The Buy Nothing movement and how you can get involved
The Buy Nothing Project was founded in 2013 when two friends thought to create an experimental hyper-local gift economy. Shunning the idea that new is best, members choose to extend the life of existing items through gifting and sharing - helping to keep these items out of landfill for longer.
The grassroots, volunteer-driven project has sparked a worldwide social movement with groups in 30 nations and around 150 active groups right here in Western Australia.
How can I join a buy nothing group?
The only thing you need in order to join a Buy Nothing group is a Facebook account.
The groups are hyper-local and you are only able to join a single group. The groups vary in size, depending on the number of participants, but in many instances they may just consist of people from a single suburb.
The first thing you need to do is locate a group near you. An up-to-date list can be found on the Buy Nothing website.
Once you know the name of your group you’ll need to search this on Facebook, then send a request to join. Often as part of this process you’ll be asked for a basic detail to help confirm you’re local to the area – such as the closest major intersection to your home.
Once your request has been accepted by one of the volunteer moderators you’ll start to see the items that others are offering in your Facebook feed.
How does a buy nothing group work?
Buy Nothing Project members typically post pictures and descriptions of anything they’d like to give away, lend or share with their neighbours.
Normally these items are in good, usable condition and still have plenty of life left in them, they just aren’t needed any more. Group members gift and share everything from food that would otherwise go to waste, to preloved furniture and even their time to run an errand.
If you see something that you need, all you have to do is comment on the post to express your interest. Sometimes there might be multiple people who would like an item so it will be up to the person giving away the item to select a recipient.
You will then normally be asked to ‘DM’ (Direct Message) or ‘PM’ (personal message) the person giving the item away in order to arrange collection. Top tip - if you’re a first-time user don’t forget to check the ‘message requests’ section of your messaging apps if you aren’t already connected with someone as messages from people you aren’t friends with can often end up here.
The Buy Nothing concept works both ways though – it’s not just about giving, you can also ask for items that you need. Securing something second-hand means you won’t have to buy it new.
These requests most commonly appear on Wednesdays – in what is dubbed ‘Wishful Wednesday’.
Bartering, selling and trading are all strictly forbidden on the platform.
Five reasons to join your local buy nothing group today
Not yet sold on how wonderful being a member of your local Buy Nothing group can be? Here are five excellent reasons to encourage you to ditch your shopping habit in favour of a swapping habit.
- You can declutter without the fuss
We’ve all got a box in the corner of a cupboard somewhere filled with things we don’t need or use, or that no longer spark joy.
With little-to-no effort (all you have to do is snap a pic, and post it), it could find a new home where it won’t be gathering dust and you’ll be left feeling as organised and full of joy as Marie Kondo herself without having thrown anything away!
- It turns neighbours into friends
For many, the best part of being involved in a gift economy is that there are real-life connections to be made with other members.
It’s not just another free recycling platform, Buy Nothing group members often find themselves spending more and more time engaging with others on the platform and finding new ways to give back to the community.
- It will change your perceptions – and behaviour – towards (over) consumption and waste
We live in an age of overconsumption – food, fast fashion, and the latest gadgets, our society seems to want it all and we want it now. And, with the average Western Australian household producing about 28kg of waste each week, our waste problem is undeniable.
Think about it – regardless of whether you’re doing the gifting or receiving you’re keeping items out of landfill for longer. And, with most Facebook users logging in at least once a day, the constant reminder in your feed that this is a very real option for you instead of throwing away or buying new will help to keep you motivated.
Lowering the demand for new items also cuts back on the use of packaging for the new, store-bought products, as well as CO2 emissions associated with the manufacturing process - big wins for the planet.
- Give yourself the gift of giving
It’s no secret that giving to others makes you feel really good. Many psychologists have actually said– it’s the giver, rather than the recipient, who gains the most psychologically.
Not only will you make someone else’s day by gifting them something, you’ll likely benefit from an endorphin boost at the same time.
- Everything is free
Need we say more? You can spend your money on experiences, not stuff!
There is very little that is free in the world today, but join your local Buy Nothing group and you’ll be reminded that the spirit of generosity is alive and kicking in Western Australian suburbs and towns.
Find and request to join your nearest Buy Nothing Project group today, follow #buynothingproject and #buynothingnew on social media to keep up with conversations on the movement, and share your experience with us on social media by tagging #ownyourimpactwa.