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. 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 and our open source documents, people set up their own Buy Nothing Project groups for their own neighborhoods. members can easily participate with their local group. 

Many people ask, “Why use Facebook?” When this project started, Facebook was the primary free social media platform with group architecture. Our shift to an open source model opens up new possibilities. You can use our tools to set up a non-commercial, non-monetized Buy Nothing Project group wherever you would like. We have a volunteer support network well established for Buy Nothing Project Facebook groups, but nothing like that yet for other platforms.

Our co-founders, Liesl and Rebecca, are excited to see this experiment grow well beyond and away from Facebook, and are doing their part by building a crowd-funded and maintained social media platform with a purpose, soop.

In April, 2020, Simon & Schuster will be publishing Liesl and Rebecca’s first book, The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan. This book will be available at your local public library, bookstores everywhere, and online; you can preorder a copy if you’d like via Simon & Schuster today. The book offers a blue print for every person to build their own gift economy mindset, no social media required.

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.

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.

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.

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. Along with this positive environmental impact, neighbors are getting to know and trust each other, building relationships that see them through all of life’s challenges and celebrations.

Bounty.RebeccaRockefeller
Gifts Take Many Forms © Rebecca Rockefeller

Our Statistics:

As of January, 2020 the Buy Nothing Project has at least 1.2 million participants in at least 25 countries, led by at least 6,000 volunteers.

Structure:

We are a completely grass-roots, all-volunteer project with no funding to run this movement. The reach of this movement is all thanks to individuals who set up groups and serve their communities as leaders, the people who volunteer their time as mentors and guides for other group leaders, and everyone who contributes their time, expertise, and talents. We follow a true gift economy model. We thank all of you for making this collaborative project what it is.

Want to know more?

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

138 thoughts

  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. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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!!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s