The Changing European Mentality About Shopping for Free

When getting things for free, there always seems to be an implicit condition where one has to sacrifice something as “payback” for what they received.  Often times, a donor may look to get something material out of it too, usually a tax deduction.

Juul MartinGiving without expectation is freeing, according to Dutch social-entrepreneur & public speaker Juul Martin in “Sharing Vouchers Offer a Simple Way to Share Anything”, an interview he did with the good folk at Sharing Vouchers are an original idea of Martin’s wherein strangers trade favors and services through the exchange of personal information written on designated notes with the sharing initiative’s logo on them.

Treasure Circle(TC) is the high-tech counterpart to the Sharing Vouchers’ “no-tech, neighborly way to create a culture of sharing.” Like Treasure Circle,  the Sharing Vouchers venture may also include material items and not just services and favors, however involved or minuscule they might be.  The potential of this type of giving truly knows no limit.

Receiving things freely should never be considered demeaning.  People need to feel more secure about being handed items for nothing, and givers need to truly give. “Giving without expectation of reciprocity would make more relaxed societies,” Martin points out in the interview.

A retail shop detailed in In France, The Freecycle Movement Is Going Retail, touches the true heart of gifting.  It’s not clear how the bills are paid to run the operation called La Boutique Sans D’Argent, yet people are amazed at what’s given away freely, and it draws in gracious people. Some even donate unneeded things they bought from elsewhere.

11667372_392381604295491_8088975016243679227_nElsewhere, residents plant gardens that others are welcome to take from. In the city of Bordeaux, a cafe not long ago began allowing patrons to pay for their cup of coffee and donate the cost of one for any needy patron to drink for free. This sort of system, which has spread all over France, is self-regulating in that nobody abuses the generosity and it’s used only as necessary.

Society needs to sincerely appreciate progressive initiatives like the aforementioned ones in Europe and our own TC.  They allow people to be resourceful, work together, help the environment, redirect money where it’s most needed, create jobs, and simply revolutionize the ways of society & our global economy.


Recyclepalooza, the Circular Economy, and Treasure Circle

ShareFestRecyclepalooza, an outdoor event, part of month long Sharefest, in Will County, Illinois, promotes “green” practices, ranging from recycling of household material such as old lumber and paint, to safely disposing of hazardous household material, to reusing of items such as old clothing, books and more.

As noted in the September 2015 article, “Junk-Filled Journey” in the Chicago Tribune, a resident couple appreciates how Recyclepalooza offers an expedient way to dispose of trash such as the fencing around their home, which would only be able to be taken one section at a time with regular municipality pickup.

Recyclepalooza’s push for reuse of items pertains to that of our recent Free Market event which allowed for the cordial exchange of perfectly good, reusable, unwanted items between people.  Reuse is touted by Marta Keane, a recycling program specialist in the article, as better than recycling because it needs less resources. Reuse increases the time lag from when goods are first purchased to when they end up in a recycling facility, where additional energy is used, generating pollution, or in an already overflowing landfill, where Earth’s space is used up. Reuse is sustainable. Building sustainable communities is a core concept of Treasure Circle.

People can live and thrive on recirculating among themselves, the finite goods that society produces.   Reusing material goods to their fullest potential, and then to “repurpose” or find a different use for them, allows our planet to conserve natural resources and for individuals to retain their material and financial wealth.  This new age thinking of building more sustainable communities through reuse and repurpose is coined the “Circular Economy”.

ShareFestShareFest’s main event also allows exchange of services between individuals, like free haircuts, legal services and a health and safety fair offering free eye exams and dental cleanings for kindergarten through high school students.

TC can also be a channel for exchange of such services and/or favors and not just material goods, which could even include food, between people.

The successful turnout and people’s enthusiasm during our “Free Market” event, as well as the steadily increasing yearly attendees for Recyclepalooza is promising.  Introducing “green” ideas and standards to live by is gaining  a lot of momentum.

– K.P

TC twitter page_edited-1234x422

Crowd Funding and Getting a Great Idea Across

Raising money through “Crowd funding” today is a fantastic way of reaching many people with a great idea that, if presented properly, can bring some very generous financial support to take a concept to the project stage, and leave many crowd funders in delightful anticipation of having helped & later being rewarded by a successful enterprise.

Our recent unsuccessful crowd funding campaign on, taught us very early on how critical and delicate the process is of picking and choosing the right words & positioning for an innovative project such as Treasure Circle. Being newcomers to the process, we were immediately beset with a laundry list of “Do’s and Don’ts”, including the major task of choosing the right crowd fund website and promotional strategy for our project.

Treasure Circle® is like a foggy road to a new and better culture that will sustain our society. We’re at dawn as the sun is rising and the fog is about to burn off. That, in turn, will make it’s direction all very clear. We chose to build our road on the grand Kickstarter landscape using the category or “road sign,” Technology, for lack of a better choice such as Community Interest, which was only offered on crowd fund sites that were dwarfs by comparison. As it is said that there is safety in numbers; we should have had a caravan of believers at the ready to make pledges when starting down that road, but with a smaller pot to put their gold.

For someone with crowd funding experience, our little tale would make the most sense. We know that our campaign was not successful due to a sequence of initial choices that we couldn’t reverse. It’s an example of how any idea needs the right approach, which isn’t always obvious. However, we have learned some valuable lessons as we go forward with the appreciation of many people who think the Treasure Circle idea is great, and deserves a continued effort to make it a reality. Whether it gets built through crowd funding or the generous support of only a few, I am certain it will become the better future for the most of us.

As the inventor of, I wish to thank all the people at our organization, for their continued joint moral and physical support on this journey.



Alberto Larotonda
Founder & CEO
Treasure Circle Benefit Corporation
Red Bank, New Jersey USA