What is a Freegan?


Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.

After years of trying to boycott products from egregious corporations responsible for human rights violations, environmental destruction, and animal abuse, many of us found that no matter what we bought we ended up supporting something deplorable. We came to realize that the problem isn't just a few bad corporations but the entire system itself.

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 all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able.

The word freegan is derived from "free" and "vegan". Vegans are people who avoid products from animal sources or products tested on animals in an effort to avoid harming animals. Freegans take this a step further by recognizing that in a complex, industrial, mass-production economy driven by profit, abuses of humans, animals, and the earth abound at all levels of production (from acquisition to raw materials to production to transportation ) and in just about every product we buy. Sweatshop labor, rainforest destruction, global warming, displacement of indigenous communities, air and water pollution, eradication of wildlife on farmland as "pests", the violent overthrow of popularly elected governments to maintain puppet dictators compliant to big business interests, open-pit strip mining, oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, union busting, child slavery, and payoffs to repressive regimes are just some of the many impacts of the seemingly innocuous consumer products we consume every day.

Freegans employ a range of strategies for practical living based on our principles:

Waste Reclamation
We live in an economic system where sellers only value land and commodities relative to their capacity to generate profit. Consumers are constantly being bombarded with advertising telling them to discard and replace the goods they already have because this increases sales. This practise of affluent societies produces an amount of waste so enormous that many people can be fed and supported simply on its trash. As freegans we forage instead of buying to avoid being wasteful consumers ourselves, to politically challenge the injustice of allowing vital resources to be wasted while multitudes lack basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, and to reduce the waste going to landfills and incinerators which are disproportionately situated within poor, non-white neighborhoods, where they cause elevated levels of cancer and asthma.

Perhaps the most notorious freegan strategy is what is commonly called "urban foraging" or "dumpster diving". This technique involves rummaging through the garbage of retailers, residences, offices, and other facilities for useful goods. Despite our society's sterotypes about garbage, the goods recovered by freegans are safe, useable, clean, and in perfect or near-perfect condition, a symptom of a throwaway culture that encourages us to constantly replace our older goods with newer ones, and where retailers plan high-volume product disposal as part of their economic model. Some urban foragers go at it alone, others dive in groups, but we always share the discoveries openly with one another and with anyone along the way who wants them. Groups like Food Not Bombs recover foods that would otherwise go to waste and use them to prepare meals to share in public places with anyone who wishes to partake.

By recovering the discards of retailers, offices, schools, homes, hotels, or anywhere by rummaging through their trash bins, dumpsters, and trash bags, freegans are able to obtain food, beverages, books, toiletries magazines, comic books, newspapers, videos, kitchenware, appliances, music (CDs, cassettes, records, etc.), carpets, musical instruments, clothing, rollerblades, scooters, furniture, vitamins, electronics, animal care products, games, toys, bicycles, artwork, and just about any other type of consumer good. Rather than contributing to further waste, freegans curtail garbage and pollution and lessening the over-all volume in the waste stream.

Lots of used items can also be found for free or shared with others on websites like Freecycle and in the free section of your local Craigslist . To dispose of useful materials check out the EPA's Materials and Waste Exchanges directory. In communities around the country, people are holding events like "Really, Really, Free Markets" and "Freemeets". These events are akin to flea markets with free items. People bring items to share with others. They give and take but not a dollar is exchanged. When freegans do need to buy, we buy second-hand goods which reduces production and supports reusing and reducing what would have been wasted without providing any additional funds for new production.

Waste Minimization
Because of our frequent sojourns into the discards our throwaway society, freegans are very aware of and disgusted by the enormous amounts of waste the average US consumer generates and thus choose not to be a part of the problem. So, freegans scrupulously recycle, compost organic matter into topsoil, and repair rather than replace items whenever possible. Anything unusable by us, we redistribute to our friends, at freemarkets, or using internet services like freecycle and craigslist.

Eco-Friendly Transportation
Freegans recognize the disastrous social and ecological impacts of the automobile. We all know that automobiles cause pollution created from the burning of petroleum but we usually dont think of the other destruction factors like forests being eliminated from road building in wilderness areas and collision deaths of humans and wildlife. As well, the massive oil use today creates the economic impetus for slaughter in Iraq and all over the world. Therefore, freegans choose not to use cars for the most part. Rather, we use other methods of transportation including trainhopping, hitchhiking, walking, skating, and biking. Hitchhiking fills up room in a car that would have been unused otherwise and therefore it does not add to the overall consumption of cars and gasoline.

