Sunday, January 6, 2008


I just recently encountered the term freeganism, used to describe a movement of people committed to reducing waste. From wiki, "Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed." Wow, doesn't that sound wonderful! Indeed, while it is a cool new term, it is an idea that is rooted in the founding works of many of our religious traditions. It has become much easier to be a freegan with the social networking provided through sites such as Freecycle or FreeAlert. People are empowered to share quality used items with other individuals, and since everyone can both give and receive, the desire to make a profit is removed. In my experience it is actually a cleansing feeling to give something away!

Another aspect of freegan life is dumpster diving, an activity that I have had recent encounters with, following the lead of two professional dumpster divers, Dee and Becky. Dumpster diving is a rare win-win for the individual and the environment, as "waste" food is used to feed families, reducing the impact on both the pocketbook and the environment!

A great introduction to freeganism can be found on GroovyGreen's blog, check it out. I certainly do not qualify as a freegan, as I am still stuck in the consumer model our economy is built around, but as I continually deconstruct my own consumerist mentality, I hope to begin my freegan novitiate.


Shawn Shafer said...

Happy new year, Ken.

A friend of mine also likes to use the term, gleaning, to describe his activities in this vein. Much like Ruth gleaned the leftover grain left after the harvest, so others now can glean the remains of our consumer-oriented and 'waste' producing culture.