A hyperlocal gift-giving economy is at your fingertips in The Hills. The Buy Nothing Project, an initiative that seeks to reduce landfill, also holds the power to connect locals through random acts of generosity.
Going beyond the limitations of an online thrift shop, the initiative’s premise is simple: use the group to “gift” items to your neighbours or alternatively, ask group members for something you want or need. The catch: no money can exchange hands and one item cannot be traded for another. It must be given away—gifted—for free.
This sustainability-centred movement originally hatched in the US in 2013 and quickly spread its wings to communities worldwide, including ours. With several Buy Nothing groups popping up in our region, The Hills community can now locally embrace this grassroots movement. What’s more, the vast array of items on offer is simply mind-blowing! Items can range from bunk beds, to bikes, to Bunya nuts (yes, Bunya nuts!) and everything in between. If you’ve recently played witness to the peculiar sight of ladies marching around in pink gumboots, you can very well assume they have come from our local Buy Nothing group. Why on earth? Well, a member recently offered up 350 pairs of gumboots to be gifted, thus cancelling their appointment with the dump!
Bethany, a proud co-admin of the Ferny Hills BN page, fervently states, “I love seeing how creative people can be with how they reuse items. It is really unexpected sometimes but wonderful that things are getting another life!”
In March 2019, local Ashley Smith started The Hill’s very own Buy Nothing movement. She had heard whispers of the benefits of the Buy Nothing Project and became frustrated that the only local page available was over in The Gap (founded by Diana). So, taking matters into her own hands, she gave life to one herself- after a little training, of course!
Fast as wind, word began to spread, and by December 2019, the group had reached a staggering 1,000 plus members. However, as the group grew, the sense of community became diluted. Despite having a significant number of members, there were much fewer participants. It quickly became clear to the admins (people assigned to regulate the page) that they weren’t collectively serving their purpose of “giving where you’re living”.
“We started noticing some niggles that tend to happen in larger groups. More and more people were giving to the first person who commented. This is a Buy Nothing no-no. It makes the gift a transaction and there are plenty of groups and marketplaces where you can have this type of exchange. They were complaining about distances and asking members to state their location so they could choose who to request gifts from,” Ashley revealed.
It wasn’t until January that the admins on the page launched their plan of attack to preserve the true ethos of the Buy Nothing Project. They opted to divide the original “mama” group, which consisted of residents from Arana Hills, Everton Hills, Everton Park, Ferny Hills, Ferny Grove and Bunya into smaller, more hyperlocal groups of just a few suburbs. From this endeavour, hyperlocal communities sprouted up from the ground and are currently thriving.
“Through these efforts, we have seen the core values of the movement being retained – human connection and meeting your neighbours,” Bethany has reported, rejoicing in the success of the Buy Nothing project.
So, why not look up your local Buy Nothing page and join this motley crew of generous souls? If you’re sick of fast fashion, unnecessary plastic waste and hearing the horror stories surrounding landfill’s impact on our environment, this is your chance to act! The local groups include
- Arana Hills / Everton Hills / Everton Park
- Bunya, Ferny Grove / Ferny Hills
- McDowall / Stafford / Stafford Heights / Kedron / Gordon Park
- The Gap
- Dayboro / Mount Samson / Clear Mountain / Samford Valley
- Eatons Hill/Albany Creek/Bridgeman Downs
- Keperra / Michelton / Gaythorne / Enoggera / Alderley
- Upper Kedron / Ferny Grove / Keperra
Remember, kindness is free, but priceless to receive. What are you waiting for?