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Freegans & Dumpster Diving


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  • 11 months later...

Another Thanksgiving story about Freegans can be found here.

Live and let live, I always say. I think I understand their philosophy, but I just cannot understand how they keep from getting sick.

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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While it grosses me out no end, I cannot criticize these people. I'll ignore their self-righteous pontificating about being worried that someone selling tofu products will spend the money at McDooDoo's, thinking that Working Sucks, and just let them have their lifestyle.

It takes all kinds.

I personally am more disgusted by throwing out food than I am by people who choose to eat what we don't. If it doesn't bother them, why on earth should it bother ANYONE?

Reluctantly (but only for the gross-out factor), I say "right on, dudes." Unless there is something inherently noble in being so privileged to live in a nation where we throw out enough food to feed a few small countries. And I bet we do.

Repeat: right on, dudes. Now come and clean out my refrigerator: I have a collection of failed (taste-wise, not contaminated) condiments that will pep up your, um, nocturnal noshing.

True, true, true. Please, take my raspberry/white wine mustard off my hands! :biggrin:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Live and let live, I always say.  I think I understand their philosophy, but I just cannot understand how they keep from getting sick.

:biggrin:

two theories:

it's only the survivors who live to be interviewed;

or

repeated exposure to germs strengthens the immune system

(vaccination like)

milagai

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Be sure not to miss the photos .. and especially the one of the Freegan Salad Bar:

here :wink:

and the equally tempting:

Pizza party leftover buffet :unsure:

Say, for people who don't wish to be seen as consumers, where did they get the digital camera used here?? :rolleyes:

Aha! Hypocrisy unmasked! Just where did they obtain this digital camera and the webspace to post their site?

If you need further proof of their motives, check out their Orwellian approach to inhabiting abandoned housing, known on their site as "Squatting." But lo, when they speak of their anti-capitalist mode of shelter to the public, they call it "Homesteading."

Madison Avenue would be proud.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Be sure not to miss the photos .. and especially the one of the Freegan Salad Bar:

here :wink:

and the equally tempting:

Pizza party leftover buffet :unsure:

Say, for people who don't wish to be seen as consumers, where did they get the digital camera used here?? :rolleyes:

Aha! Hypocrisy unmasked! Just where did they obtain this digital camera and the webspace to post their site?

If you need further proof of their motives, check out their Orwellian approach to inhabiting abandoned housing, known on their site as "Squatting." But lo, when they speak of their anti-capitalist mode of shelter to the public, they call it "Homesteading."

Madison Avenue would be proud.

Well, I think they're mostly against wastage of food and are trying to proove a point that there's food being thrown out that people could eat. Besides, how's it possible to come to a conclusion that they're absolute anticapitalists just because they choose to feed themselves on what people throw out? That's like assuming someone's a vegetarian just because they don't eat beef. I mean, take a look at this, same thing right? Just more organized and less DIY.

And for the squatting part, they ARE trying to organize people who are genuinely homeless & living in shelters too. Considering there are more homeless people than shelters, seems like a good idea to me as long as they're law-abiding (bar the act of squatting itself) and try to take all necessary precautions from causing harm to the rest of the community, which they do advocate on the 'handbook'. Besides, there are regions of the world (such as where I come from - Malaysia) where people set up squatter housing (you might have seen them if you watched Entrapment) and form entire communities out of them. A lot even get power supply from the utilities company. Not technically legal, sure, but they pay their bills & taxes. Coining a euphemistic term for squating is just another way to prevent themselves from being ridiculed and discriminated against. What difference does it make to other people anyway?

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Well, I think they're mostly against wastage of food and are trying to proove a point that there's food being thrown out that people could eat. Besides, how's it possible to come to a conclusion that they're absolute anticapitalists just because they choose to feed themselves on what people throw out? That's like assuming someone's a vegetarian just because they don't eat beef. I mean, take a look at this, same thing right? Just more organized and less DIY.

And for the squatting part, they ARE trying to organize people who are genuinely homeless & living in shelters too. Considering there are more homeless people than shelters, seems like a good idea to me as long as they're law-abiding (bar the act of squatting itself) and try to take all necessary precautions from causing harm to the rest of the community, which they do advocate on the 'handbook'. Besides, there are regions of the world (such as where I come from - Malaysia) where people set up squatter housing (you might have seen them if you watched Entrapment) and form entire communities out of them. A lot even get power supply from the utilities company. Not technically legal, sure, but they pay their bills & taxes. Coining a euphemistic term for squating is just another way to prevent themselves from being ridiculed and discriminated against. What difference does it make to other people anyway?

