Freecycle isn't really a web service – it just happens to be administered via the Internet. The concept is simple: if you have something you don't need, give it away to someone who does.

There are almost 500 regional Freecycle branches in the UK, each one running a dedicated Yahoo! Groups message board where members can advertise goods for free.

The folks behind Freecycle say that it's not just a place to get something for nothing; instead, it's driven by environmental and ecological concerns, resulting in "a free cycle of giving which keeps stuff out of landfills".

Whether every member agrees with that philosophy is open to debate. There's no shortage of items on offer, though, and a trawl through local groups reveals requests for all kinds of items, from PCs to couches.

Freecycle is made up of individual communities that tend to police and manage themselves. You'll find them very keen to protect the Freecycle name and way of doing things, which is very different to many of the for-profit sites.