An anti-consumerist lifestyle, Freeganism is against wastage of resources that belongs to society. A freegan lifestyle is just about resembling to a vegetarian lifestyle, but the freegan is more on the extreme. Freegan lifestyle is focused on buying new and throwing away old (but still useful) items. In freegan lifestyle, people employ alternative living strategies, which are based on “limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources”.
Freegans defines community, generosity, moral apathy, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, competition, conformity, and greed. Salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters, known as ‘dumpster diving’ is included in freegan lifestyle. “Freegan” word is a portmanteau of “free” and “vegan”. A vegan is someone, who avoids all products that originate from an animal.
In the mid 1960, Freeganism was started out of the anti globalization and environmentalist movements. The movement also contains elements of Diggers, an anarchist street theater group, which are based in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960s, that gave away rescued food.
On a regular basis, Grocery stores, restaurants, and consumers dispose of an incredible amount of food waste. Freegans work to cut down on this waste:
- Gardening: In place of paying premium prices to purchase fresh produce from the grocery store, make a garden in your own home or even an abandoned lot.
- Participate in food recovery: Work with groups similar to Food Not Bombs to recover food that would otherwise be wasted, and share it with those who require it. This is not only just a good thing to do, but also a great way to meet and network with community-minded people.
- Join a community garden: Gardening groups like Urban Harvest offer a great way to obtain cheap, healthy food while being an active member of a community.
- Ask for free food: Some retailers will really provide food and goods to you that they are about to throw out if you ask and make arrangements to take it off their hands.
- Homebrew: Make your own beer, wine, and other alcohol at home, and you would not have to spend loads of cash on it at the liquor store.
- Wild foraging: Find plants that are not only safe to eat, but also free for the taking in your garden, neighborhood park, and anywhere vegetation grows.
- Compost: If you end up with leftover food, do not let it go to waste. Turn it into compost, something that will help to grow your backyard.
- Recover food: In the place of purchasing food from the grocery store, check out back to see what they have discarded and get it for free. You might also call this “dumpster diving.”
Here is how to get around town on the cheap like a freegan.
- Reuse cooking oil: A diesel car is converted in to a greaser, and it can be run on used cooking oil from restaurants.
- Walk: Even if you do not have a bike, it may be possible for you to reach a number of important locations on foot.
- Rideshare: Carpool with others, or just hitch a ride somewhere by seeking out people who want to share a ride.
- Ride your bike: Through waste recovery, a secondhand store, or hand-me-downs from friends or family, you are bound to come across a bike some time. Use it in place of your car, and you would not be spending any money on gas.
Once nutritional needs are met, people are still going to need clothing, furnishings, and other essential goods. These are a few useful freegan strategies they can use.
- Search for goods on curbs: Some neighbors have garage sales, others just put stuff out on the curb. Seize the opportunity created by your generous neighbors and go “curb shopping.”
- Buy goods that are made to last: On buying a good, ensure that it is something you would not need to replace any time soon.
- Precycle: Additionally to purchasing goods that are made to last, you can purchase in bulk to cut down on costs as well as packaging, avoiding wasteful products, and using electronic media whenever possible.
- Use your library: Your local library is full of books, entertainment and a free Internet connection, all just there for the taking. Librarians are also often very excited to help patrons with job hunting.
- Read online: Do not purchase magazines, newspapers, and other print media if it can be accessed for free online.
- Go to repair workshops: Learn to repair items instead of discarding them, and you will meet people in your community simultaneously.
- Take a few extras from restaurants: If you have picked up a few napkins or sauce packets to use at a restaurant, but do not end up needing them, just take them home for later.
- Ignore advertising: Advertising often attempts to convince you that you should purchase things, even when you do not really require them.
- Salvage: If you have handyman skills, put them to work for people who are happy to part with materials like hardwood floors, cabinetry, and landscaping, so long as you rip it all up yourself.
- Buy second hand: When you have to buy goods, consider shopping at second hand stores first. It will save money, and cut down on production pollution simultaneously.
- Focus on reusable goods: Purchase clothing that will hold up well, use handkerchiefs instead of disposable napkins, and just usually purchase goods that you can use over and over instead of discarding.
- Inherit items from friends and family: Keep your ear to the ground and let friends and family know that you are interested in any furniture and any other unwanted goods they had like to be rid of.
- Try dumpster diving: It also known as “urban foraging,” dumpster diving is not as gross as you think it is, and can be a great way to find free stuff.
Take care of housing, health care, and other important needs with these strategies from freegans.
- Live rent-free: Whether it means working as a caretaker in return, or simply squatting in an abandoned building, it is completely in your reach to live rent free.
- Conserve energy: By cutting down on use with strategies like solar ovens, line drying, and fans instead of air conditioning, slash your energy bill.
- Conserve water: Do your best to use as little water as possible, and you’ll see a difference in your bill.
- Go to free events: Having a good time does not always mean you will have to spend money. Search for free, fun events in your community.
- Join a health care collective: Without a job, you are likely to be without insurance, so look into joining a health care collective or alternative medicine group.
Beyond specific habits, there are a number of more general ways you can save money by living like a freegan.
- Reduce your financial needs: Reduce the use of things that are not completely necessary to your livelihood, like cable and fast food.
- Find use in what others see as waste: Does someone want to unload a bunch of old magazines? By turning magazines into magazine bowls, make them useful again.
- Repair: In place of rushing out to purchase something new because an item is broken, try to fix it first, or find another way to use it.
- Find money-saving friends: For safety in dumpster diving and to network with new people, look for friends that are interested in freegan habits in places like Meetup.
- Reuse: Before discarding anything, always make an effort to reuse or repurpose it.
- Sell or donate what you don’t use: You may find yourself flush with food and goods that are just more than you require by embracing freegan habits. Take these goods and sell them to make a little cash, or just pass them along to someone who could use them.
- Get involved: If you are unemployed, then you have some extra time on your hands so get involved and meet new people by volunteering, campaigning, or teaching workshops.
- Share: Trade with friends, or just donate anything you have in excess.
- Conserve: Use less, and make better use of what you have, and you will find that you will save money.
- Freecycle: Find sites like Freecycle where you can give and take for free.
- Shop at a free store: Visit free stores or freemarkets to “purchase” or swap goods that are absolutely free.
- Use only what you need: Freegans are always careful not to be wasteful and use more than is necessary, and you should too.
- Join networks: Get linked with others for money saving and job networking while you are on the hunt for work.
- Barter: In place of spending money to get the things you require, trade what you have to offer.
- Be social: See everyone you meet as a potential friend or networking contact. Make friends with store employees, security guards, and other job hunters.
- Make use of craigslist: On craigslist, can find free stuff, barter, and even find a job.
- Use what you have: Make the best use out of what you have instead of buying something new.
- Spend time with your family: Make the most out of your unemployed free time by visiting with the people you care about.
- Think before you buy: Before buying anything, consider its usefulness and worth.
- Make something from what you find: Make like an artist and use found media. You can then sell it online, at swap meets and other outlets.
Video about “The Freegan Lifestyle” from youtube: