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Author Topic: Little Free Surplus needs 10 square meters of outdoor space (NH)  (Read 178 times)


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Little Free Surplus needs 10 square meters of outdoor space (NH)
« on: September 09, 2018, 01:34:56 pm »

"We threw away things people kill each other for now."
   - Denzel Washington's character in "The Book of Eli." 

Every day, New Hampshirites probably trash over a hundred tons of items which (under other circumstances) would save lives.   Grocery bags, watertight containers, pieces of cloth, etc...things that are reasonable to pitch.  But if there were an interruption in commerce, these items and other "usable throwaways" would run short.   You would wish you had kept more of them during the preceding months.  What if there were an intermediate option that combined the advantages of throwing them away with the advantages of keeping them?

I call this concept "Little Free Surplus," inspired by the Little Free Libraries.   Ideally each LFS would be an easy-on-the-eyes box of potentially useful throwaways.  It might sit publicly available at the edge of its owner's driveway...with a small sign explaining its purpose.  In this example, anyone could add or remove items at their convenience.  Or to avoid getting dumped on, maybe you could store an LFS in a less public location...perhaps only friends/neighbors could add and subtract from it.  You could even keep it to yourself.  Suppose there were one or two in every neighborhood. During normal times people could donate to them or take from them as appropriate. Some items are too useful to throw away, while too damaged for goodwill....but one man's junk is another man's treasure even in good times. During a big disaster, the whole LFS would become valuable, and more importantly it would be pre-positioned.  Probably the owner of the property would simply bring it inside for use or resale.  That's better than going unused in a landfill, and it would mean at least there are more usable items within that neighborhood at the beginning of the troubles.   But ideally the LFS would become a trading center or a place where you put and retrieve usable items that are considered surplus even during the crisis.

Here's what an LFS might easily contain just by keeping your eyes open at the transfer station or collecting your own throwaways for a year:

Ways you can help:

- If you have the heart to serve as a humanitarian resource during a disaster, or a desire to have a free disaster supply box that people fill for you... you can provide space for LFS.
- If you have extra "usable throwaways," you could donate some to an LFS instead of pitching them.
- If you have a could transport such items from collectors to receivers...or from one LFS to another. 

Maybe we could start an LFS network.  Maybe we could reduce waste and loss of life in one go.

But good things start small. I'm collecting the contents for *one* LFS now. And I'm not sure I have a good place to put it long term.  I need a volunteer or two in south west or south central New Hampshire who likes this idea and can provide me about ten square meters of free space.  It can be indoors or outdoors, available to the public or not...but the main thing is you would need to take possession of it. I might not be able to come back and move it.  You can contact me by posting here on, by message me here or by emailing me.  Go to and click "about" to see my email addie.

"Little Free Surplus:
Turn your trashes
Into emergency caches!"
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 02:20:59 am by RidleyReport »
Logged - If Britain can do it, New Hampshire can do it


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Re: Little Free Surplus project needs 10 square meters of outdoor space (NH)
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2018, 01:38:00 pm »

Here's what an LFS might easily contain just by keeping your eyes open or collecting your own throwaways for a year:

Pepsi bottles filled with tap water + trace bleach
old towels
 used candles
used sterilized toothbrushes
pen fragment, capable of writing with
torn curtain
scrap thread
safety pins,   dipped in vaseline to prevent rusting
10 matches and a scrap striking strip
rusty nails    dipped in vaseline to prevent further rusting (found on telephone poles!)
torn tarp 10' x 10'.  Maybe it covers the contianers to prevent direct sunlight.
surplus dental floss
used but sterilized sponges
used but washed aluminum foil scraps
used but washed/sterilized peanut jars
surplus machine oil
kerosene someone was about to throw away
bike tube or other parts
surplus cd's, dvd's or flash drives filled with keyword searchable information and images about how to treat water and other disaster skills
20' scrap electrical cord
surplus can opener
 mismatched pair of work gloves
 mismatched warm gloves
wood boards, various sizes
 ragged shirts,
rusty pair of scissors,    dipped in vaseline to prevent further rusting
 ragged pants,
ragged wool socks,
ragged wool hats
rubber bands
pieces of partly blank scrap paper
soap scraps
old rags
dandelion seeds (dandelions are edible and obviously easy to grow.)
used but clean plastic grocery bags
pennies (can be used as screwdrivers and might maintain enough currency value to trade for a few matches or other lifesaving scraps)
one-pint metal soup cans (useful for digging)
one-gallon metal coffee cans (useful for boiling water or making a hobo stove)
used but sterilized disposabe safety razors , blades dipped in vaseline or something to prevent rusting
printouts of disaster related information
childrens' toys

Items might be separated into containers based on whether the container is likely to become damp. For example, you wouldn't put a spare can opener in the same box as a bottle of tap water, because the latter would cause dampness if it freezes and thaws...rusting the can opener.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 01:45:04 pm by RidleyReport »
Logged - If Britain can do it, New Hampshire can do it
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