Facebook groups have been popping up across the country, but none existed in Philadelphia until Paige Wolf (who runs a B Corporation green public relations firm as well as a green parenting blog, Spit That Out!) created one for her own neighborhood after finding out that the only groups in Pennsylvania were in smaller towns and cities.
Buy Nothing groups give real-life neighbors the opportunity to help build a sustainable gift economy by giving locally. The project is different than Craigslist in that it asks members to join only one Buy Nothing group, which are Facebook groups, and asks participants to only ask and give for things where they live.
Wolf said she worked with the Buy Nothing Project administrators (who asked for her group to have a hyperlocal focus) to narrow down the group to just her zipcode, 19147. The Facebook page lists boundaries as: Delaware River on the East/ Schuylkill River on the West/ Walnut to the North/Tasker to the South. She added that she had to reject a few people who didn’t live near the area, such as some people from Fishtown, and has suggested they contact the Buy Nothing Project to start one in their own neighborhood. Instructions to do so are here.
Wolf added that using Facebook for it is great because you can see who the people are, where they work, and who they are friends with, unlike Craigslist.
Wolf said it’s “all about being face-to-face with your neighbors,” and related it to borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbor in the past. A fair amount of items have been exchanged in the first month of the group’s existence — Wolf said she had just received a pair of gloves from someone. She also mentioned that a local school had received a printer as well as ink from two different givers.
The group lists some suggestions for offering or asking:
- You have a bumper crop of basil and can’t possibly make anymore pesto
- You bought the wrong salad dressing/diapers/paint color
- You have an unsellable stroller with a missing wheel that a handy parent could probably use
- You have a case of coffee mugs with your old company logo
- You would like to borrow a powerwasher/drill/ladder/other random appliance
- You are in search of empty egg crates/milk jugs/wire hangers for a school art project
- You’re refrigerator broke and you have 3 pounds of potato salad that must be eaten immediately
If you live in the Bella Vista/Washington Square West Neighborhood, you can request to join the group on Facebook. Learn more about the project in general at http://buynothingproject.org/. Another group has opened up in Lower Merion.
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Image modified from Flickr user OUCHcharley-30-
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