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It’s natural to have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. The world’s most popular social networking site has had its fair share of controversy, and in a world of “alternative facts,” the onslaught of commentary can be emotionally exhausting. 

However, Facebook has also been an ideal platform for the growth of social movements built on connections and resource sharing, often at the grassroots and hyperlocal levels. Below are eight Facebook-powered movements that can help you buy less and share more.

1. The Buy Nothing Project

One of Shareable’s most talked about Facebook-based movements is Buy Nothing. The first Buy Nothing group was launched as an experimental gift economy by two friends in a small town outside of Seattle in 2013. The movement has expanded to thousands of local groups across the world, inspiring people to share freely where they live. The sprawling movement inspired the founders to publish a book in 2020,  “The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan,” and the Buy Nothing Project is in the beginning stages of launching an independent app designed to allow the movement to branch out beyond the confines of Facebook. In the meantime, use the search function in Facebook’s groups page to find a group near you.

2. Make It New

For folks who want to make the most of their Buy Nothing or other secondhand finds, Make It New is a Facebook group for upcycled and repurposed inspiration. At 29,000 members strong, this is the place to share curbside finds and thrift store rescues for feedback and inspiration.

3. Zero Waste Collaboration

A common thread among Facebook salvage groups is waste reduction, and the “zero-waste movement” has its own slew of Zero Waste Groups with tens of thousands of members. Facebook groups like Journey to Zero Waste, with more than 110,000 members, offer advice for shopping in bulk and choosing products with resourceful lifecycles. There are also a variety of hyperlocal Zero Waste groups that can direct you to tools in your own communities. 

4. Plastic Free Journeys

For some people the first step in moving toward a Zero Waste lifestyle is plastic reduction, as plastic is arguably one of the most environmentally harmful yet ubiquitous materials. Groups like Plastic Free Living Tips & Tricks are dedicated to helping people identify ways to reduce their plastic use and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

5. Free Plant Exchanges

Due to the nature of foliage, free plant exchange groups are generally hyperlocal. Free Plants Exchange is a good place to find links to local groups, or simply search for “free plant exchange” in your community. These are a great way to expand your indoor and outdoor gardens through the sharing of bulbs, seeds, cuttings, and full-size plants!

6. Mutual Aid Network

Facebook has also been a vibrant hub for the concept of Mutual Aid, comprehensive resource sharing and exchange focused on symbiotic support of people locally and globally. Mutual Aid Network is a global Facebook group focused mostly on exploring the concept. But there is a network of local, independently run Facebook groups created for neighborhoods and/or for folks most in need including disabled and underserved communities. Use Facebook group search to find a mutual aid group near you. 

7. Social Streets

Social Streets are Facebook groups that connect neighbors on a particular street for social connection and neighborhood improvement. Started in Bologna circa 2013, the movement has spread all over Italy and even outside of it through hundreds of locally-managed groups. The NY Times article about the movement says that it transformed the original Social Street into an urban village from an socially disconnected urban neighborhood. Want to start your own Social Street? Shareable has got you covered. Check out our Social Streets how-to guide here and the organization’s English language guide.

8. COVID-19 Vaccine Matchmaking 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also inspired new ways to use Facebook groups to help others, including COVID Vaccine Matchmaker groups. In Pennsylvania, a group sprung up in response to the plight of older and less technically inclined people in need of vaccine appointments. Through tips, tricks, and even personal scheduling, the group has helped thousands of Pennsylvanians secure appointments.

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Paige Wolf

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paige Wolf

Paige Wolf is an author, publicist, and advocate dedicated to creating meaningful progressive change locally and globally. Paige is the author of Spit That Out! The Overly