Buy Nothing Project: Creating a Sustainable Sharing and Caring Economy

Community Sharing Drives Ideals of Collaboration, Repurposing, Consumer Consideration and The Power of Networks

“The mission of the group really resonated with me,” says Northampton/Easthampton BNP volunteer administrator, Alyssa Pratt on why she got involved with BNP. “I really enjoy community building and I loved the idea of bringing people together through this very specific project. Also, as a volunteer admin, I really appreciate the thoughtful guidelines that are in place for all of the groups; they foster etiquette and kindness, and make my job much easier.”

Combinations of random acts of kindness and collaborative consumption are the foundation of caring economies like the Buy Nothing Project. The Buy Nothing Project is an international (yet still community-based) movement that not only promotes strong communities through kindness, sharing, and collaborative consumption, but promotes a low-impact, resilient, cost-saving lifestyle for folks of all ages.

Originating in Washington state, the project has spread rapidly since its 2013 inception, supporting community building through collaborative consumption amongst over 800,000 people. Similar to FreeCycle and Craigslist in that it allows users to share posts about items they’re looking for and items they have available to share or give away, Buy Nothing Project is unique in that it not only promotes recycling and re-purposing goods (rather than buying them new), but it also emphasizes the gifting nature of such an act and how community can be create through a social movement of sharing.

Because Buy Nothing Project places lots of emphasis on community, supporting each other, and the kindness involved in the act of giving, users of this hyper-local gift economy share things like homemade bread and homegrown veggies, transportation, and not-asked-for extras that they know will be useful in addition to what was asked for.

Using Facebook as a platform for building connections, Buy Nothing Project is entirely community-based and, as such, has many different established projects. In the Pioneer Valley and Hilltowns, we have several Buy Nothing Project networks serving different towns and regions, including:

Taking Hilltown Families’ 2015 New Year’s resolution to heart, consider the benefits of participating in or startingBuy Nothing Project group in your own community – it would provide an easily accessible avenue for kindness-sharing, and would create greater accessibility to recycled and shared goods. Plus, it is a fantastic way to promote community building and resiliency!

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