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Hyperlocal Generosity

There is so much stuff in the world, usually sitting unused or unwanted. This research project explores the value and possibilities of Buy Nothing groups - an international digital gift economy movement - to build community and reduce consumption. The Buy Nothing movement began in 2013 and aims to facilitate a way of giving and receiving that steps away from traditional methods of consuming via monetary exchange. These suburb or neighbourhood-based groups encourage generosity in local communities, by encouraging neighbours to gift and ask for items and services as they have or need them. The primary rule of the Buy Nothing movement is that all products are gifted – never traded or sold. This alternative economy offers a model and insights into how everyday citizens are taking on sustainable consumption practices. 

What we are interested in knowing

Community wellbeing

Does group participation increase individual and community wellbeing, through benefits from increased connectedness and the power of altrusim? 

Reducing consumption

Does group membership change people's consumption habits? How can a community's resources be shared? 

Waste reduction

What kinds of items and services are circulated in the group? Does membership change what people throw out, or how they dispose of items? 

Reseach so far

Currently, we are running a small pilot study to explore the above questions, We are observing the posts in two separate Buy Nothing groups, and interviewing members to hear about their experiences, motivations and challenges. We are then hoping to take the findings forward into a larger research project that will explore the potential opportunities these cultures of generosity offer for revaluing ‘waste’ and decreasing consumption, with its associated environmental harms. We encourage you to get involved by:

  • Joining your local Buy Nothing group. This can be done by searching "buy nothing" and your suburb or town name on Facebook

  • Offering to be interviewed about your "buy nothing" experiences. Whether you have been a member for 2 weeks or 2 years we would love to hear from you. 

  • Getting in touch with ideas or your own questions about the project. 

To be in touch please email                                                       

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