No cash, no trades and no barters: 'Buy Nothing' movement picks up in Quebec

Bill Wexler's garage is filled with things his community has given him for free -- and things he's ready to give away, no strings attached.

He's part of the "Buy Nothing" movement, when community members give away items they're ready to part with.

The only rule? It has to be for free, with no money, trading or bartering involved.

"There's a lot more people that are a lot more unfortunate than we are," said Wexler, adding that the movement has environmental benefits as well.

But it's more than just giveaways: he says the main objective is to build community.

"The aim of the Buy Nothing is to get to know your neighbour."

The movement started in the U.S. and made its way to Canada. In Montreal, several networks have already been set up on Facebook.

Cindy Giroux, who started the Buy Nothing Baie-d'Urfé Facebook group, lives just down the street from Wexler.

She was inspired by a Buy Nothing group in Seattle, where she lived for a few years before coming back to Montreal.

Upon her return, Giroux needed some supplies for her daughter's science project and made a post on Facebook.

Within a few minutes, she had all the supplies she needed, and the idea to set up her own Buy Nothing page was born.

"The goal is to keep things out of landfills," she said. "So maybe [it's] the pot that doesn't have a handle that works, somebody else looks at that and says, 'I can use that in my garden.'"

Like Wexler, she says it's been a great way to get to know her neighbours.

"[It's] the same way you'd knock on your neighbour's door if you needed a cup of sugar."

The idea is to keep each group hyper-local, so most pick-ups are within walking distance.

Giroux hopes the movement can change people's attitudes towards money and consumerism.

"I hope people can rethink the need to buy everything."  


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