Two friends Rebecca and Liesl started Buy Nothing when they realized the Pacific Northwest beach they were sitting on with their children was littered with plastic. All shapes, sizes, and color.
Over the following years they collected and inventoried all the plastic items they found on the beach. They discovered the items came from their neigborhoods, homes, cars, even workplaces. Wherever water flowed - streams, rivers, rainwater down roads and hills it took plastic trash with it to the beach and into oceans.
Land-based human-made plastics are the largest source of marine debris today – nearly 80% -- in oceans worldwide. In many regions, plastic materials constitute as much as 90 to 95% of the total amount of marine debris. Most of the land-based plastics are carried to our waters via urban runoff through storm drains and watersheds. An estimated 8 million items every day are discarded into coastal waters. That means there are 13,000 pieces of plastic in every square kilometer of ocean. Plastic is Forever
The two women wanted to stop plastic from invading every ecosystem on Earth and to do this they started the Buy Nothing Project.
The Buy Nothing Project has 4.27 million Buy Nothing community members in 44 countries. The Facebook group has 316,836 follows. Founded in 2013 the Buy Nothing Project organization wanted to connect people to their neighbors and build a community.
Kindness. Caring for our Environment. Inclusion and Equity. Building Locally. Sustainability. Strength in Diversity. Buy Nothing Project organization
The organization believes "giving, sharing, lending and expressing gratitude" results in a web of connections formed between people." Millions of member connections are being made worldwide!
Do you have too much stuff?
Most folks keep stuff in cupboards, under beds, and fill up the spare bedroom. Possibly also the yard, loft, and the garage too if available!
Buy Nothing Upper East Side (72nd-96th), Manhattan, NY community organizer, David Chang, evolved from spending $10,000 in 2018 on stuff to buying almost nothing.
“Last week alone I got a $400 Barbour coat, and $300 knife and cleaver for Thanksgiving through the group,” David Chang, New York Post
It's not all about big-ticket items for free though. Communities share food, even half empty ketchup bottles.
According to the New York Post, Chang "takes excess groceries and meal kits off the hands of his fellow Manhattanites, and has tried to completely give up food shopping since he joined the group in 2018. He admits this strategy leads to “some creative meals” from time to time."
Now, we can get to know our neighbors, share our stuff, and buy nothing. You can set up your own local Buy Nothing Project Facebook Group or download the new official app and use it to find folks in your neighborhood. Google Play or the App Store.
Let us know in the comments how you get on with building your community, gifting what you don't need, reducing clutter, and buying nothing!