Some freegans find at least some use of cars unavoidable so we try to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels by using cars with desiel engines converted to run on “greisel” or "veggie-oil" literally fueling our cars with used fryer oil from restaurants - another example of diverting waste for practical use. Volunteer groups are forming everywhere to assist people in converting diesel engines to run on vegetable oil.

Rent-Free Housing
Freegans believe that housing is a RIGHT, not a privilege. Just as freegans consider it an atrocity for people to starve while food is thrown away, we are also outraged that people literally freeze to death on the streets while landlords and cities keep buildings boarded up and vacant because they can't turn a profit on making them available as housing.

Squatters are people who occupy and rehabilitate abandoned, decrepit buildings. Most squatters are freegan. Squatters believe that real human needs are more important than abstract notions of private property, and that those who hold deed to buildings but won't allow people to live in them, even in places where housing is vitally needed, don't deserve to own those buildings. In addition to living areas, squatters often convert abandoned buildings into community centers with programs including art activities for children, environmental education, meetings of community organizations, and more.

Going Green
We live in a society where the foods that we eat are often grown a world away, over processed, and then transported long distances to be stored for too long, all at a high ecological cost. Because of this process, we've lost appreciation for the changes in season and the cycles of life but some of us are reconnecting to the Earth through gardening and wild foraging.

Many urban ecologists have been turning garbage-filled abandoned lots into verdant community garden plots. In neighborhoods where stores are more likely to carry junk food than fresh greens, community gardens provide a health food source. Where the air is choked with asthma inducing pollutants, the trees in community gardens produce oxygen. In landscapes dominated by brick, concrete, and asphalt, community gardens provide an oasis of plants, open spaces, and places for communities to come together, work together, share food, grow together, and break down the barriers that keep people apart in a society where we have all become too isolated from one another.

Wild foragers demonstrate that we can feed ourselves without supermarkets and treat our illnesses without pharmacies by familiarizing ourselves with the edible and medicinal plants growing all around us. Even city parks can yield useful foods and medicines, giving us a renewed appreciation of the reality that our sustenance comes ultimately not from corporate food producers, but from the Earth itself. Others take the foraging lifestyle even farther, removing themselves from urban and suburban concepts and attempting to "go feral" by building communities in the wilderness based on primitive survival skills.

Working Less / Voluntary Joblessness
How much of our lives do we sacrifice to pay bills and buy more stuff? For most of us, work means sacrificing our freedom to take orders from someone else, stress, boredom, monotony, and in many cases risks to our physical and psychological well-being.

Once we realize that it's not a few bad products or a few egregious companies responsible for the social and ecological abuses in our world but rather the entire system we are working in, we begin to realize that, as workers, we are cogs in a machine of violence, death, exploitation, and destruction. Is the retail clerk who rings up a cut of veal any less responsible for the cruelty of factory farming than the farm worker? What about the ad designer who finds ways to make the product palatable? How about the accountant who does the grocery's books and allows it to stay in business? Or the worker in the factory that manufacturers refrigerator cases? And, of course, the high level managers of the corporations bear the greatest responsibility of all for they make the decisions which causes the destruction and waste. You don't have to own stock in a corporation or own a factory or chemical plant to be held to blame.

By accounting for these basic necessities like food, clothing, housing, furniture, and transportation without spending a dime, freegans are able to greatly reduce or altogether eliminate the need to constantly be employed. We can instead devote our time to caring for our families, volunteering in our communities, and joining activist groups to fight the practices of the corporations who would otherwise be bossing us around at work. For some, total unemployment isn't an option — it's far harder to find free dental surgery than a free bookcase on the curb — but by limiting our financial needs, even those of us who need to work can place conscious limits on how much we work, take control of our lives, and escape the constant pressure to make ends meet. But even if we must work, we need not cede total control to the bosses. The freegan spirit of cooperative empowerment can be extended into the workplace as part of worker-led unions like the Industrial Workers of the World .




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Freeganism is a lifestyle based around the belief that almost all work and monetary exchanges within a capitalist economy contribute to a myriad of forms of exploitation --worker abuse, animal exploitation, hunger , ecological destruction , mass incarceration, war , inequitable distribution of resources, commodification of women--almost all issues addressed by social, ecological, and animal rights advocacy groups.

The word freegan is derived from the words "free" and "vegan," and is derived from the observation that even a vegan lifestyle is not free of exploitation. A product's veganism does not guarantee, for example, that workers were not exploited in the product's production, that toxic pesticides were not used in its growing, that massive amounts of petroleum were not used in its production and shipping, that prison labor was not used, that rainforests were not cleared to generate planation land, that wildlife was not harmed in its production, or that it is not packaged wastefully.

