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  • Jenn Neilson

Buy Nothing Groups - Great For The Environment & Your Community

Community building is so under-rated in my opinion. I moved to my current neighbourhood about 5 years ago, but it’s only recently that I’ve felt connected to the area. One of the reasons is the positive experience I’ve had in our local Buy Nothing group.


I’m preparing to move, so naturally that is making us sort through our belongings and downsize a little. We all acquire so much stuff, whether it be from gifts, or shopping for ourselves. I hate throwing things away, and end up keeping stuff that I might use later (looking at you: glass bottles I kept for a craft...for the last 7 years).



Most of us have stuff that we don’t need, but is still good to be used by someone. Most people usually opt for donating to a local charity resale store or selling online, but there is another option…


Buy Nothing Groups

The Buy Nothing Project started in 2013 by two friends in Washington State. They wanted to create a hyper-local gift economy to get rid of things cluttering their lives, and recycle things that are still usable.


There are now groups in over 30 Nations.


How Does It Work?

Find, or create your local group, and join on Facebook. The groups are hyper-local, so you never have to travel far to give or get an item.

*Note: The search for a group function on the official website is lacking many groups, I suggest searching on Facebook itself, that's how I found my group!


Once you join your group, start posting photos of things you’d like to gift, or post a “searching for” post, and maybe someone will have what you are looking for!


I’ve given away books, bookcases, kitchen items, DVDs and so many other things I’ve lost count. A few months ago our microwave died, and lucky enough, someone gifted us a microwave so we didn’t have to buy a brand new one!



How Gift Economies Support Your Community


Reduces Waste

Of course, the more you give away, the less you end up throwing away! I’ve even given things like stickers away, which some people might have just thrown in the trash, but a local teacher appreciated them for her classroom


Meet People

Of course in the times of a pandemic, you likely aren’t going to meet a neighbour and invite them in for coffee, but even making a connection online counts for something.


Skip The Store

Yes, thrift shopping is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint, but some thrift shops have dark secrets. Thrift shops often throw things in landfills, and some of your donations may make it overseas, where the items are not disposed of properly. Not all thrift shops are non-profits as well, and some thrift stores may support organizations that don’t align with your personal values.


Of course, not all thrift stores are bad, and I LOVE thrift shopping myself, but giving an item directly to the person who is going to use it is always the best situation.



Final Thoughts

I’ll be sad to move later this month and lose my very active Buy Nothing group - but I plan on starting one in my new community! I hope this has inspired you to seek out your local group and become an active member.

Jenn is a travel blogger, podcaster and virtual assistant, moving to the South Shore of Nova Scotia this month to renovate her dream home with her husband! When she's away from her laptop, you can find her baking, + playing with her 2 cats and dog.


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