Vauhini Vara writes for Wired Magazine about the story of Buy Nothing, which started as a collection of Facebook groups and ended up as a company with a proper site and app of its own.
Test the limits of what can be gotten or discarded on Buy Nothing, and you will be confounded. You can proffer a medium-size rock, and someone will want it for their garden. You can post dryer lint, and a neighbor will convert it into hamster bedding. In their book, Rockefeller and Clark write about a childless couple who, after multiple miscarriages, finally gave away their unused baby items. The recipient, collecting this on behalf of a pregnant friend, mentioned that the friend was thinking about putting her child up for adoption. One thing led to another, and soon the couple became the infant’s adoptive parents.
It’s simply remarkable what kinds of things people will acquire from the site (though babies are probably pretty rare). I’ve only ever offloaded to others from Buy Nothing. When I could no longer exercise, I was able to give a stationary bike collecting dust to a pregnant woman who wanted to stay in shape. It was a rewarding experience.
Upon reading the article, I re-downloaded the app and saw that the person claiming some HVAC filters was a friend of mine. It reminded me that I needed to get in touch.