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Bytemark helps Freegle save £1.3 million of goods from landfill.

“Don’t throw it away — give it away!” That’s the motto behind Freegle, a community of almost 2 million users that aims to increase re-use, and reduce landfill in the UK. Freegle’s 1,000 volunteers work on an annual budget of just £10k to save around £1.3 million of goods from landfill — an ROI of 13,000%!



Every year, the UK throws away over 100 million tonnes of waste a year, of which about a third is household waste. And that number is going up by 3% every year, meaning that amount could double in just 25 years.

Freegle was established as an answer to Britain’s growing waste problem. Capitalising on the fact that we all love something for nothing, Freegle helps connect people with things they don’t want to those who need them.

Freegle items must be legal and appropriate – and, of course, free. Their philosophy of re-use, coupled with renewed interest in upcycling means the site is more popular than ever.

Volunteer site admin Ed Hibbert explains:

When you get some TV coverage, people across the country see the name “Freegle” on screen and decide to check out your website. All at once!

Suddenly, Freegle has 50 or 100 times its normal traffic. And it’s important it handles it well because first impressions count.

Struggling with a limited budget and upcoming appearances on Kirstie Allsopp’s “Fill your House for Free” (Channel4) amongst others, Freegle needed help scaling up their hosting – but they knew that might cost more than they’d planned

We can’t afford to pay for much, because, well, giving stuff away for free is hard to monetise!

The solution

Freegle did what they do best and asked Bytemark to help – for free! Explaining their small budget but huge positive impact, we were only too happy to help out.

Bytemark worked closely with the small but dedicated Freegle geek team to design a fast, scalable database cluster that could weather both planned and unexpected TV coverage.

Freegle run a Percona XtraDB cluster powered by Bytemark Cloud Servers. Making use of our SSD storage, Freegle can be sure the database runs as quickly as possible and also maintains a live backup.

Bytemark also provide a load balancer to spread the load from traffic spikes and a firewall to protect against malicious attacks.

When TV coverage takes place, Freegle can quickly scale their user-facing servers up to 16 cores and 180GB, meaning they can happily scale to thousands of page views per minute!

Freegle pageviews chart

Freegle say:

Bytemark has provided us some splendid hosting which has really helped with the kind of load spikes we get from TV coverage!

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