Join the Buy Nothing Project to Freely Give and Receive

Have you heard of the Buy Nothing Project? A collection of independent Facebook groups popping up across the country, this project sets itself apart from Craigslist and Freecycle by asking members to join only one Buy Nothing group and ask and give where they live. The idea is to facilitate local gift economies around the world, communities that take care of their local members while conserving the carbon footprint of our giving.

When I heard about the Buy Nothing Project I was so excited to find one in my area. But, alas, there was nothing remotely near Philadelphia – though there were plenty in Allentown and Cleveland! So, naturally, because I am ME, I had to find out how to start my own!

It took a few days to get permission from Buy Nothing Headquarters, who worked with me to narrow down my hyperlocal area to essentially my zipcode. The members poured in – more than 100 in less than 24 hours! I just had to deal with the issue of weeding out folks who truly weren’t local enough and encourage them to start their own group!

The idea is to give your real-life neighbors the opportunity to help build a sustainable gift economy by giving locally. When you have something to share, select a real-life neighbor of yours as the recipient, someone who also lives in the region your local group is devoted to. Take the time to get to know a bit about the people you’re giving to and asking from. If you see someone who needs help finding their local home group, help them out with a link to that group and words of encouragement and support.

We would like to show the world that gift economy magic is global, accessible to any group of people who are willing to connect with their real-world neighbors by giving freely and sharing creatively. You can help make this happen by joining your own local group and model giving, requesting, and gratitude.

So what kinds of things might you post on a Buy Nothing group?

  • You have a bumper crop of basil and can’t possibly make anymore pesto
  • You bought the wrong salad dressing/diapers/paint color
  • You have an unsellable stroller with a missing wheel that a handy parent could probably use
  • You have a case of coffee mugs with your old company logo
  • You would like to borrow a powerwasher/drill/ladder/other random appliance
  • You are in search of empty egg crates/milk jugs/wire hangers for a school art project
  • You’re refrigerator broke and you have three pounds of potato salad that must be eaten immediately

The possibilities are endless! Give, Lend, and Join the Sharing Economy!

Looking for a group near you? Visit the website for a list of all our hyper-local gift economies or learn how to start your own!


“Making green and healthy living manageable, practical, and affordable.”