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Dumpster Diving to Save the World : Freegans

Dumpster Diving to Save the World : Freegans



Dumpster Diving to Save the World : Freegans “One man's Trash is another's Treasure.”

Did you know that from vegetables to furniture, you can find most of the things you need to live for free? Seems like a joke? Well, for a growing community of people especially in North America, this life is the reality.

Freegans, named from the words “free” and “vegan” (although not all freegans are vegan) are people who buy as little as possible and instead dumpster dive in restaurants and supermarkets or forage in the wild for fresh food, clothing and furniture. Some freegans squat in vacant buildings instead of renting. Medicinal herbs are collected to cure ailments. Some use vegetable oil or bio-diesel instead of diesel to fuel their cars and many bike, walk or use public transit instead of owning a vehicle. In freegan communities, freegans share tools, bikes and feed themselves from community gardens. It only makes sense that some freegans, instead of working, volunteer. New York City, with about 400-500 freegans, is the freegan capital of the world. (In These Times)

But many freegans dumpster dive not because they need to; they do it to make a political statement against the trail of exploitation and excess that capitalism leaves. For example, in the United States, 100 billion pounds of the country's 350 billion pounds of edible food is thrown away each year (Food Not Bombs). An article published in the The Telegraph in 2008 reported that Britain throws out more that 16 billion US dollars worth of food each year- including 7 million slices of bread and 4.4 million apples each day.

According to EcoKids.ca, “North America only has eight per cent of the world's population, but consumes one third of the world's resources and produces one half of the world's garbage.” Unfair treatment of workers, factory farming, destruction of wildlife, global warming and starvation are only a few of the negative consequences that the over-consumption of a capitalist society has on the world. “Freegans seek to prevent waste by reclaiming, recovering and repairing available resources rather than generate new profit” said Adam Weissman, founder of freegan.info. (Satya magazine)

But not only do freegans live without spending in the capitalist world and thus boycott corporations, they also learn skills and values among freegan communities. Movements like Food Not Bombs cooks warms meals from food reclaimed from the trash to anyone who wants it.

Freemarkets, free stores and websites such as Freecycle and the free section on Craiglist are places where people give away or swap items that would otherwise have been thrown away. Living beyond the competitive capitalist society, freegans can truly live sustainably and with respect for the world.

As evidence of the dark side of capitalism become more and more common, freeganism grows. Websites such as,

trashwiki.org,
dumpsterdiving.meetup.com,
freegan.info,
Dumpster Diving to Save the World : Freegansharvestr.org,
and frigan.no

connect freegans around the world and teach them skills of the art of dumpster diving.

When you purchase a product, you may be paying for the deforestation, loss of wildlife, greenhouse gases or the child labour that went in to it in its life cycle- except if you are a freegan.

Copyright © 2011 Xtream Youth. All rights reserved.

Written by Sugee Liyanage (Creative Writer at Xtream Youth)

For further inquiries on articles please contact our administrators : Ignatious Jayathilake | Kasun Malith

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