Hear Hear! BTW, 'homesteading' has been a well used term for 'squatting' for over 30 years. This freegan group is just a small faction in the vast world of living off of other's excess. There IS a lot of waste in the US. Go take a look in your own garbage. I'm frugal and I still wonder at all of my garbage.

There are a lot of hungry, poor, homeless people everywhere, including the US. You may not like this particular group, but they're such a tiny part of things, you really can't judge from them. Let's try NOT to judge. I've fed plenty of hungry people in my life. It's appalling. The society that we live in works for you, but not for everyone.

More Than Salt

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Be sure not to miss the photos .. and especially the one of the Freegan Salad Bar:

here :wink:

and the equally tempting:

Pizza party leftover buffet :unsure:

Say, for people who don't wish to be seen as consumers, where did they get the digital camera used here?? :rolleyes:

Aha! Hypocrisy unmasked! Just where did they obtain this digital camera and the webspace to post their site?

If you need further proof of their motives, check out their Orwellian approach to inhabiting abandoned housing, known on their site as "Squatting." But lo, when they speak of their anti-capitalist mode of shelter to the public, they call it "Homesteading."

Madison Avenue would be proud.

Well, I think they're mostly against wastage of food and are trying to prove a point that there's food being thrown out that people could eat. Besides, how's it possible to come to a conclusion that they're absolute anticapitalists just because they choose to feed themselves on what people throw out? That's like assuming someone's a vegetarian just because they don't eat beef. I mean, take a look at this, same thing right? Just more organized and less DIY.

Freegans proudly brand themselves as anti-capitalists on their website:

Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that the products we buy will have detrimental impacts we may never even consider
.

Their site also states that

Many freegans sustain themselves by recovering and making practical use of the the massive waste of our materialistic, greed-driven economy.

Now I'm no friend of waste either, and happily give away food to charities instead of seeing it go to waste. Many a time have I bundled up leftovers from an office lunch and distributed them to Streetwise newspaper vendors on the streets. But there's a more efficient (and sanitary) way of picking up that excess food and getting it to hungry people before it lands up in a dumpster, filthy. I know of many restaurants (some corporation-owned) that donate the day's excess food to local shelters. Freegans would be wiser to work directly with restaurants & groceries to retrieve their excesses than to rifle through garbage bins just to avoid contact with business whose raison d' être they openly deplore.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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When the Grateful Dead was still around, some of the people I knew in that scene were "freegans." For most of them it was not at all philosophical, or a response to percieved social or environmental problems, but just a way to save money for more important things, like weed, concert tickets, and gasoline.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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When the Grateful Dead was still around, some of the people I knew in that scene were "freegans." For most of them it was not at all philosophical, or a response to percieved social or environmental problems, but just a way to save money for more important things, like weed, concert tickets, and gasoline.

I've heard that you could get a mean grilled cheese sandwich at the Dead concerts. :raz:

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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It's simple. Restaurants/stores have to protect themselves from liability. Therefore, if they are there without permission, the dumpster divers are trespassing, no matter their motives.

If you don't have permission to be there, you are trespassing, which means you are breaking the law. Period. End of story.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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When the Grateful Dead was still around, some of the people I knew in that scene were "freegans." For most of them it was not at all philosophical, or a response to percieved social or environmental problems, but just a way to save money for more important things, like weed, concert tickets, and gasoline.

I've heard that you could get a mean grilled cheese sandwich at the Dead concerts. :raz:

Grilled cheese and veggie burritos. Ah, memories. . .

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Many times in my youth did the answer seem to be joining the tour and selling dollar grilled cheeses.. Definately the first time I considered cooking as a lifes profession.. But the grilled cheese game was far from freegan.. There is a lot of money to be made with no overhead and thousand time mark up in an all cash business.. ..

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I had quite forgotten about these freegans and their professed desires to save themselves from the evils of capitalism ... and how annoyed they made me in this thread last year ... now more sanguine ...

from the London Times, November ... circa 2005 ...

The freegan philosophy of “ethical eating” argues that capitalism and mass production exploit workers, animals and the environment.
:rolleyes:

Case in point:

Adam Weissman, a freegan activist and sometime security guard in New Jersey, says freeganism grew out of the radical 1960s “yippie” movement but also has affinities with the hobos of the Great Depression who travelled around the country by stealing rides on the railways.

