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Ziilch: Where good stuff goes free

Steven Tannason

Thu Oct 06 2011

Ziilch Car

‘WANT a new bathroom – free???’ an online post reads. It has a spa bath, vanity bench, frameless shower screen and plenty more, and they can all be yours… for free. Welcome to Ziilch.

Founded by Melburnian Michelle Power, Ziilch is a trading website for individuals, businesses, charities, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises looking to give away unwanted items and find wanted items, without spending a cent.

Thinking it was too good to be true, Meld hopped on to Ziilch to see what international students could get for free. Futon couches, single beds, computers, televisions, and even an iPod cover were being offered to a good home.

But shoppers have to be quick. The best items are snapped up almost immediately and the recipient often has to go and pick up the item themselves.

“In the past, we’ve had a wedding dress and a car with a seized engine,” Ms Power says.

Co-director at a graphic design studio, Ms Power first thought of the idea when she and her husband were renovating their house a couple of years ago.

“We had a number of reusable items left over that seemed destined for the skip. I was concerned many people with good reusable items had little alternative but to dump them or put them out for hard rubbish collection,” she says.

“I created Ziilch to help divert thousands of tonnes of useful and usable items from landfills.

“We ask students who are moving (out) to consider if any of their items could be reused or upcycled by someone else.

“Ziilch is also as great place to find items to furnish your apartments or a good way to pass on second-hand textbooks.”

The website has been in the making for more than 18 months and was launched in June this year.  In the first three months, it had 30,000 visitors and more than 1,200 listings.

As well as listing personal items on offer, Ziilch also has a services directory with independent and council services such as hard waste, e-waste and recycling, and an organisation listing, where charities, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises can advertise their needs to the general public.

“We’ve had extremely positive feedback from the community and local councils,” Ms Power says.

“It would be great for Ziilch to become mainstream and inspire a reuse revolution.”