Freegan derives from a portmanteau of "free" and "vegan".
In the simplest and most practical sense, freeganism expresses the morally neutral to positive quality of rescuing food waste (or other waste) even if those items are not themselves vegan foods.
Bread with whey in it, for example, might not be vegan if you were to buy it (which in part funds animal agriculture), but if it were salvaged and the alternative was for it to go in a landfill, it is freegan because no money from its purchase went to funding animal agriculture.
That's not what it means for everybody, though. Freeganism is complicated by various ideological and political differences within the movement. There are, for example, less mainstream anti-capitalist sentiments flowing through much of the movement's origin:
Freeganism is a practice and ideology of limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources, particularly through recovering wasted goods like food. The word "freegan" is a portmanteau of "free" and "vegan". While vegans might avoid buying animal products as an act of protest against animal exploitation, freegans—at least in theory—avoid buying anything as an act of protest against the food system in general. Freeganism is often presented as synonymous with "dumpster diving" for discarded food, although freegans are distinguished by their association with an anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist ideology and their engagement in a wider range of alternative living strategies, such as voluntary unemployment, squatting abandoned buildings, and "guerilla gardening" in unoccupied city parks.
This is certainly more extreme than a mainstream applicable form of freeganism. This article primarily deals with what might be termed "freegan-lite" or a less politicized version of freeganism which is compatible with vegan consumerism as a supplement vs. the more hard-core political freegan ideology which is full-time and extends beyond vegan issues.
While a radical anti-purchasing mindset could have environmental benefits in some cases (as negative waste; see the benefits in Zero Waste), doing this for all food and goods is probably not practicable for most people, and some associated practices like abstaining from gainful employment and theft may even be harmful (see criticism of extreme associated practices).
- 1 Production Reform
- 2 Distribution Reform
- 3 Consumer Reform & stopgaps
- 3.1 Reducing supermarket waste
- 3.2 Reducing Household waste
- 3.3 Foraging & Gleaning
- 3.4 Freecycling
- 3.5 Food banks and kitchens
- 3.6 Talking to food sellers
- 3.7 Dumpster Diving
- 3.8 Table surfing
- 3.9 Roadkill
- 4 Criticism
- 5 Activism
- 6 Alternative Perspectives
Products to support
- Most of the rest of the waste is at the retail level and that may sound like we don't really have much control there, we can't really influence that at all, but actually we have a great amount of control there as well.
- So let's start with what we know, what kind of food produces the most waste in general:
The top three food groups in terms of share of total value of food loss were meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent, $48 billion); vegetables (19 percent, $30 billion); and dairy products (17 percent, $27 billion).
- So meat is the worst right? Which means that just by going vegetarian, you are already helping a lot in terms of waste reduction and that's not just in terms of production of these things, which we already pretty much know is wasteful in and of itself, it's harmful to the environment, obviously harmful to animals, but also in terms of the supply chain, because these things go bad very quickly in the store.
- Next are veggies and dairy which are about the same, in terms of dairy obviously milk spoils and cheese moulds, in terms of veggies pretty obvious as well, I mean all of us I think have to go through sifting through the vegetables in the produce aisle right? The romaine or the broccoli or the fruit whatever it is trying to look for the stuff that isn't mouldy and gross, that's obvious waste at the retail level, so vegetarian very helpful obviously giving up meat, vegan even more so giving up meat and dairy, but you can still do more.
- Basing a diet around dried staples, things that do not spoil easily, beans and nuts and whole grains, this is the best thing that we can do to avoid waste as consumers at both at home and at the retail level. You know eating a fruit and greens diet, raw till 4, fully raw, eighty:ten:ten, high raw, whatever you want to call it, it's not only unhealthy for you but certainly less environmentally friendly unless you are growing all of your food yourself and composting everything which I’m willing to bet you're not.
Expanding supermarket standards
Gleaning is one way activists can build a relationship with farmers, to not spray and till up to the corner of their field to help hedgerow wildlife, and have pickers come and collect the goods for charity. Bringing awareness to supermarket and consumer practices discouraging 'wonky' veg.
Diversify food production
Domesticating and industrializing more wild edible plant species is a win win for our health, the soil and all animal life that is dependent on it.
