Freegans: Salvaging foodstuff from dumpsters to combat food waste


Freegans recover waste items discarded in the evening from the garbage cans and dumpsters left outside businesses that sell food. — AFP

The idea of rummaging around in a dumpster may gross you out, but freegans – or dumpster divers – are only too keen to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. They have become masters in the art of getting food by salvaging it rather than buying it, a militant act that seeks to combat food waste.

In a bid to cut food waste, some people have decided to delve into the dumpsters left outside major supermarkets in order to fish out any unsold foodstuff. This ecological movement is known as “freeganism” – a portmanteau of the terms “free” and “veganism” – which involves recovering waste items discarded in the evening from the garbage cans and dumpsters left outside supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries, fast-food outlets and other businesses selling food.

These freegan militants seem to have no problem filling up their fridges for free. You might think it sounds revolting, but the fact is that supermarket dumpsters are often full of foodstuffs still sealed in their packaging and only just past their use-by dates. In other words, they’re still intact and still perfectly edible.

Certain people opt for this alternative lifestyle as a way of saying “stop” to food waste, while for others it’s about saving money – sometimes both. Once you get into it, the freegan lifestyle has got plenty going for it. It’s also proving particularly popular among students.

Certain freegans take things even further, claiming it as an anti-capitalist movement and advocating a lifestyle based on self-sufficiency. It’s about taking action to protect the environment and the desire to break away from the all-powerful chains of the food industry – by salvaging what they consider fit for the trash!

Far from being little more than an extravagant trend, the freegan movement above all decries a global problem, representing around 1.3 billion tonnes of lost or wasted food each year.

While it started with unsold food products, freeganism can be extended to other day-to-day products that can be found in the street, such as clothes, furniture, electricals and more. – AFP Relaxnews

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Freegan , freeganism , food waste


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