"Buy Nothing" groups blur the line between trash and treasure

Instead of immediately turning to large retailers, conscious consumers are setting up online networks to share their stuff. In certain hyperlocal Facebook groups, neighbors give away their old items— even things like rotten bananas, expired milk, empty boxes, and stained clothing. Unlike thrift stores, online groups allow people to search for their specific needs and meet their neighbors. The "Buy Nothing" project is mostly on Facebook, currently, and alternatives include freecycle.org and nextdoor.com.

Children's clothes and toys are hot commodities. As American weddings get increasingly expensive, sharing items like decorations and dresses can cut costs (a wedding swap subreddit exists for this specific purpose). Some exchanges are odder— like pickle juice, a glass sex toy, dirty fish water (it can be fertilizer!), and dryer lint (it can be hamster bedding!). Reddit user @brew-ski saves bubble wrap for interested neighbors.

"Welcome to the wild world of Buy Nothing, a network of social media groups, mostly on Facebook, where people give and receive things, treating the stuff taking up space in their homes as gifts meant to be shared and treasured. Members are encouraged to offer their time and talents, too, and loan items that someone may need for just a few hours, like a car or a cake pan. Created in 2013 by two women in Bainbridge Island, Wash., it has grown to 6,700 independent Buy Nothing Facebook groups in 44 countries. The Buy Nothing Project recently developed an app that it will release more widely in a few weeks."

The New York Times