Getting a public base excited about discovered foraged food and one day seeing it on supermarket shelves can form the basis for government funding or entirely donation run projects. It is simply a case of more research, experimentation and patience/local stability to see longterm projects through.
Some examples of opportunities are:
- Sea-Buckthorn, a vitamin and mineral super food, it's roots a sea wall stabilizer, which China manages on a mass scale with specially desined tractors and harvested, while in Europe it is mostly left to ecological volunteers to only slash and burn by hand to manage it's spread, with a few small start up harvesting attempts.
- The monkey puzzle tree, whose nuts yield the highest fat and protein of any plant grown per square meter, gathered by hand commercially in Brazil, but continually being reduced due to unrestricted logging.
- The miracle fruit that works as a healthy replacement for sugar, turning everything you eat sweet for around half an hour.
Expanding wild & semi-wild habitat
Supporting the growth of wild foods when managing wild spaces. Advertising and organizing foraging opportunities to bring tourist revenue into rural areas that encourage preserving and expanding wild habitat.
Homesteads, allotments & guerrilla gardening
Homesteading can range from growing nice ornamental plants that double as being edible like herbs and spices to growing almost all your own fruit and veg yourself.
Allotment clubs are great places to get to know your community and share skills.
Guerrilla Gardening involves growing food often on abandoned or untended to plots of land in order to create a vibrant display, encouraging more people to engage with their community, grow their own food, eat healthy and local foods.
Foraging nettles, building a compost toilet and dumpster diving food can all be done purely to enrich the soil for food growing.
- How we can eat our landscapes: Pam Warhurst at TEDxSheffield 2013
- Guerrilla gardening -- why people garden without boundaries: Richard Reynolds at TEDxItaewon
- A guerilla gardener in South Central LA | Ron Finley
Support local food schemes
For example, signing up for a veg box a year in advance that requires little fossil feul to transport, plus saves enormously on packaging and land that can be left uncultivated. Consider which producer is the most cost-effective way of averting ecological devastation, but don't feel obligated in the case of personal poverty where you need to improve your own situation first.
Field to street mass distribution movement
Food production abroad at lower wages can often mean local food going to waste and transportation which worsens climate change.
The potato movement in Greece is an example of cutting out the middle man in supermarkets until legislation can be reformed such as a carbon tax, worker rights and food transparency.
- Rushes from Greece -- Potato Movement
- Greece on the breadline: 'potato movement' links shoppers and farmers
Stocking and shelving practices
Axeing multi-buy offers, providing discounts on single-items, etc.
- Usually we wasted about 80 or 100 bananas every day and afterwards we put the sign on saying “take me I’m single” and then reduced the waste on bananas by 90%
Consumer Reform & stopgaps
The interest in stripping back and living as minimally as possible can be seen to be more synonymous with Zero Waste. However, Freeganism also concerns itself with how society's most abundant, most energy intensive products are poorly managed. In this way, Freeganism and Zero Waste have a similar consumer activist mindset that can mean taking steps to lead the way in changing consumer practices.
Reducing supermarket waste
- For perishables, buy reduced for quick sale items.
- Number three, when you do shop for produce and other perishables, try to buy the reduced for quick sell stuff and eat or prepare them quickly and remember that thorough cooking it usually sterilizes the food and resets the clock so to speak for spoilage, this can also be useful if you want to keep something longer.
- Seek out ugly, bruised produce that people are less willing to buy and packaged food closer to its sell-by date.
- Number four, if you cannot find quick sell items and are planning to prepare and eat the food soon, try to overcome the compulsion for freshness and buy something a little older, bruised or closer to its sell-by date, rather than as far away as possible. This helps reduce waste in the store, since many other consumers will avoid these products and they might have gone to waste. This is not Freeganism obviously, but it is a middle ground and every little bit can help.
Reducing Household waste
- 1: Focus on staple foods (dry beans, nuts, whole grains, etc.)
- So number one, eat mainly efficient, non-perishable staples like dry beans and whole grain products that you can prepare and eat within a couple of days. This virtually eliminates retail waste and waste during long-term storage in your kitchen number.
- 2: For perishables, plan ahead and store correctly.
