Freegans practice strategies for everyday living based on sharing resources, minimizing the detrimental impact of our consumption, and reducing and recovering waste and independence from the profit-driven economy. We are dismayed by the social and ecological costs of an economic model where profit is valued over the environment and human and animal rights.
As workers and potential consumers, we view participation in this economy as a form of complicity in practices like sweatshop labor, rainforest destruction, and factory farming. Freegans believe in living ethical, free, and happy lives centered around community and the notion that a healthy society must function on interdependence.
Freegans also believe that we need to take back control of our time. We can do that by turning our backs on corporate pressure to consume, and to work and take on debt to enable that consumption. We prefer to repair and maintain the goods that already exist, share what is surplus, refuse to buy things we don’t really need, and acquire the few things we really do need through recovery of wasted goods and networks of mutual aid. This allows us to work less and devote our time to our families, service to our communities, activism for social change, or simply to enjoying life.
In the globalized system dominated by a relative handful of corporations, vital resources like food and housing are wasted while the needs of hundreds of millions go unmet. All manner of consumer commodities are produced cheaply, offered for sale at high prices, and often discarded unsold by corporations that dismiss the waste as a cost of doing business. These corporations promote disposable goods over reusable ones, design rapidly obsolete products, and ensure that repair is more expensive than replacement. Enormous volumes of still-usable goods go to landfills that poison the exurban communities pressed into hosting them, with a disproportionate impact on the poor and disenfranchised. Freegans put this waste to practical use by keeping it out of the waste stream.
Freegans see a petroleum-based economy as ecologically disastrous and inextricable from warfare and third world domination by the oil conglomerates. We believe we need to promote transportation not based on petroleum consumption.
We see wild foraging as a way to reconnect with our roots as a gatherer species. Many also see urban foraging as an adaptation of gathering to the realities of our throwaway culture.
Freegans envision a future based on self-sufficient, sustainable communities, where we obtain vital resources in ways that don’t exploit people, animals, or the earth, and share them freely to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. We believe the best way to shape this future is to put these values into practice today to the greatest extent possible.
Why Freegan? (eloquent first treatise on freeganism. Thanks to Warren Oakes!)
Mutual Aid by classic Anarchist philosopher Kropotkin, translated from Russian (ebook)
Mutual Aid, an essay by Errico Malatesta, translated from Italian
What is Property? Proudhon’s classic as a free e-book.
Veganism (from Crimethinc) “So rather than just buying animal-friendly products, I try to purchase as few products as possible.”
Grassroots Revolutionary Strategy, by Brian Dominick “The present, not merely the future, is revolutionary.”
Dumpster Diving, Freeganism, And Anarchy, by Jeff Shantz “Dumpster divers also are siphoning off the one thing consumer capitalism cannot live without: waste.”