So a while ago I was watching Lisa Ling on Oprah and they were discussing Freegans. Apparently this “is an anti-consumerism lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on “limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources.” (wikapedia.com) So this particular episode was centered around what freegans call “Dumpster Diving”, where they rummage through residential or commercial trash to find items that have been discarded that they can use, this can include clothing, shoes, furniture, and food items that have past their due dates. I guess this lifestyle is for the frugal or in some cases a way of making a political statement against consumerism. There are many sites to tell you how to dumpster dive like this one http://www.wikihow.com/Dumpster-Dive it has a step by step guide on the do’s and don’ts of dumpster diving.
The funny thing is a few years ago I wouldn’t even have considered something like this, but lately with the way prices are rising at the grocery store, the gas pump, etc.. I can’t help but think about the dumpsters that are behind these places and what I might find inside them. I wonder how many people would consider actually dumpster diving for food? I was amazed at the things that Lisa Ling’s group pulled out of the trash, in my head I was saying I’d eat that, that doesn’t look that bad.
It’s true we have become a society of consumerism, whether it’s having the biggest and best burger, the latest technical gadget, fashion, toys, etc. we are definitely a “gotta have it” society. The question is in this day and age would you ever take discarded items and use them in your home? What would you consider ok to take, food, furniture, clothing? Where would you draw the line? Do you think it’s a safe practice?
“Just how bad is the problem of waste in America? Some sources estimate that stores throw away 2 to 3 percent of their inventory. That’s approximately $30 billion in food, Lisa says. “Which, again, could feed entire countries.” (oprah.com) To think that we would rather throw food away into a landfill rather than feed people that are starving blows my mind.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have the courage to go dumpster diving, but I will be more aware of waste and buying more than I need. I would be interested in what freegans call a “trash tour” just to see if there are people where I live doing this and what they are finding.