Buy Nothing groups offer an antidote to waste and isolation, with a world of free stuff

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

What started in 2013 as a hyperlocal network of “circular gift economies” in Bainbridge Island, Wash., has ballooned into a constellation of Buy Nothing groups with 4.3 million members in 44 countries. Members can request or offer any item or service as long as it’s legal; however buying, selling and bartering are prohibited. The groups are well-represented on social media, particularly Facebook, Reddit and Nextdoor. The Buy Nothing app, launched on Black Friday, has been downloaded more than 125,000 times.

For devotees, Buy Nothing is less a statement about consumerism than an antidote to some of the social ills and financial pressures of the moment. It’s a way to spend less at a time when inflation is near a 40-year high. It’s a means of reducing waste in one of the world’s most wasteful countries. And it’s a form of connection during a pandemic that has left many wrestling with isolation.

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