Living Freegan: An Introduction to a Culture

By KBJR News 1

May 20, 2014 Updated May 20, 2014 at 8:01 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- "Waste not, want not"... It's a saying your Depression era grandparents may have used, but in today's society, much of what we purchase for our families and homes, DOES go to waste.
So what if a person made the choice to live on what other people throw away? There are people who do just that, they're called Freegans, and they're right here in the Northland.

Today is a special day in the life of a freegan... its move-out day at UMD. Plenty of time is spent diving into dumpsters throughout the year, but today...

"If anyone finds a spoon in that dumpster, I'm going to need one" said Freegan, Kevin Hard.

...is an easy day that will leave these young freegans with plenty to use through the year.

"We'll process whatever we can't eat right away, whether that means making marmalade from the oranges or cider with the apples, or pickles with the carrots we found" said Freegan, Skyler Hawkins.

"We've got some sweet corn up here that we canned, or pickled and that was, again, a throw away food" said Hard.

Freegans avoid eating, using, or furnishing their homes with anything that they have to purchase, choosing instead to commit to a lifestyle that reclaims throw-away goods before they hit the land-fill.

Being a freegan doesn't mean you just dig through the garbage all the time, in fact, they'd like to see a lot of the dumpsters disappear.
That's because the dumpster diving isn't done out of financial desperation, but rather for reasons of conscience, and a desire to bring about a change in societal norms.

"I feel like we should be over garbage. I think we need to evolve out of being able to just throw stuff on our land because if you keep doing that it's just all going to be garbage" said Hard.

The waste goes beyond what you can see. Take a discarded bag of oranges for example...

"Not only are you wasting an orange, but you're wasting the gas that brought it here and the workers times that went and picked it" said Freegan, Tom Limberis.

/these freegans know about the time it takes to produce food because they also grow plenty of it in the summertime.
But when it comes to digging through the dumpster...

"it's kind of like cleaning up after society's waste" said Limberis.

A job that has no pay rate or set hourly schedule.

"It's not what the average successful person would do" said Hawkins, but that all depends on how you measure success.

Bryce Henry