(photo from freegan.info, courtesy of falcophoto.com)

 They eat from dumpsters. The shun regular employment. They live in abandoned dwellings. You might think of them as “bums.” They prefer to be known as Freegans. And their ranks may well be growing.

 Dubbed “strategies for a sustainable life beyond capitalism,” the Freegans may well be on to something. In a society as wasteful as modern humanity has become, these “urban foragers” often come back from a night of “product reclamation” with some quality used items. From furniture to electronics to household cleaning products, Freegans are making the point that rampant consumerism fuels not only greed but waste too. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

Free food, even if it has spent a long hot day at the bottom of a dumpster, is the key to Freegan survival. Essentially vegetarians, Freegans relish in the waste of restaurants and retail grocers, creating feasts and sharing the goods with anyone who dares come along.

Free housing, even if it means living with the roaches and rats in an abandoned husk of a home, is a component of the Freegan lifestyle. Their solution to homelessness is to ignore the “No Trespassing” signs because shelter is a right, not a privilege.

Planned joblessness, because working to pay the man becomes less important if you don’t actually have to buy your stuff or pay your rent. And because having a steady job also means you are contributing to the over-production and over-consumption problems of the modern world.

Being Freegan means taking a stand against the environmental destruction caused by mass human consumption. It means working outside the system to bring attention to the problems of the system. It means….well to most of America, it means being a “bum.”


Our whole modern world is based on cheap oil. Once the cheap oil is gone there is a serious concern that whole economies may collapse. Certainly when the supply of easily obtainable oil reaches the point of diminishing returns, much of what we take for granted will no longer be available-from plastics to abundant crops to mass transportation. If humanity can’t create a viable substitute for a world run on oil, and soon, well then we all may become Freegans-whether we like it or not.

Dumpster diving anyone?

(cross posted on Bring It On!)