- Number two, for prepared dishes and perishables like produce, buy or make only what you can eat before it goes bad, store carefully and keep of them eating leftovers and surveying your produce regularly and eating things before they go bad.
Waste that we can't avoid
- So what about the inevitable food waste like banana peels for instance, hopefully you aren't fine eating 30 bananas a day, but you may be eating a couple you know bananas a day, so obviously you have a banana peel that is inevitable waste.
- While the EPA recommends composting, they recommended both for food scraps and yard scraps and they have a helpful guide on how to do that as well.
- The basic idea is to keep it covered, so that animals don't get into it, but you also want it to get some air so that it can aerobically decompose, instead of giving off methane, cutting off air to the decomposing food like being buried deep in a landfill; this is what creates the emissions.
- You can buy compost bins and tumblers, the one that you just turn to move, you can buy those online, you can even make your own, there are even specially made ones for indoors, if you do not have outdoor space.
- A culture of effective microbes that you use to start up making Bokashi, a bit like sourdough in a way take a small amount of your culture, we add it some more of the amount, like the sourdough you add your sourdough starter to more flour and more water to expand that.
- With this it's a small culture which is collected leaf matter from a forest floor, which contains all the different microbes; lacto-bacillus, phototropic microbes. What you then do is put this in a jar seal the jar with; leaf matter, wood chip molasses, for a sugar source and rainwater or de-chlorinated water is the best breeding ground for these microbes to be effective.
- You would seal the jar, leave it for a month, after a month you’ve got a solid culture of effective microbes, which then you would add to more sawdust, more molasses, more water and then seal that. . . after that month the way of knowing that it's actually worked, when you open the jar you get some vinegary fermenting yeasty sort of sweet nice smell, pickled leaf matter, that's the smell of fermentation, which is the bacteria we’re after basically.
Foraging & Gleaning
Disclaimer: Have an easily identifiable plant or mushroom you're searching for with no known similar poisonous varieties you could misidentify it with. The best academics at the top of their field can still misidentify foraged material and have died from not taking proper precautions. Leave the general wild food books alone until you've been taken out in the field by experts and done a lot more studying.
Enjoyable leisure and study activity. A way to get involved with your community, making old orchards productive again, donating to food charities.
Also again in the case of gleaning, you're advocating to others the need for legislation forcing supermarkets changing their stocking and shelfing practices to not cause production waste.
Pick your own farms
Nice day out in the countryside picking fruit bushes, preserves green spaces and can save carbon footprint in transportation.
In large towns often an informal exchange of waste goes on with signs on sidewalks saying free stuff, the internet just allows this to reach a larger audience, often dumpster divers will take good finds home they don't need and put them online for others to benefit from.
Food banks and kitchens
From Food not Bombs FAQ:
Q5: What is the concept behind Food Not Bombs?
We recover food that would have been discarded and share it as a way of protesting war and poverty. With fifty cents of every U.S. federal tax dollar going to the military and forty percent of our food being discarded while so many people were struggling to feed their families that we could inspire the public to press for military spending to be redirected to human needs. We also reduce food waste and meet the direct need of our community by collecting discarded food, preparing vegan meals that we share with the hungry while providing literature about the need to change our society. Food Not Bombs also provides food to protesters and striking workers and organizes food relief after natural and political crisis.
Q7: By your current estimate, how many groups are there and how many countries have a practicing chapter of Food Not Bombs?Our website lists over 500 chapters, but we believe there are many groups that have not asked to be listed. We think there are over 1,000 chapters of Food Not Bombs active in over 60 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. We are active in nearly 500 cities in the United States and have groups in another 500 cities outside the United States. We have been told that there are over 60 groups in Russia but only have 15 listed. The same is true for many other countries.
Talking to food sellers
Building up a relationship with small shop bakers, butchers, market stall sellers. Establishing a set time to take food off their hands that would otherwise go in the trash.
The main hurdle is overcoming anxiety and shame associated with going out and practically checking dumpsters.
It's always going to be a mix of exploration, persistence and trial and error. You really have to just try everywhere and keep asking, checking outside on bin day to know it's a place wasting good food, even if you don't want to take and then building up a relationship with the staff. Local market stalls, butchers, festivals, hunting lodges even.
