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Neighborhood Exchange Boxes Help Geneva Reuse 32 Tons of Goods

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On street corners throughout Switzerland, colorful painted boxes the size of a pay phone booth declare: BOÎTES D’ÉCHANGE ENTRE VOISINS. A box for exchange between neighbors.

Part art project and part social experiment with a dash of scavenger hunt, these neighborhood exchange boxes host an ever-changing catalog of free items: a panda lunch box, a plastic colander, toy trucks, a circular cat toy, a nylon backpack and, of course, stacks of books. Passers-by can post that day’s findings in their local box and tag it on Twitter with #hclbox. Since the project started in 2011, neighbors in Geneva have exchanged 32 tons of free goods.

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