The Buy Nothing Academy: Lesson 1
Buy Nothing is for Everyone.
Tell Us How You’ve Come to The Buy Nothing Project.
Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here. We’re Rebecca and Liesl and we're looking forward to taking steps together to positively impact our communities. We’re looking forward to getting to know a little more about you.

Here’s our story, in brief: We met through Freecycle, of all things! We each had weird gifts that we posted with funny stories, and mutually adored, and wanted to share a few words with neighbors about our stuff. But it turned out a lot of what we wanted to do was against Freecycle rules. We both were kicked out, for a spell, and we realized we could build something that would meet our need to share narratives about our things we were gifting, that the items all had stories, and…let’s face it…stuff can be funny, and stuff connects us.

We also discovered an abundance of plastic washing ashore where we live on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and collected every large and miniscule piece we could pick up. Carloads would amply describe how much plastic we’ve brought home to inventory and document and sometimes turn into educational art for the community to witness.

The Buy Nothing Project and a global circular economy of person-to-person giving, asking, and sharing is our answer to the excessive plastic waste we see washing up on our high tide-lines and and perfectly-usable stuff mindlessly tossed in our local dumpsters. We wrote a book about our adventures and they continue today as this is an evolving experiment that you are now a part of. We also wrote a mission statement to guide our experiment, and it rests at the foundation of everything we build together.

Our Buy Nothing Project Mission Statement:
(click to expand the Mission Statement text)
We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.
  • We believe hyper-local gift economies strengthen the social fabric of their communities, and ensure the health and vitality of each participant.
  • We come from a place of abundance ~ not scarcity.
  • We believe in abundance, we give, we ask, we share, we lend and we express gratitude.
  • We are a gift economy, not a charity. We see no difference between want and need, waste and treasure.
  • We measure wealth by the personal connections made and trust between people.
  • We value people and their stories and narratives above the ‘stuff.’
  • We are inclusive at our core.
  • We value honesty and integrity in all our interactions.
  • We view all gifts as equal; the human connection is the value.
  • We believe every community has the same wealth of generosity and abundance.
Our Community Commitment
(click to expand the Community Commitment text)
Our Community Commitment is the agreement that governs our participation in Buy Nothing:
  • Participate at your own risk. You are responsible for all of your interactions online and in person, and must do your own research and make your own choices in order to keep yourself safe.
  • Keep Everything Legal. You must respect all laws and regulations in force everywhere you participate in the BuyNothing community.
  • All people who are 18 years of age and older are welcome here.
  • No hate speech, threats or harassment. No gifts that glorify hate groups or call upon others to join in active hate. We define hate speech as words or images that demean or dehumanize another person or group of people on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar historically marginalized metric.
  • Give freely, receive freely, and share freely. No selling, buying, renting, trading, bartering, or otherwise engaging in this-for-that interactions. No marketing or advertising. All gifts offered and requested must be freely-given without expectation of any reward or reimbursement. Remember that all gifts have the same value in Buy Nothing: Priceless.
  • Give, Ask, and Share without limit. You may offer as much as you’d like to give. You may request as much as you’d like to receive. You may not find homes for all of your gifts and you may not receive everything you ask for, but you are encouraged to offer and ask without limit on how much, how often, market value, etc.
  • Build Trust. Be honest in your communication and strive to build trust through genuine interactions.
  • Be accountable for yourself and your impact on the Buy Nothing community. You are always in charge of your own posts and can edit or remove things as you desire. You may block anyone you don’t want to connect with.
  • Show your humanity. Remember that each person you meet here is a real person. None of us are perfect, sometimes we get things right and sometimes we get things wrong. Speak your truth without fear, listen with compassion, build the sort of community you want to live in, and allow people the time and space to learn better so they can do better.
  • Be open to creativity. Experiment to find new ways and new gifts to give, request, and share. Find ways to use your Gives, Asks, Gratitude and Shares to build a more equitable, joyful, inclusive, sustainable, and compassionate community.
  • Real Humans Only – Participate as yourself. No bots, no spam, no accounts for fraudulent purposes, no troll accounts.
  • Adhere to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
Lesson 1 Activities:
image description: screenshot of an "Introduce yourself to Buy Nothing" post featuring a photo of a bowl of fruit
Just for Fun
Have a listen to our Buy Nothing Podcast. We include empowering stories there that give you a window into what's possible in a Buy Nothing gift economy. We also want to celebrate the Community Builders and Admins of Buy Nothing communities and the exceptional stories that have come out of their experiences. You'll surely have similar experiences, too, and if you'd be willing to share them, we'd love to include them in future podcast episodes, too.