“Buy Nothing” Movement Gains Pandemic Momentum

Published 2:21 pm Friday, November 26, 2021

By Roz Brown

Texas News Service

AUSTIN, Texas — Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won’t be on store shelves on this “Black Friday,” or won’t arrive in time, but for members of the “Buy Nothing Project,” that kind of stress is a thing of the past.
Liesl Clark, co-founder of the Project, said the rules are simple: no buying, selling, trading, bartering or dumping of things someone wants to get rid of.
“You can offer up, with an image and a little description, anything that you’re getting rid of that you’d like to give away,” Clark explained. “And you can also ask for anything that you want, or need. You just sort-of augment your lifestyle by buying nothing whenever you can.”
Clark pointed out the project started in 2013 after her eye-opening trip to remote villages near the Nepal-Tibet border, where people shared very limited resources delivered sporadically by truck over dangerous mountain roads. The Buy Nothing Project recently launched an app to augment its Facebook presence.
Clark noted participation is broad, from students going off to college who need items to outfit their dorms, to retirees who are downsizing. She said baby items are always popular because they are often gently used.
“Let’s face it, baby stuff is only used for so long,” Clark remarked. “But we also have refugees — families from all over the world that are coming to the United States, to Canada — and those are families that are being set up with anything they might need.”
Clark thinks the pandemic has grown the Buy Nothing Project’s participation because isolation made some people seek connection by being helpful to neighbors. Others, trapped at home, decided it was time to declutter.
“So, this is a surefire way of enabling people to actually realize, ‘I don’t have to fill my house with all the same stuff that everybody else has.’ Like, we don’t all have to have lawnmowers,” Clark observed.
According to the app’s latest tally, the Buy Nothing Project has more than four million people regularly engaged in 6,800 groups in 44 countries.