Making contact with street kitchens like food not bombs and charities, your local allotment and foraging groups to find other people with knowledge.
Watching YouTubers to familiarize yourself can help also:
- Ulta Dumpster Diving Haul | $2000+ of PRODUCT
- FOOD AND DISPLAY PHONES FOUND IN DUMPSTER!
- 2 Easy Ways to Get FREE Food for People, Pets & Compost. FREE – Organic, Healthy or Junk Food!
- Ridiculous Food Waste! Dumpster Dive Haul
Health & Safety
Disclaimer: Getting food from dumpsters isn’t the most sanitary thing you can do, so don’t do it if you are immunocompromised through youth, illness or old age, if you don’t want to risk infections, and are germ or pest phobic and/or nutritionally deficient.
Be careful when climbing in and out of dumpsters. You’ll need a bright head-torch to see what you’re doing, even better is to have a friend holding another torch to advise you where you’re not looking. Hard toed rubber boots, hard gloves to protect your hands and long protective trouser legs and sleeves to protect against sharp objects and residue on your skin, also make sure the jacket zips off in the middle so you’re not taking it off over your head.
Remove all exterior clothing before travelling home and shower straight away, alternatively removable car seat covers, trash sacks, or sheets of newspaper will protect your car seat. Clean plastic trash sacks are a good way to protect your finds while wading in the dumpster, transporting your haul home, and when containing messy boots or clothes. When biking, line your panniers or backpack with plastic bags.
You still need to check labels and use all 5 senses when deciding what to bring home. The most nutritious food is that picked and eaten or processed to be eaten on the same day it ripens (retting, processing and cooking to make those nutrients more accessible aside), when dumpster diving for food, you should expect most of the products you find to have declined somewhat in quality.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, food poisoning is twice as likely in restaurants than at home. There is some research on higher levels of cases of gastroenteritis among dumpster divers in the US, though it is not obvious how it is comparable to other activities.
Best trick in the book is to leave all your products submerged in a bucket of water with vinegar or diluted bleach overnight to soak which kills most aerobic bacteria. Anything bulging, bloated or smells funny leave behind.
The Dumpster Diving Code
Out of respect to other dumpster divers and the owner of the premises, there are a few simple rules you can adhere to keep everyone happy.
If you fail to adhere to the code, you risk having the owner of the dumpster lock the bin, pour bleach on the food or wait for you to return and shout at you for being a dirty hippie. None of that is fun, so read carefully.
Rule 1: Dumpster discretely
You don’t want to draw attention to yourself while you are dumpstering. People might get spooked and call the cops, or you might get shooed away. Keep noise to an absolute minimum. Speak with an inside voice, don’t throw things around and avoid knocking things over loudly. go during the cover of night if you can
Rule 2: Leave things better than how you found them
Dumpster diving can be messy, smelly business, but you’ve no right to go mess up someone’s garbage area. Avoid tearing bags open, tossing trash on the floor or leaving bags outside the dumpster. If you do need to tear the bags, make sure you tie them back up. Not only is it rude to leave an area messy, you might attract raccoons and other pests, creating a problem for the innocent dumpster owner. Breaking this rule is a huge motivation for owners to lock their dumpsters, preventing future generations of divers to benefit from the cornucopia of food.
Rule 3: Check the legal status in your country
Dumpster diving is legal in the United States and Canada except where prohibited by local regulation.
However, if a dumpster is against a building or inside a fenced enclosure marked “No Trespassing,” you could be questioned, ticketed or even arrested by the police. If the officer responding takes a particular dislike to you they may even try to ticket or arrest you for breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, two charges so abstract there is nothing you can really do but keep a calm conduct, just be aware.
What can you find while dumpster diving?
The focus of this page is on meeting your food needs mostly free and easily on a freegan-vegan diet, but just because you can find other products in dumpsters cheaply in thrift stores (and the back of!) or online classifieds, doesn’t mean you can’t also find almost anything and everything you need in dumpsters, including:
Clothing, furniture, electronics, building materials, books, pet food and supplies, and so much more…
What gear do you need to dumpster dive?
Dumpster diving is a messy business.Backpack, shopping trolley, bicycle & panniers, car or van.