Freegans argue that people sincerely committed to living the "cruelty-free" lifestyle espoused by vegans must strive to abstain not only from eating, wearing, and using animal skins, secretions, flesh, and animal tested products, but must strive to the greatest degree possible to remove themselves from participation in the capitalist economy altogether as workers and consumers.

In contrast to veganism, which has a very clear-cut list of "dos" and "don'ts", freeganism functions more as a philosophy , a range of living strategies, a community, a culture, and an ideal, than a set of rules. Freegans recognize that because freeganism is far more expansive than veganism, while it is fairly easy to completely adhere to the traditionally defined "rules" of veganism, it is almost impossible to be freegan in all ways at all times. Freegans focus less on individual purity and more on building collective projects to facilitate freegan living strategies.

Many freegans are anarchists and identify with libertarian communist ideals of voluntary cooperation and mutual aid, and place a strong emphasis on forging socially and ecologically sustainable and egalitarian communities.

Freegan Practices

There is some confusion as to what constitute freegan practices, and numerous misconceptions. This has been exacerbated by a range of mainstream media stories that have generated an unprecendented amount of public attention to freeganism, but with a focus generally limited to " dumpster diving for food", a common freegan practice, but one among many defining practices of freeganism.

Even the pamphlet "Why Freegan", the nearest thing to a freegan movement "bible" is confusing in defining what exactly constitutes freeganism. On the one hand it defines freeganism as an "an anti-consumeristic ethic about eating," and goes on to describe practices including dumpster diving, plate scraping, wild foraging , gardening , shoplifting , employee scams , and barter as alternatives to paying for food .

Yet the pamphlet goes on to include a lengthy section on non-food related practices, including using solar energy , conserving water , carlessness, and reusing goods. This has created some disagreement as to whether these non-food practices are components of the freegan ethic, or are simply compatible practices with freeganism. Freegans rarely give serious concern to semantical hair-splitting, and such questions are largely irrelevant since most freegans also employ some or all of these non-food practices regardless of whether or not they fall under the "freegan" label.

Dumpster diving or skipping

Many freegans get free food by pulling it out of the trash, a practice commonly nicknamed dumpster diving in North America or skipping in the U.K. Freegans find ample amounts of clean, edible food in the garbage of restaurants, grocery stores , and other food-related industries, and this allows them to avoid spending money on products that exploit the world's resources, contribute to urban sprawl , treat workers unfairly, or disregard animal rights . By foraging, they prevent edible food from contributing to landfills and sometimes feed people and animals who might otherwise go hungry. Many freegans claim that they are able to eat very well, and even avoid paying for food altogether, due to this practice. Many vegan dumpster divers come to embrace freeganism in order to utilize more of the thrown-out food they find, which would otherwise be needlessly wasted.

Some freegans, sometimes called "meagans", consume meat and other animal products as long as they would otherwise be wasted; others are strict vegans. Meagans argue that since that even seemingly benign products are produced exploitatively under captialism, there is nothing "pure" about a vegan diet. Since captalism is fueled by the exchange of capital, using wasted goods creates no further demand for production. Meagans see using wasted animal products not as supporting animal slaughter and exploitation, but rather as diverting waste from landfills. Some even argue that allowing animal corpses to end up in landfills shows disrespect for animals lives, and that they should at least ensure that their bodies remain part of the food chain and that their deaths weren't in vain by serving as food rather than as waste. Many vegan freegans do not in principle disagree with this argument, but, coming from vegan backgrounds, consider animal products unhealthy, and unappetizing.

  Objections to Freeganism

Some pro-shopping vegans feel that the freeganism is inherently unsustainable because: it does not economically support non-animal alternatives; it avoids making an explicit statement about food of animal origin; and it presents difficulty in determining the 'freeness' of food, ie. food taken without permission from a buffet table may be free to the recipient, but it has the potential to create a shortage for others attending the buffet who might later fulfill their food needs by purchasing animal-based food. A common derogatory term for freegans is "Opportunivore".

Freegans argue that this view represents a fundamental misunderstanding of a key concern of freegans--that freegan consumption not drive further demand for the purchase of additional products. For example, some freegans argue that shoplifting is not truly freegan because it runs the risk of encouraging stores to order more products to replace stolen goods, thus driving increased demand. To freegans, it is not enough to simply "get something for free", but rather that their consumption not inject more dollars into the capitalist economy. Proxying payment to someone else and in the process generating income for exploitative producers would not be considered freegan.

Other vegans feel that freeganism is ethically sound, but is too "extreme" to appeal to most people, and may even alienate people by extension from less radical practices like veganism.

