The Buy Nothing Project has begun to ramp back up as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease across Western Australia.
The recycling platform run via hyper-local Facebook groups works by re-gifting and borrowing the goods and services of neighbours in a given community.
It encourages members to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle, while promoting the refusal of purchasing new products.
According to the Buy Nothing Project’s official website, the social movement “allows individuals and communities to reduce their own dependence on single-use and virgin materials by extending the life of existing items through gifting and sharing between group members.”
Volunteer co-admin. of Buy Nothing Como East, Fiona Plain, says the group not only promotes both a reduction in the purchasing of new goods but also increases a sense of belonging within neighbourhoods.
“The social benefits of interconnected communities have been well researched and it’s great to be adding to this locally.”
She says it is a wonderful way for people to stay connected with other members of their community.
“I grew up in a small town where making connections was easy, in modern times and in larger cities this seems more difficult… [being a member] is one way [connections] can be started.”
Buy Nothing member Shannon O’Daly says the group strengthens a sense of community through the joy of giving and receiving, and helping one another out.
She says it is also a place for people in need to seek help especially those under financial strain.
“Instead of throwing perfectly good things out, people can gift them to someone who needs it or will find a use for it.”
Volunteer co-admin. of Buy Nothing Como East, Tracey-Ann Doe, says when an item is in high demand, picking who it will go to can be a fun process for members.
The gift economy currently has more than 1.2 million participants globally from at least 25 countries and is led by more than 6,000 volunteers.
Products advertised range from simple food products and clothing to substantial pieces of furniture and electronics such as fridges, televisions and couches.
Members of the Como East group say the most bizarre items to be re-gifted include opened and expired food products, a beer holding belt and even left over dinners.