Ever heard of the Buy Nothing Project? Started in 2013 with a mission of building community and cultivating connection through a free gift economy, this hyperlocal, inclusive project has grown to a whopping 4.3 million members across 6,800 individual communities — and Charleston is one of them.
The project offers the opportunity to gift, receive, and practice gratitude through the gift economy network.
You’re probably wondering: how exactly does this work? Individuals can ask for a product or service, give items away, lend or share with community members, or simply share gratitude within their community — there is no buying, selling, bartering, or money exchange for items or services.
So what’s the catch? There is none. The project solely exists in true helping-hand fashion.
For example, if you had an old computer monitor that you no longer had use for but felt someone else could utilize, you could post this item in the Buy Nothing group for your area — for free — and someone else in the community could claim it.
Buy Nothing groups have popped up in downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Daniel Island, West Ashley, and North Charleston. Each community has anywhere from hundreds to thousands of members with local volunteers serving as group admins.
We’ve rounded up a few of the Buy Nothing Facebook groups in the Charleston area for you to get in on the action and pay it forward.
Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island
However, these aren’t all of the groups in the Charleston area — there are other communities that have cultivated their own Buy Nothing groups as the project, and the Lowcountry, have grown and expanded. The best part? All members share the same values, set forth by the project’s community guidelines.
And that, friends, is the beauty of our city.