Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Litterbugs, Part 8: Freegans

We throw away so much stuff in this world that an entire subculture sustains itself from it.

It's called Freeganism, and its proponents meet virtually all of their needs from dumpster diving. Or as some more politely call it, urban foraging.

"Freegan" is a hybrid word, a fusion of free and vegan. Freegans come in a range of stripes and shadings. At their most militant, they are both pragmatic and political, involved in "a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations."
Freegans say they can obtain just about any consumer good you can think of from dumpsters, and that these goods are clean, safe, and perfectly useable. A long list presented on their web site (freegan.info) includes food, furniture, books, toiletries and electronics. In short, if you can throw it out – and we certainly can – then a freegan can recover and use it.

The most committed freegans not only harvest consumer goods from dumpsters. They also squat in abandoned buildings, and advocate getting rid of cars in favor of bikes, rollerblades, or walking. (Presumably public transportation is okay.)

But enough of all this. Let's watch TV!

See additional comments about litter, waste, and environmental matters at my Trash Talk blog.

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