If you haven’t heard about Buy Nothing groups, you’re not the only one living under a sustainability rock. In fact, it was only early this year that I learned of this project. And I have to say I want to tell everyone why they should be joining them. I guess this website makes it pretty easy, eh?
What is A Buy Nothing Group?
A Buy Nothing group is exactly what it sounds like: You buy nothing. Stimulating a gift-economy and building community friendships is the goal of a Buy Nothing group. There are many reasons why Buy Nothing groups are great for the environment and your wallet. Yet, I feel like a lot of sustainable lifestyle bloggers and influencers don’t mention them often enough.
How does a Buy Nothing Group Work?
A Buy Nothing group is based on a hyper-local gift economy. You join a Facebook group for the locale where you reside. Generally these group boundaries are set to allow no more than 30 minutes of travel from one neighbour to another. Once the group reaches a certain threshold of people it will sprout and create even more hyper-local groups.
Within the group you’re able to gift and ask for items all at no cost.
Gifting: If you have an old blender you no longer use, but would like to ensure that it ends up in a loving home you can offer it on your local Buy Nothing page with no monetary return.
Asking: When I bought some secondhand chairs, I wanted to paint the legs black to match my existing home decor. Instead of purchasing a new bottle of spray paint I asked the group if anyone had some paint to spare. To my surprise I was able to avoid the added waste of buying a new aerosol spray can.
The Buy Nothing Gift Economy and Sustainability
At its heart, a gift economy encourages reuse. Instead of perfectly good items ending up in the landfill, they can be re-homed prior to the end of their lifecycle. This of course, also helps avoid the thrall of excessive consumption and wasting natural resources to produce more.
The less we purchase brand new, the better.
The Community benefit of a Buy Nothing Group
We tend to feel more alone in this online world of connection more than ever. This is due to the lack of community. A Buy Nothing group will help foster relationships and build a sense of community which can help you live a more fulfilling and happier life.
How to find a Buy Nothing Group
The Buy Nothing Project has created a very simple list to find the nearest Buy Nothing group near you. They recently added the boundary maps so you can ensure that you are applying to join your local group. The only stipulations are that you need to have an active Facebook account, live within the region you are applying to join and be age of majority in your area.
What if there isn’t one in my area?
Start one! That’s what I did. I was so excited by the idea of the Buy Nothing Project, I opted to become an admin for my local neighbourhood. Although our group is small, we’ve been able to gift and ask for quite a few items already.
It sounds daunting and time-consuming, but really it just requires a few hours of attention every week. Simply approving community members, ensuring that posts fall within the Buy Nothing guidelines and spreading awareness.
Are you part of a Buy Nothing group?