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Why You Should Give Away Free Stuff To Your Neighbors

Research suggests that people who participate in Freecycle communities experience greater group identity and solidarity.
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Flickr/Lomiere

Freecycle launched in Tucson, Arizona, back in 2003 as a local email list with the simple premise of helping people unload junk they no longer wanted – furniture, clothing, office supplies, you name it – onto nearby people who did. The system came with one rule: Whatever you’re giving up, you can ask for nothing in return. Everything must be free.

Today, the online network of Freecycle communities has nearly 9 million members around the world all collecting hand-me-downs from each other’s doorsteps. These people have gone even further than "collaborative consumption" or a "sharing economy." They’ve created a massive gifting economy.