Press Kit
The Buy Nothing Project
Buy Nothing. Give Freely. Share Creatively.

The Buy Nothing Project began when two friends, Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark, created an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, WA, in July, 2013. Since then, it has become a worldwide social movement, with groups in 44 nations. Each of us has the power to form a local gift economy around us that is complementary and parallel to worldwide cash economies; whether people join because they’d like to quickly get rid of things that are cluttering their lives, or simply to save money by getting things for free, they soon discover that Buy Nothing is not just another free recycling platform. A gift economy’s real wealth is the people involved and the web of connections that forms to support them. Time and again, members of our gift economies find themselves spending more and more time interacting, finding new ways to give back to the community that has brought humor, entertainment, and yes, free stuff into their lives. The Buy Nothing Project is about setting the scarcity model of our cash economy aside in favor of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us.
By the numbers
Buy Nothing global community members
Amazing Buy Nothing Community Builders
Buy Nothing communities around the world
BuyNothing app downloads, worldwide
How does the Buy Nothing Project work?
It’s easy! Join the BuyNothing app, set up your personal profile so your neighbors can “meet” you, take a few photos and start posting your Asks, Gives, and Gratitude.

Buy Nothing Project Rules are Simple: 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.

We provide free training and resources that empower people to get the most from their Buy Nothing experience. The fastest way to join Buy Nothing is via our independently-hosted free app available for Apple and Android users (and coming soon as a web app). You can also search through our directory to see if there is a Buy Nothing group on another social media platform. Use our free tools to set up a non-commercial, non-monetized Buy Nothing Project community wherever you would like. Visit our Help Center for more information.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the philosophy and the complete Buy Nothing lifestyle, in April, 2020, Simon & Schuster published co-founders’ Liesl and Rebecca’s first book, The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan. This book is available at your local public library, and in many Buy Nothing groups. The book offers a blueprint for every person to build their own gift economy mindset, no social media required.
Why the Buy Nothing Project?
We're building community.
The Buy Nothing Project is brought to you by two friends who have worked hard to address the first of the three infamous “Rs,” Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling. Rebecca and Liesl want to address the “Reduce” part of the equation, as well as the lesser-known Rs, “Refuse” and “Rethink.”
The Environment
Participating in Buy Nothing 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 neighbors. Rethinking consumption and refusing to buy new in favor of asking for an item from a neighbor may make an impact on the amount of goods manufactured in the first place, which in turn may put a dent in the overproduction of unnecessary goods that end up in our landfills, watersheds, and our seas. It also creates connections between people who see each other in real life, not just online, leading to more robust communities that are better prepared to tackle both hard times and good by giving freely.

Sharing builds trust between members, and this trust allows groups to grow quickly and encourages people to both give freely and ask for what they need; everything from toilet paper roll springs to rides home from the doctor; burial sites for beloved pets to freshly-baked bread and casseroles have been given freely. Participants share things mundane and meaningful in equal measure, and throughout it all connect with each other by means of the shared personal stories and chatting.
We are a completely grass-roots, all-volunteer project run for years with no funding . The reach of this movement is all thanks to individuals who believe in our ideals, who set up local gift economies and serve them as hosts, the people who volunteer their time as mentors, librarians and guides, and everyone who contributes their time, expertise, and talents. We follow a true gift economy model. We thank everyone who makes this collaborative project what it is.

Liesl and Rebecca are also co-founders of ShareThing with Tunji Williams and Lucas Rix. All 4 are volunteering their time with this startup which is a Benefit Corporation to offer the free BuyNothing app to the world as a custom-designed platform just for Buy Nothing, accessible to everyone around the world.