trade. If you want some interesting fodder for thought on this topic, watch Zeitgeist: Addendum (or it’s predecessor Zeitgeist), available for free on Google video. After the two to four hours it takes to complete this mini rite of conscious passage, you’ll have a whole new understanding of the ways in which those in power control us through our present financial system. It will also make internet sites like Swaptree and Freecycle make that much more sense. But do you really need to be convinced that getting free stuff for the stuff you don’t want is a beautiful thing? Visit today!