“I have pity for people who have not figured out this lifestyle,” he said. “I am able to take long vacations from work, I have all kinds of consumer goods, and I eat a really healthy diet of really wonderful food ...We found flat-screen TVs, working boom-boxes and stereos....so I wear a lot of designer labels."

Healthy diet, vacations, designer labels ... hmmm ... :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I've been there and done some of that usually by necessity and on occasion by choice (i.e. taking home that teriyaki steak my customer barely touched and using my food money at the bar :wink: ).

But whether it was some free out-of-date prepackaged sandwiches that a convenience store was giving away out the back door or a left-over steak - I sure as heck wasn't getting food from a dumpster.

Eating cream-filled doughnuts from a dumpster? Egads! It's a bit much.

I have a social conscience but I'm also the product of Depression era parents. My value system happens to include a deeply ingrained belief that wasting food is sinful. Every possible scrap and piece of food I buy gets used if at all possible. All leftovers get eaten and if they'll spoil before being eaten I freeze them for later use.

Just my personal take on it but I think there are better ways to make a statement about your beliefs by incorporating it into the way you live. But freeganism certainly does lower the food bills.

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Without getting into any of the is it right/is it wrong debate: I have been witness to several dumpster-diving excursions for food, and I've eaten many of the items found therein, mostly when I didn't have the money to eat much else. One store threw everything away at the same time each evening, and actually put it all in clear trash bags, categorized it even - dairy products in one bag, raw meat (which I WOULD NOT touch) in another, bread and bakery in another, etc. The products being thrown away were often those with sell-by dates of the next day, so these things were not spoiled.

It does seem to be a shame that due to liability concerns stores and restaurants are unable to donate all of this unused food to food banks (or that is the reason most often given when I have asked).

Jennie

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One big coffee conglomerate (awshucks, it rhymes with $$) gives away all leftover pastries, about to pass sell date candies, syrups and beans daily. Usually the food goes to the neighborhood shelter, but I do know of some instances when it has gone to Second Harvest instead, because there was no shelter nearby to give to. I think it's nicer when companies donate the excess. Feeding hungry people means a lot to me, and the truth is, freegans DO have a point. There is a LOT of edible food in the garbage, all over the country.

More Than Salt

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Cure Cutaneous Lymphoma

Join the DarkSide---------------------------> DarkSide Member #006-03-09-06

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I mean, to this day,dressed in a tuxedo, I might grab slice of pizza or something off a room service cart if the situation calls for it.. I certainly aint a Freegan, just a kid in need of some nourishement.. Room Service carts in the hallway is the classy guys dumpster dive.. :rolleyes: "One man gathers what another man leaves out to be taken away by touching 9 then pound on your in room suite (Tell A Communication Sis Stem)

Edited by Daniel (log)
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"One man gathers what another man leaves out to be taken away by touching 9 then pound on your in room suite (Tell A Communication Sis Stem)

:laugh: That's priceless.

I wonder if anyone else realized that that was a reference to a Dead song? Come to think of it, Saint Stephen would seem to be a good theme song for freegans.

"Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills, One man gathers what another man spills."

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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  • 5 months later...

Here is an article on freegans in Melbourne, Australia

Like some previous posters I'm revolted by the thought of eating manky and possibly dangerous food scavenged from the garbage. But I'm equally as revolted that perfectly good food isn't distributed in a better way to organisations and people who do need it and that this kind of excess is encouraged.

I'm also a bit cynical about their emphasis on the green aspect of dumpster diving when they're cruising around melbourne in their toyota. if this is really an anti-establishment, radical green lifestyle wtf aren't they on bikes? or walking?

why don't they join a group like Ceres

who i feel are making much more practical headway in educating the community about sensible use of resources, and ethical approaches to food and transport.

I think freegan energy would be better harnessed in the chook group

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I think it's hilarious that so many people are riled up. When it comes to outlawing foie gras (note: Im from Chicago and think this ban is ridiculous), people are all for food choices; but hey when people eat food that would otherwise go to waste, suddenly people cant make their own food choices. Now, I'm not freegan, not vegan, not vegetarian or any of that, but if people want to eat food that otherwise would end up rotting, whose to say they shouldn't. But, I do agree with you on the sanctimoniousness, drives me nuts, and I do have to admit I have baited and argued with vegan/vegetarian friends more than a few times. I guess I just feel as long as these people aren't stealing food, and are not taking food homeless people would have eaten, thern I dont see a problem. They are endangering themselves, they are eating food that in some cases is probably horrendous and in other cases perfectly fine. But, to each his own. If they drive you nuts, dont read the articles, ignore them.

