“Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. No hate speech. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.”
Do you ever find yourself with unused miscellaneous objects in the back of your cupboard that you know you won’t use but don’t want to throw away? Thanks to the Buy Nothing Project, your excess stuff can be easily picked up by a household near you that needs it instead of adding to a landfill or collecting dust in your home for another few years.
As reported by InHabitat, the first Buy Nothing group was started by friends Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller, who initiated the movement in their community of Salish Sea, an island off the coast of Seattle. They both wanted to simplify their lives by cutting down on clutter but soon saw that the entire community benefited from this sharing group in a multitude of ways.
One of the more obvious positives of a Buy Nothing group is the savings you reap as a member. According to the project’s last survey of over 2000 members, the great majority of them saved money monthly by participating. This is particularly pertinent to parents of fast-growing kids, like Mandy Campbell, who states that she’s “received bags of barely worn, sometimes luxury brand clothing” for her children.
Parents also welcome the chance to demonstrate to their children the joy of sharing and community. Campbell stresses how the Buy Nothing group makes everything easy, especially for working parents. She says, “It’s incredibly convenient to throw things on your porch rather than do regular trips to donation or junk facilities,” adding, “I love that we get to meet our neighbors and maybe even find neighborhood friends for our little ones.”
The environment benefits greatly from Buy Nothing groups too because fewer items are thrown into landfills and the demand for new products is reduced. People have started relying heavily on online shopping during the pandemic, but getting items that you need locally through a Buy Nothing group cuts down on delivery emissions and wasteful packaging.
Currently, Buy Nothing groups are set up through Facebook, so you can do some online searches and see if there is already one in your locale. The rules are stated simply on the official Buy Nothing website: “Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. No hate speech. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.”
At a time when making new connections is difficult, Buy Nothing groups give people an opportunity to foster relationships within their communities while making a positive impact on their wallet and environment.