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About

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 30 nations. Our local groups form gift economies that are complementary and parallel to local 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 quickly discover that our groups are 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 groups find themselves spending more and more time interacting in our groups, 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.

The gift of flowers. © Liesl Clark

The gift of flowers. © Liesl Clark

How does the Buy Nothing Project work? Using the free platform provided by Facebook Groups, Buy Nothing Project members can easily participate with their local group. Many people ask, “Why use Facebook?” To reach the masses and have greatest impact, we need to use the master’s tools to dismantle the castle. Our 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. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.” The transparency of Facebook groups’ design allows our members to see mutual friends they share with relative strangers, and to build trust based on real-life connections visible through personal profile information. 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; our members 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 encouraged by the platform. We rely on our co-founders’ daily guidance and direction for the development of our nascent culture, assisted by a team of volunteer local, regional, and global administrators who have on-the-ground knowledge of their communities and broader regions.

The Buy Nothing Project Connects Us With Our Neighbors. © Liesl Clark

The Buy Nothing Project Connects Us With Our Neighbors. © Liesl Clark

Why the Buy Nothing Project? 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.” Participating in a local Buy Nothing Project group 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. 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 most certainly 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. The Buy Nothing Project groups are diverting more materials from our landfills and oceans than we can possibly quantify as hundreds of items are re-homed each day.

Bounty.RebeccaRockefeller

Gifts Take Many Forms © Rebecca Rockefeller

Our Statistics:

With over 500,000 members and growing every day, we have a captive audience in each of our groups. Most members visit the group pages several times a day and many literally spend hours there, commenting, reading posts, while posting their own gifts and wants.

The Buy Nothing Project website, and our 77,000 followers on our Facebook Page, along with the person-to-person communities we have in over 3000 Facebook groups means we have enough sway to bring about significant social change.

Structure:

We are a completely grass-roots volunteer-driven project with no funding to run this movement. Our reach relies entirely on the goodwill and generosity of our members, their time, their expertise, and talents. We follow a true gift economy model. Our volunteers include Local Admins, our Development Team, Regional Team, Training Team, and our Global Team, totaling over 4000 volunteers around the world. We thank all of you for making this collaborative project what it is.

Want to know more?

Read about our Mission and Principles, find the group for your neighborhood, or join our network by starting a group in your neighborhood today!

Interested in getting in touch with us? Fill out our Member Feedback Form.

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138 comments on “About

  1. Hi! Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? We are adding groups all the time! Please have a look at the list, and copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ If you don’t see a group for your area, we just need a willing volunteer to get one started!

    https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  2. Love this idea but alas I don’t do facebook. Any other way to join a group?

  3. Hi, Nina! We only offer our groups via Facebook for several reasons – it’s free, easily accessible, and a platform that anyone can use. Many folks join Facebook just to join their local Buy Nothing group!

  4. Hello, I am looking for a group in the Springfield Mo. Area.

  5. Hi Tana!

    Did you find the hyper-local Buy Nothing community group for your area? Below is the link for North Springfield, MO, just copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/531971580238693/

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  6. Hi, my name is Ruth Ferris and I am a great grandmother. I am going to have two great granddaughters born here in just a couple of months. I was wondering if anyone might have an infant car seat they did not want any more that maybe I could have so I could have one to use in my car to take the girls when I got the chance. I would be so grateful to anyone for this. I live in Everett, WA. Thank You, and God Bless!

  7. Hi Ruth!

    To participate in the Buy Nothing Project, where you can give freely, share creatively and ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. you’ll need to find and join the group in your neighborhood from this list: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ which is updated frequently. Best of luck with your search for carseats!

  8. Please sign me up

  9. Hi Ed!

    Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please have a look at the list, and copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  10. Hello I live in Bellevue Southeast area how do I apply

  11. Hi Lauren!

    Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please have a look at the list, and copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’

    https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group

    Also if you have already sent a request to join, there is a chance someone has already sent you a Facebook message.

    Remember to check your message folders in addition to the in-box.
    Filtered (Other): https://www.facebook.com/messages/filtered
    Message Requests: https://www.facebook.com/messages/requests

    If there isn’t a Buy Nothing group yet in your community (check this list which is updated frequently https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ ), we’d love to see a gift economy started where you are. We just need a local volunteer to join us as admin (our entire network is run by volunteers).

    If you’re interested in becoming an Admin, please fill out the form you will find on the page in the following link. Once you have done so, the Development Admin for your area will contact you. Please have patience, this process is done in our volunteers’ free time, as such a reply may take some time, but I assure you they will respond.

    https://buynothingproject.org/start-a-group/

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  12. Hello,
    I emailed a while back about starting a BN for my new city. We don’t have any local places to join, as we are suburbs of Phoenix, AZ. I haven’t heard anything, but have seen a need for one. I currently started a Free Maricopa group in the meantime, but would like to eventually jump over to the BN project. My previous city (Arlington, WA) had one and it did such an amazing thing for our small community. I know our town here in Maricopa, AZ would benefit.
    Is there someone whom I can contact to use the name and be accepted under the BN Project. I do have similar guidelines already set up, so we can eventually become BN Maricopa. It has already been over a month, and no contact.
    Thank you.

  13. Hi Kellie,

    Your request for a Buy Nothing group to be created to cover your area has been received.

    Please have patience, this process is done in our volunteers’ free time, as such a reply may take some time, sometimes even several weeks; but I assure you the Development Admin for Arizona will respond.

