Freecycle sounds like recycle for a reason — it means free recycling. Freecycle is a global network that allows users to save reusable items from life in a landfill by providing an online registry where users can get and list free items for reuse or recycling.

Now, a new London idea called Ourgreendistrict is taking the recycled books_0concept of Freecycle and applying it to businesses. Like Freecycle, Ourgreendistrict enables businesses to post unwanted office items online, where other local businesses can take them for reuse.

Ourgreendistrict is the kind of innovative solution Reset San Francisco strives for. We’ve seen how web 2.0 technology can serve to advance the principles of Government 2.0. San Francisco is a tech city, and we talk a good game when it comes to Gov 2.0 – but we aren’t there yet.

Government Freecycle for Gov 2.0 in San Francisco

Last week Paul Revere Elementary School in San Francisco made news because they threw out hundreds of unused textbooks. The outrage over the apparent wastefulness was understandable given all the budget cuts facing the SFUSD. What’s worse, is that apparently this isn’t the first time perfectly good books have been tossed.

This got us here at Reset thinking… If London can apply the Freecycle model to businesses, why can’t we apply it to government? Certainly, SFUSD is not the only government department that faces challenges in what to do with unneeded supplies.

There is no reason why the Freecycle model can’t be applied to San Francisco government. Freecycle’s database serves over 7.5 million people and costs only $200,000 annually to run. There is already a free online Freecycle@work application designed for companies.

In a time when budget cuts are affecting every aspect of government, we cannot afford to throw out textbooks, or any other supplies. By establishing a website where agencies can post their unneeded reusable goods, we can cut down on government costs and be at the forefront of Government 2.0. We all want to create a greener city (and keep our greenest city title), and we all want to cut costs. And, if San Francisco government departments can work together as a community to “Freecycle” unneeded goods, then we can achieve both.