We as Freegans employ alternative strategies for living that are based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Thus, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree possible, emphasize sharing resources, and find happiness outside the pursuit of material things. There are many strategies for living with limited participation in the traditional economy, some of which we briefly discuss below.
Waste Reclamation and Minimization
Because our economic system emphasizes profit over all else, people are constantly subjected to advertising and persuaded to discard and replace usable goods. Freegans resist these messages to buy; we forage instead of buying new things, share foraged resources with others, and promote reusability over disposability in order to consume that which would have otherwise gone to waste.
Perhaps the most publicized Freegan waste-reduction strategy, commonly called dumpster diving or urban foraging, involves foraging through the waste of retailers, residences, offices, and other facilities for useful goods. These goods are safe, usable, clean, and often in perfect or near-perfect condition, a symptom of a throwaway culture that encourages disposability. Some urban foragers go at it alone, others dive in groups, but Freeganism emphasizes sharing discoveries with one another and with anyone along the way who wants them.
Because Freegans frequently encounter extraordinary wastefulness, we aim to minimize our own through materials recycling, composting of organic matter into topsoil, and repair of durable goods rather than replacement. We also redistribute surplus to our friends and give things away at freemarkets and online forums. When Freegans cannot meet their needs through foraging and need to buy, we buy second-hand goods as part of the reduce, reuse, and repair credo.
Just like millions of other individuals alarmed about climate change, Freegans recognize the ecological harm of burning fossil fuels and choose to minimize consumption where possible. We walk, cycle, carpool, use biodiesel, and choose lighter vehicles such as scooters and motorbikes.
Freegans seek to reconnect to the Earth through gardening and wild foraging, even in places one would not expect to find gardens or edible plants. Many urban ecologists have turned abandoned lots into verdant community garden plots, providing healthy food and developing the green landscapes shown to improve human health.
This is just a brief introduction to the many benefits of Freeganism and methods for bringing about these benefits. Learn more by heading over to the Freegan philosophy page.
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