18 - 2009

Could You, Would You, Do You “Freegan”?

This article came up yesterday on MSN — it’s titled, “Freegans: They Live Off What We Toss in the Trash.” You also might have seen it on Oprah, apparently.

Freegans are folks who try to get everything for free, from the trash or giveaway, including food.

The article is garnering a lot of comments. Some praise freegans’ political motives, being uber-frugal and resisting our consumer society. Others are recoiling at the potential germiness of eating food that’s been who-knows-where.

Now I wouldn’t call myself a freegan by any means. On the other hand, I have done a bit of trash-picking in my day. I’m certainly not above pulling things out of the trash, and sometimes neighbors help by leaving things on the curb with time to take them away before trash crews arrive. Our fire pit was a curbside find, and the bench on my front porch was made partly from an item discarded by one neighbor, with cushions nabbed from another neighbor’s cat-destroyed sofa, left out on large-item day.

As a child, I had a favorite sweater that my grandpa nabbed from the side of the road and washed. In college, I found a fabulous men’s suede jacket in the bottom of our (empty) apartment Dumpster; it served me well for 10 years.

Food? Well, the only time I’ve eaten food that was thrown out was when my father-in-law brought over several big bags of discarded produce from a natural food store that they’d given him for compost. As we were chucking it all into our pile, we found several perfect eggplants and a couple of bell peppers. It seemed a real shame to waste them, so we scrubbed them up and put them in dinner, to no ill effect.

Is this something you would do, or ever have done?

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