Thursday, December 01, 2005


Yes, I'm afraid it's another 'ism' but I suppose we should examine them all in order to determine which ones are productive ideas and which ones are merely weeds in our garden of the future. In my opinion, we as caretakers of this earth, need to look at, and discuss all alternatives that may be available. Let's take a look at Freeganism. Sometime called anti-consumers or even dumpster divers, these people share an ideological rejection of consumer waste. To the majority of them, thanksgiving is basically a celebration of excess.

Although the term "Freegan" is an amalgamation of the words "free" and "vegan", and vegans are people who avoid products from animal sources or products tested on animals in an effort to avoid harming animals, freegans have taken it much farther and recognize the importance of an ethic lifestyle which encompasses food, housing, transportation, clothing, and all other necessities of daily life. Proponents of freeganism have a website called which is a project of Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve. An extensive list for Everday Revolutions is offered also. Freeganism is considered to be a total boycott of consumeristic economic system which places profit motives above any ethical considerations. They disagree with the giant complex systems of productions which ensure that the products we buy will have detrimental impacts we may never even consider.

At first glance, the idea of diving into dumpsters and hanging out at the back doors of restaurants and grocery stores just doesn't sound too palatable, but the point these people are making is a necessary one for sure. The figures alone are alarming to say the least! According to an FDA report on food waste: About 96 billion pounds of food, or 27% of the 356 billion pounds of the edible food available for human consumtion in the U.S., were lost by food retailers, consumers, and food service establishments. If just 5% of the 96 billion pounds were recovered, that quantity would represent the daily food allowance for 4 million people. Recovery rates of 10% and 25% would provide enough food for 8 million and 20 million people respectively. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that 27 per cent of total food production in the US is wasted every year.

Very astonishing figures in my view and these facts definitely reflect how far we've sunk into the abyss of over consumption. And with the help of the dumpster diving connoisseur's how to guide, anyone can become an expert in their field. Of course the freegans don't only advocate food recycling, and there are many other ways to fight over consumption. There are also projects such as Freecycle and Freemarkets which as the site states: They foster community, prevent useable goods from becoming waste, provide a practical venue for an ethic of sharing, and break down the idea that the distribution and acquisition of goods must be accompanied by the exchange of money.

There are numerous articles which can be read on freecycling such as Free-Cyclin, Freecycle: A place to turn over reusables, and Think before trashing 'junk'.

Interesting to say the least and the freegan site offers many links and resources for anyone who wants to explore this form of revolt. By all means, check out the pages created by, Adam Weissman. I'm impressed by these freegans and the statement they make is definitely one most of us won't forget anytime soon! And the act of Dumpster Diving has opened up my eyes to a completely new viewpoint of the term! Priceless!


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