My bread machine broke several months ago. The pan wasn't holding liquid and that is a definite problem if you actually want to make bread. I love homemade bread, so I make the dough in the machine and then roll it into loaf pans so it's the right size for sandwiches and the like. Bread pans never make them the right size.
Anyway, my darling machine was broken, and buying a new pan was nearly the cost of a new machine, even through eBay. So I put out a request on the webgroup Freecycle for my local areas. Freecycle (and the new site EcoBees, though I haven't tried it) let you both offer and ask for free items through the internet. The quality of the items is hit and miss, but you can often find some nice things there. Mom and I have gotten a nice wood cutting board and a good-condition grill, and we've sent off some old programming books and Magic: The Gathering cards. It's fairly eclectic, but it can work.
So out went this request, and within a few hours we get a message that says "Oh, if only you'd asked sooner! I just donated my old machine to a thrift shop on [these two streets]." Off runs my madre, and luckily the machine had just hit shelves. Now we have a new-to-us bread machine that actually makes bread. The thrift store gets some money to help their charity, too. Next time there's an e-recycling event, I may pass on my base, or I might try to Freecycle it back.
Key points here: community and communication. By keeping in contact with complete strangers, I was able to score a decent bread machine. I didn't have to buy anything new, and she didn't have to throw anything out. This is how community reusing works!
Have you had a Freecycle experience, or something similar? Yahoo! Green has a great list of ways to encourage community reuse.