Friday, November 14, 2008

I Have Heard of a Vegan But What Is A Freegan?

Right off the bat I need to say that when I typed up the title for this post in Word I had to add Freegan to the dictionary, meaning that it is such a new word that Microsoft does not even recognize it. Of course what I discovered this morning is that even though Microsoft does not know what it is there is an entire world associated with and dedicated to this not new concept. With the country and economy in the state it is in I can definitely understand why it is gaining steam.

Yesterday while researching the Tiny Free House built exclusively from pallets I came across the word freegan a couple times while reading his blog. I did not think too much of it at the time but decided to use it as a tag for the post anyway. The fact that I was not entirely sure what it was though had been gnawing at me all night because I do not want to lead anyone down a misinformed path or put something out there that I am not entirely sure about so this morning it became clear that what I needed to do was dedicate an entire post to this one word.

Perhaps someone may say it is impossible to write an entire article or lengthy blog post on the basis of just one word. Well those people clearly do not know me and the way I do research! I discovered websites, blogs, articles, tips and even a wiki dedicated to this one word. If I were really ambitions I could likely dedicate three posts to it but I will leave that second layer of exploration to the individual discretion of each person reading.

So what is it already right?

Freeganism is about sharing. Freeganism is about community, freedom and generous social interaction. Freeganism is about dumpster diving, especially for food.

Wait, what?

On the website the tagline states “Strategies for Sustainable Living Beyond Capitalism”. It is basically a conscious decision to remove oneself from the place of support for what companies stand for by boycotting the purchasing of products created by them. It goes for all companies. Yes this does also mean food.

Yesterday I discussed the fact that we would be utilizing free shipping pallets to construct our entertainment center and it opened up a can of freegan worms that, if we so chose, would propel us down the path of: no longer paying rent (either squatting or living in the “wild” purposefully), no longer paying bills (paying the heat bill encourages the production and use of fossil fuels and all that is associated with that concept), begin rummaging through dumpsters for food (waste should feed people, not be thrown away) and a literal myriad of additional ways to completely remove our foot print from the planet or provide positive impact only (composting, communal living, etc).

I am certainly all for people doing what they like and although I could never picture myself going down a completely freegan path, I can understand the inclination because just the research into the concept has caused me to think about the following:

☼ Buying only what we need to survive and using it to its fullest extent so as not to waste
☼ Living in just the amount of space we really need and conserving the resources used within that space
☼ Donating even more than we already do to charitable organizations (not just monetary but material as well)
☼ Repurposing materials for alternative solutions if possible
☼ When looking to procure or get rid of something check craigslist free in my local area first (for example Matt wants a bike so he has been on craigslist Boston to find one for free)
☼ Begin researching where my goods come from and noting what impact it has/had on the planet to not only construct it but to get it to where I am from where it originated
☼ Start clipping coupons for everything I buy
☼ Share as much as possible with whomever I can and accept when others do the same for me

What are some of the ways you could see yourself being free?


amy said...

instead if buying paper towels I rip up old shirts that have paint stains or are too small and I use them instead.

then I just wash them in the laundry with my towels and re-use them.

Hope that leaves a small dent.

Bridgete said...

Wow, that is pretty extreme. But interesting.

Do you think communes would fit into this though? Generally they grow their own food - I guess some questions might be where do you get the seeds, and are you paying for the land the commune is on...but still.

kim* said...

im not ganna say im freegan but i do use my stuff till the point of needing new ones. pants...tops...

yeah i can be on the show what not to wear.

High Desert Diva said...

Ah...the dumpster diving comment reminded me I had heard of Freegan(ism). Interesting.

artjewl said...

I know it's probably getting old that just about every comment I leave ends up with the same thing, but seriously, I mean, I've saved stuff like packing peanuts, egg cartons and baby food jars knowing *I* don't have a use for them but that someone else will. Once I have a couple trash bags full of peanuts, I post them on freecycle and help out a home-based business in the neighborhood, or my egg cartons go to a local farmer or preschool for crafts. I personally like it better than craigslist for this sort of thing; it's more focused and there's a sense of community. :)

Ginger said...

haha~ i was just explaining to someone at work yesterday what a freegan could say that a freegan is a modern day renunciate. the difference is that renunciates become so for spiritual reasons, but i guess freeganism could be spiritual as well. i know veganism can.