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Friday, May 27, 2011

Thinking about Freegans

I have been discussing "freegans" on a few websites in the last week and I even mentioned them on my word press blog today, but I thought I'd devote an entire post here to them. I think the freegans have an interesting idea(l). I say it that way because they are true "foragers", they try their best to acquire almost everything they have for free.

check out their info page here:

Now I do have a few things I disagree with them on, the first is their "dumpster diving" for food.

"Perhaps the most notorious freegan strategy is what is commonly called “urban foraging” or “dumpster diving”. This technique involves rummaging through the garbage of retailers, residences, offices, and other facilities for useful goods. Despite our society’s stereotypes about garbage, the goods recovered by freegans are safe, useable, clean, and in perfect or near-perfect condition, a symptom of a throwaway culture that encourages us to constantly replace our older goods with newer ones, and where retailers plan high-volume product disposal as part of their economic model."

Ok, I have a very -BIG- issue with this as over the years I have worked different grocery stores and different fast food places. The first "issue" is that these places are responsible if you get sick from what you steal (yes it is still stealing and in some places they get arrested for this) from the dumpsters. One of my bosses when I worked in a grocery store bakery use to give the day old bread to a food pantry. That was until someone sued him because they got sick after eating something that was not quite edible any longer.

Second issue, I worked in the meat department of another grocery store and had my eyes opened. The head of the department when the items (ones we packaged) were after the date we could sell by. He'd open the package and smell the meat, if it did not smell bad he's repack it and put a 2 day date on it and then we'd go through it again till it either sold or smelled bad. Now if that then went into the dumpster and it still looked good one of these freegans (I have seen some take meat), took that home and it was not good and just smelled bad and they ate it my then boss would be libel if they got ill and die. As it is his responsibility that it is disposed of if it's not fit for human consumption.

Here is my other issue with what they do (it's more a statement):

"Squatters are people who occupy and rehabilitate abandoned, decrepit buildings."

Ummm... I have never seen a squatter who "rehabilitated" any building. I have seen a great many squatters over the years I spent homeless with my kids and those people could care less what the building's shape was in as long as they could live there for free. they would never once fix it up, and once in a while the people would get hurt by the place they were squatting at. that does not mean it does not happen, I'm saying I have never seen it happen.

Other than those 2 things I have no problems with the freegan idea at all especially if they really can manage to live without working. For me right now I just can't find work close enough to be worth the gas money to get to it. I think having a "free market" is a very good idea where people can pick up items for free that others do not use.

The one dump up in New York state close to where we lived had a "store" in it where items that were still in very good shape went into instead of into the landfill. it is a good idea and a good policy, if it were easier to manage it would be a good idea to have such places in most urban areas. Now having said that I'd like to say there should be some limits. There is a "free shop" near us here and unfortunately there are what I call, "snatchers", these are people who hang out almost all day and "snatch" good items. things many other people who come in later that might really need them cannot get a hold of. This should not be allowed, and there should be some kind of limit on how much of certain items you can take per day.

Oh well...

Now today we are planning to (finally!) get a window put in, and I am hopefully going to be able to get another garden bed dug.

Be Well and Blessed Be...


  1. I dumpster dived heavily for a few years before the local stores got compactors and never got sick. I have on the other hand had food poisoning 3 times from restaurants and once from a christmas party!

    My only problem with "freegans" is their belief that they are somehow independent of "the system" when they are comply dependent on it.

  2. This is very true, they are "using" the same system they condemn mearly by using the detritus of it.

    They aren't really apart like someone who is off the "grid", they are just using th3e system in a different way.