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One big coffee conglomerate (awshucks, it rhymes with $$) gives away all leftover pastries, about to pass sell date candies, syrups and beans daily. Usually the food goes to the neighborhood shelter, but I do know of some instances when it has gone to Second Harvest instead, because there was no shelter nearby to give to. I think it's nicer when companies donate the excess. Feeding hungry people means a lot to me, and the truth is, freegans DO have a point. There is a LOT of edible food in the garbage, all over the country.

That is good to here. When I was a Kitchen manager I regularly gave away items to charities. But the problem in the world of TGI Mcfunster is quite different. They are so scared of litigation that all food items get thrown in a locked compactor/dumpster never to be seen again.

One place I worked in threw away so much stuff it was heartbreaking. In order to make those deep fried potato skins that everyone seems to love the start by baking tons of potatoes then slice them in half and scoop out the middle. Only a small amount of this potato is reused in soup the rest gets thrown out. If an employee takes some it is considered theft and they are dealt with. You would think the logical thing would be to make mashed potatoes or pancakes.

Broccoli they order fresh and trim the florets ½ inch from the bottom. Management is constantly complaining about waste and food cost on top of this. Green onions are only used for the first ½ of the green part and the rest goes out as trash. This place had a 40 cubic yard dumpster that got rather full during the summer and the Thursday night shift sometimes would store trash in the wet room until the new dumpster came Friday.

The place I first worked at nothing was wasted. By the time something mad it to the trash there was no other use for it or it had spoiled. The boss hated spoilage because that meant we where not paying attention to what we had on hand. Our dumpster was 5 cubes and only got full during the late spring and around the holidays do to the increased catering business

I do think it sad that people dumpster dive for food that could just be given to them or sold at a deep discount.they could afford to buy it but choose not to. I inherited some spices that are over 100 years old and most are still usable. The reason for this fact being true? The packaging the where in was airtight and steel. Yes some of the spices have degraded slightly or may not be as potent but they serve as a reminder that I am the fourth generation cooking with them. It also serves as a reminder at family events to the past. I so have fresher versions of the same spices that I use but this is to celebrate family and combat waste.

To me the thing that freaks me out about the freegans is they think they are sticking it to the Evil Corporate Empire. When in fact they are doing the opposite thing by there dumpster diving. The company that has the garbage hauled is screwed but anyone after that makes a small killing.

Living hard will take its toll...
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I'm with you WHT, all that food being wasted is sad. What's the point? I know litigation is a problem, but you think they would research how to limit waste to raise their profit margin! or wait, does capitalism not work perfectly?

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Many times in my youth did the answer seem to be joining the tour and selling dollar grilled cheeses.. Definately the first time I considered cooking as a lifes profession..  But the grilled cheese game was far from freegan.. There is a lot of money to be made with no overhead and thousand time mark up in an all cash business.. ..

selling grilled cheese in diapers??? thats funny.

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I'm with you WHT, all that food being wasted is sad.  What's the point? I know litigation is a problem, but you think they would research how to limit waste to raise their profit margin! or wait, does capitalism not work perfectly?

What most people don’t even think about is yes, corporations are by nature capitalists. But in order to do this the use a lot of socialist practices. Do you think the store in a mall gets charged the same rent per square foot as a freestanding or strip store? The managers are charged a flat rent based on how many SF the store is by the company but the company calculates that rate from the sum total of square feet in use and the dollar averaged cost calculate the rate charged to the stores..

Some retail companies not only have control over the stores but the factories that supply the goods and the trucking. Through a set of internal charges rakes a profit from each of the steps. I have seen many incarnations of this and some so complex that everything used in a store comes from internal sources right down to the chairs, tables and paper goods.

I don’t think at this point or for the foreseeable future anyone will come up with any good, workable and reliable system of government. I guess because people tend to get greedy and that is the hinge point. If the former segments of the Soviet Union and china are adopting capitalism how bad could it be???

:blink:

Living hard will take its toll...
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