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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 20 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 450,000 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 nearly 45,000 followers on our Facebook Page, along with the person-to-person communities we have in over 2000 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. Our volunteers include Local Admins, our Development Team, Regional Admins, and our Global Admin team, totaling nearly 3000 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!

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116 comments on “About

  1. *I want to start a group in my community. Please let me know how to do that.

    • Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for your interest! If you’ve checked the list https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ and there isn’t a group for your community, we’d love to have a group in your neighborhood!

      To start a group in your neighborhood (or learn more about what would be involved in doing so https://buynothingproject.org/start-a-group/ ), the next step is to follow up with a Development admin. You will need to work together to define a manageable area. (A map you can both access may be helpful in this process.) Please feel free to send us an email directly with information about where you reside, so you can take a look at the details for starting a group in your area.

      The email address is thebuynothingproject [at sign] gmail. At the moment — just so you know what to expect — we’re all volunteers, many with families and jobs, and there has recently been a huge influx of new-group requests. Thanks in advance for your patience!

      • Want to start a group in my area please. Can you help?

      • Hi Diane, have you sent a message with details to thebuynothingproject@gmail ? Please do, so that the development team can get your request on the list. At the moment — just so you know what to expect — we’re all volunteers, many with families and jobs, and there has recently been a huge influx of new-group requests. Thanks in advance for your patience!

  2. I am interested in this group

  3. Does Chattanooga have a group?

    • 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!

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

    • 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!

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

  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!

    • 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!

  7. Please sign me up

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

    • 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!

  9. 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.

    • 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!

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

    • 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!

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