Last week I watched a recorded episode of Oprah regarding freegans. This was one of Lisa Ling's investigative reports. I thought I might be the last to know about freegans, but in speaking to Brian, he was unaware. Seeing as how Brian usually knows a bit about everything, I thought I'd update the rest of you and get your opinion.
Freeganism is an anti-consumerism lifestyle. What I understood from the people featured on the show, was that they believe we waste and want too much. LIsa Ling stated that over 30 billion dollars worth of food is discarded by grocery stores yearly. Many freegans have given up their conventional job and now enjoy a much simpler life. They obtain most of their food by "dumpster diving." They didn't eat spoiled food or leftovers, they just scrounge restaurant and grocery store dumpsters for foods slightly damaged or expired, but not spoiled. In many cases, they found sealed packages of items like baked goods, vegetables, coffee beans, that were past their date, but obviously still edible. You can imagine the bagels and bakery items they can find outside of food chains. I'm sure you can imagine the cartons of eggs that go wasted due to one cracked egg. Besides food, they also search for household items, like furniture. It seems that they dumpster dive in large groups and then divide their findings. So you can learn from seasoned freegans and feel safe in a group.
I understand what the freegans are doing and I agree that we waste far too much. I feel awful that so much food goes to waste just because grocery stores have to worry about that marked expiration date in such a litigious society. I've slightly considered what it would be like to go on a group dumpster dive, but I don't know that I would ever get past the societal association to homelessness. Also, I think the freegan movement hasn't exactly made it to Holland. I just love free stuff!
For now, I suppose I'll stick to some of their less offensive recommendations, like growing my own vegetable garden and bartering goods. I'll also make an effort to purchase items that are slightly bruised or closer to expiration, knowing that if I don't use those items, there's a good chance they'll go to complete waste. You can find out more information here.