    In the mean time I highly suggest you take the time to read over the website and learn as much as you can about the Buy Nothing Project as a whole. This page would be a good place to start, it is where the general public can learn more about becoming an Admin for our project.

    https://buynothingproject.org/join-our-team

    Thanks for offering to volunteer as Admin for the Buy Nothing Project!

  14. Sent in a request for another Local group. Great idea and gifting works!

  15. Hi Christen,

    Thanks for offering to be an Admin for a local Buy Nothing group to cover the area where you live. The Development Admin for your area will contact you. Please have patience, this process is done in our volunteers’ free time, as such a reply may take some time, but I assure you they will respond. Currently there is a backlog of several weeks, due to the huge increase in interest; our Development Team is working diligently through the requests for new groups as quickly as they are able.

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  16. How awesome. This sounds like a wonderful and very heartfelt project. I had put a add on Facebook asking if anyone had any household things they want to get rid of for free had one really sweet lady message told me about your project. Asking for help isn’t my best quality. We have been through a horrific ordeal and are having to start over with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes. I am really thankful to see some people care about helping out others God bless you and the effort your making to help people.
    Best regards Alyce Duke apple valley CA

  17. Hi, I inquired about a new Buy nothing in my area and still have not heard back. Can you assist?

  18. Hi Marina,

    Thanks for offering to be an Admin for a new local Buy Nothing group for your location. I can confirm we have received your inquiry on August 22nd.

    Please have patience, this process is done in our volunteers’ free time, as such a reply may take some time, but I assure you they will respond. Currently there is a backlog of several weeks, due to the huge increase in interest; our Development Team is working diligently through the requests for new groups as quickly as they are able.

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  19. I am in Granada Hils too looking for a group that is close.

  20. Hi Shannon,

    Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please check this list (which is updated frequently) for the groups in California, and click the link for the 1 group that covers your neighborhood, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/#CA

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  21. I see posts for West seattle, but can’t actually find the group to join? Help?

  22. Amazing this idea!!! ❤️

  23. Hi Sandra,

    Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please check this list (which is updated frequently) for the groups in Washington, and click the link for your neighborhood, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/#WA

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  24. So, there’s no way to participate without joining Zuckerberg’s empire?
    Bummer.

  25. I’m looking to join a Buy Nothing group in the Morgan Hill ca area. I’m presently a member of the buy nothing project group on Mercer Island Washington and I will say our group is awesome.
    I’m moving back to the Bay Area in Dec of this year,
    and would love 💗 to participate in the local buy nothing group.
    Thank you!!

  26. I don’t know how to join the group! Can someone tell me how to join please?

  27. How do you decide who to gift your items to?

  28. Hi C.E.,

    All of the Buy Nothing Project groups use facebook, yes … and people often ask us why we chose Facebook as our platform for The Buy Nothing Project. 1) It’s free; 2) Most of our friends and neighbors are on Facebook; and 3) It’s transparent.

    Transparency is the key ingredient to keeping a gift economy sustainable over time. Though there are some limitations to Facebook, the BNP is a network of groups completely run by Volunteers, without a budget (or time) to put the effort required into developing and maintaining a stand-alone site at this time.

    Thanks for your interest in the Project!

  29. Hi Florence,

    Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please have a look at the list, and copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  30. Hi Emma,

    Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please have a look at the list, and copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’

    https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group

    Also if you have already sent a request to join, there is a chance someone has already sent you a Facebook message.

    Remember to check your message folders in addition to the in-box.
    Message Requests: https://www.facebook.com/messages/requests

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  31. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for your question.

    Our members are free to select a recipient for their gifts in any way they see fit. They can choose someone at random, select someone they know already, or try gifting to someone new. It is *ALWAYS* up to the giver to decide who they give to, there is no wrong way to choose a neighbor for your gift.

  32. I’m from Spencer MA can I join?

  33. I have filled out the form but haven’t received an email about starting a group in the Santa Barbara, CA area?

  34. Looking or a coffee table with matching end tables a tv stand for my 32 inch tv. Also a medium size dining table with matching chairs. In excellent condition. Moving august 31st. Contact me please at [removed]. many thanks if you can help.

  35. Hi Steve,

    Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please have a look at the list, just click the link for the group you wish to join which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group

    If there isn’t a Buy Nothing group yet in your community, we’d love to see a gift economy started where you are. We just need a local volunteer to join us as admin (our entire network is run by volunteers).

    If you’re interested in becoming an Admin, please fill out the form you will find on the page in the following link. Once you have done so, the Development Admin for your area will contact you. Please have patience, this process is done in our volunteers’ free time, as such a reply may take some time, but I assure you they will respond. Our Development Team is working diligently through the requests for new groups as quickly as they are able.

    https://buynothingproject.org/start-a-group/

    Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  36. Hi Karleen,

    I can confirm we’ve received your inquiry for a new group in late January. Please have patience, this process is done in our volunteers’ free time, as such a reply may take some time, but I assure you they will respond. Our Development Team is working diligently through the requests for new groups as quickly as they are able.

    In the meantime I suggest you famalirize yourself with the information available on our website, especially this page: buynothingproject.org/join-our-team/

    Thanks for offering your time to the Buy Nothing Project!

  37. Hi Sandra,

    To participate in the Buy Nothing Project, where you can give freely, share creatively and ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow; you’ll need to find and join the group in your neighborhood from this list: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ which is updated frequently.

    Best of luck with your search for items to furnish your home!

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