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Community spirits soar with global gift economy experiment

Buy Nothing Project

The Buy Nothing Project cultivates community connections through giving, sharing and loaning items within neighbourhoods.

Put your wallet away. The Buy Nothing movement is all about giving and receiving, sustainability and a whole lot of community spirit.

There’s nothing like a good declutter to tidy and simplify our homes, but as we pile up our treasures of yesterday it begs the question – if it’s too good to throw out, what do we do with it?

The Buy Nothing Project was founded in 2013 by Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark in Bainbridge Island, Washington, when they felt that as a society, we buy too much and connect too little. They realised their past treasures could be circulated within their local community, which could simultaneously lessen the burden of continually buying (particularly with children) and create goodwill amongst their neighbours.

Through the easy-to-use and free medium of Facebook, the Buy Nothing Project started up in Bainbridge Island before the idea caught on globally and three years later, it’s represented in 17 countries.  Western Australia alone has 23 local groups operating on the gift economy experiment, with each group hosting only members who live within the specified zone determined by the group’s administration.

The rules of the Project depict all items or services are to be given freely, shared or loaned to other members. From the Buy Nothing Subiaco/Shenton Park page, anything from baby clothing to children’s car seats, washing machines to printers are offered with a short, descriptive post and picture. If members are in need of something specific, the Project also encourages people to ask their community before rushing to the shops. No bartering or trades are allowed because they detract from the premise of gifting, nor is it the place for a community bulletin board or self-promotion.

The Buy Nothing pages simply provide a place for giving and sharing as members experience ‘the power of &’ to its fullest, furthering their connections with the people around them all while saving a dollar or two.


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