Food Not Bombs is an organization based widely on freegan principles.



Why Freegan Koala, Publication date unknown. (Added to the Internet February 2002) URL accessed June 5 2006

'Freegans' choose to eat garbage Tucker Carlson, MSNBC, February 3 2006 URL accessed February 24 2006

"Freegan" Dumpster Diving Reveals America's Colossal Waste of Food Nicole Bergot, Newsday, September 29 2004 URL accessed February 24 2006

Rubbish meals a gourmet treat for freegan diners Richard Luscombe, The Scotsman, November 25 2005 URL accessed February 24 2006




 !    話你知:Freeganism超越物質

Freegans 堅持零購物 摷垃圾維生


你可以說他們顛覆、叛逆、不倫不類,但無法阻止他們摷垃圾。近年美國出現一群新人類 ── 「不消費者」( Freegans )。他們有正當職業和固定收入,但為了對抗浪費文化,經常到街頭的垃圾堆,摷出可吃、可用、可穿的物品,有些人甚至整年不會花一毛錢買東西。

紐約曼哈頓( Manhattan )第五大道,近日掛上美輪美奐的聖誕裝飾,人們忙購買禮物。但轉到街角,一群年輕人卻不理別人的目光猛摷垃圾。 31 歲的小學美術師羅辛( Cindy Rosin )告訴你:「垃圾桶內的東西不一定是垃圾。」

其實,羅辛與一群志同道合的朋友都是「不消費者」,定期進行名為「都巿搜尋糧食」( urban foraging )活動。這一晚他們相約在一間高級雜貨店外,待店舖一關門,就開始行動,眾人七手八腳跳進垃圾堆中,摷出青椒、蘋果、包、士多啤梨、香 腸、香蕉、乳酪、果汁、還有多袋紅蘿蔔。這些食物當然不是完美,但在「不消費者」眼中,並非完全入不了口。 34 歲的古鐵雷斯( Christian Gutierrez )說:「士多啤梨有小小發霉,乳酪過了期,就全部被丟到垃圾桶。」

古鐵雷斯是一間單車店的老闆,在他眼中,垃圾都「好有用」,他身上那件 Burberry 濕褸和腳上那雙完好的鞋子,便是在垃圾堆中發現,有時他更會用撿回來的食物招呼顧客。他說:「人們來修理單車時,都會留下來吃晚餐,因為我的冰箱總是放滿食物。」

這晚撿到那麼多食物,怎樣處理才好?他們會將食物包好,邀請途人隨便自取。羅辛手上一個黑色垃圾袋,袋內有許多仍香噴噴的新鮮包,她不斷叫喊: 「包!包!」。有路人投以懷疑的目光,雖然願意拿食物的人不多,但最少可以宣傳不要浪費的訊息。另一名成員韋斯曼( Adam Weissman )說:「我們的目標不是派食物,而是向人們傳遞訊息,談談地球被破壞的問題,關注嚴重浪費的情況。」

最後還剩下大堆食物,「不消費者」會儲存起來,在定期舉行的「不消費者宴會」中烹調,歡迎任何人參加。羅辛指出,現時美國有許多反消費團體,一個名為 Compact 的組織成員更設法一整年不用錢生活。


話你知: Freeganism 超越物質

「不消費者」 Freegans ,是由 free (免費)和 vegan (有機素食)兩個字結合而成,他們奉行「不消費主義」( Freeganism ),要過「超越資本主義的生活」。

「不消費主義」在 1990 年代興起,支持者認為在消費主導的經濟模式下,人們受物質慾望操控,變得貪婪、冷漠,只知道競爭、比較,造成各種社會和環境問題,例如剝削童工、破壞熱帶雨林等。


---- 《蘋果》資料室


• 浪費 7% 收買沒需要的東西
• 未吃過而扔掉的食物總值 425 英鎊(約 6,700 港元)
• 花 378 英鎊(約 5,900 港元)在一些很快就厭倦的運動和嗜好
• 用 240 英鎊(約 3,700 港元)買不看的 DVD 和書、只穿一次的衣物鞋子,以及一時衝動買一次也沒用過的無聊玩意

《美國人口佔全球人口總數 5% ,但》
• 消耗全球 23% 能源
• 吃掉 15% 肉食
• 用掉 28% 紙張
• 飲掉 260 億公升瓶裝水,列全球之冠
• 每年扔掉 250 億個發泡膠外賣杯
• 買回家後一次也未穿過的衣服,每個男性平均有 9 件,女性則有 14 件

資料來源:英國保誠保險 / 《南京日報》 / 人民網 / 美國 Churchill 家居保險