Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dumpster diving: the debate


Ever heard of a freegan? What about freeganism? I don't remember the first time I had heard the term "freegan" but I was pretty intrigued the more I learned about it. Interestingly, it's gettting more press, most recently in a CNN article today.


The term "freegan" is a combination of "vegan" and "free." Vegans are individuals who abstain from eating or consuming any type of animal product; they don't eat meat, dairy, honey, wear leather or anything that comes from animals. It's truly a lifestyle that they live trying to be as green as possible while advocating for animal rights. Freegans are individuals who take it one step further and try not buy ANYTHING new, and yes, this includes food. Freegans are also known as dumpster divers; they pick up things left on the side of the road left for trash, dig through dumpsters behind grocery stores for food. They argue that perfectly good food is thrown away and why not rescue it? I remember reading somewhere that at 2:00am Trader Joes gives away all of its old produce, bread, etc. for FREE. Who minds day-old bread anyway? Not me! Toast it up and use it for a sandwich.


But honestly, who HASN'T picked up something off the side of the road and put it to use? Some people throw away perfectly good items for no reason at all, it's better then it ending up in a landfill, right? When I lived in Michigan as a kid my dad found an old-fashioned wooden sled with metal tracks on the side of the road and snagged it for us kids. We used it a lot, especially since we always got great snow. Is there anything wrong with that? No way. When I first got married my husband and I fished a wooden unit out of a dumpster and used it for a TV stand, after we repainted it. We were poor and this was great for us and it saved us money till we could afford one.


I applaud freegans. I'm a vegetarian, I've TRIED going vegan but it is really difficult, you'd be amazed at what you can/can't eat/wear etc. But the results are amazing if you do decide to take it to the next step. Freegans are just trying to use what is already out there; talk about simple living! Easy on your check book and good for the environment. I think it's great that people want to go to that extreme, if that's what they want to do, then more power to them; if they aren't hurting anybody, then it's even better. I especially like the program Food Not Bombs were they use reclaimed food to feed the homeless. WOW! What activism and community involvement.


Freegan.info is a website for you to check out that gives you more info on freeganism, their philosophies, locations, and connections to other freegans. Check it out.. let me know what you think. I also check out freecycle.org as well as craiglist.org in the free section. You never know what you can find and it's great if you can give back as well! Do you think you could ever be a freegan? What do you think about dumpster diving for food? Leave your thoughts and let me know what's on your mind.
Image from freegan.info

1 comment:

Amy said...

Ok dude, the whole dumpster diving for food is not for me! I honestly don't think I could do it. I mean dumpster diving for household goods is not so bad. I mean alot of people throw stuff to the curb because they don't want to deal with it anymore. They are hoping that someone comes along and picks it up. I put stuff along the curb hoping that someone will pick it up and put it to use as I can't anymore. I pick up stuff from the curb if its something I've really been needing and can't afford at the moment. I mean for example, the kids needed a fan for their room, we drove around one night before trash pick up the next day and we found a perfectly working fan along the road. It had nothing wrong with it and it was heavy duty. But diving for food, I couldn't do it dude! That makes me ill just thinking of it. Could you do it? I want to know if you could.