You’ll want to ensure that you are well-equipped for the job so that the task is as pleasant as possible.
Long sleeve shirts and pants. I recommend that you equip yourself with a long sleeve shirt and pants. There is a risk that you might splash something nasty on yourself, and it’s better that it should end up on your clothing than your skin. What’s more, long sleeves and pants will protect you from any sharp objects and keep you warm.
A headlamp. If possible, you want to go dumpster diving during the cover of night to avoid detection and drawing attention to yourself. A headlamp is essential for freeing your hands for maximum flexibility and digging. Don’t assume the light of streetlamps will not be sufficient to give you the required visibility for optimum diving.
Thick gloves. You’ll want some gloves for protection and warmth. Getting your hands covered in trash water is unsettling, and also, will get your hands freezing, especially if you are dumpstering at night. Gloves will also protect you from sharp edges, glass and other dumpster hazards.
A face mask. This is optional, but helpful for novices. Even though a large portion of the food retrieved from dumpster is fresh, rot may have settled into a some. If you’ve got a strong sense of smell, a mask can help you stay strong in the light of unpleasant odors.
Close-toe shoes. Leave your dandy sandals at home. Get yourself a sturdy pair of shoes to take with you diving. This will help you jump and walk over the dumpster and its content.Bags. To take home your haul.
To help carry your enormous, delicious haul.A small box cutter knife or scissors.
Helpful for cutting into bags and boxes to view the insides.
You can purchase a plastic or metal universal skip key to go on a key chain for pennies/cents, which will open many (if not most) dumpsters. I’ve heard tails of freegans covertly bumping chain locks and replacing the broken link with an identical quick release link or practicing their picking technique on yale locks, as well as not so covertly, highly illegal, going to war with the management escalating to electric saws until they threw in the towel.
The Best Places to Dumpster Dive
Whilst you're still getting the lay of the land a good bike and set of paniers is fastest for nipping in out of lanes to see what grocery stores, restaurants, and food services are nearby and check their dumpsters when no one is outside. It may take a few days to learn when the trash pick-up day is and what time fresh food is dumped, so keep checking.
Corner stores are also excellent – these are smaller places and neither have the time or staff to effectively throw out food. If you live in a city, you’ll find a lot of success by going to downtown and checking behind and on the sides of small, corner grocery stores. Often, you can get a lot of good stuff by just skimming the top.
Remember, dumpster diving is a hunt. Don’t give up if the first few places you visit don’t have what you were looking for.For stores closely positioned to a street, you may need to walk down to an alley and turn into it. Many cities will have compost-only bins, typically colored in a shade of green. These are perfect. They separate the food away from the non-food items, making it easy to find the grub you seek.
When Should you go Diving?
When is just as important as where.
Try to time your dumpstering adventure close to garbage day in the area you are targeting. You can easily find this information on a municipality’s website.You can definitely find good stuff during other times, but if you want the biggest volume of things to choose from, go before or on garbage day (before the garbage is taken away, of course).
How to Pick Good Dumpster Food
In order to conserve energy and effort:
- Feel the outside of the bag to understand the shapes of things inside. Slightly lift the bag to get an idea of the weight. Are you feeling some boxy shapes? Is the bag lightweight? In this case, the bag may be full of empty containers and not worth the effort into opening it.
Look for multi-bag products in which one item was broken or bruised but the rest look okay.
Always have in mind how you plan to use it or preserve it quickly. A lot of just a few items can be good for preserving experiments.
A few important points about dates, those dreaded indicators of food lifespan:
Best Before Dates: In North America, these have nothing to do with the safety of the food in question. It is an estimate placed by manufacturers as to how much time a food will remain “fresh” – that is, retain it’s best flavor and texture. Even though many stores and people will dump food that has passed its “best before” date, this date should not dissuade you from recovering food.
Sell Before Dates: These are used by stores to keep track of inventory, and give an indication of when this food should be moved off the shelf, and to the dumpster. Oftentimes, these ‘sell by’ dates may be many days before the ‘best before’ dates.Use By Dates: These dates indicate a manufacturers estimate as too how many days a product will be safe to eat. These dates are somewhat significant. However, it’s not like a food will suddenly be edible one day before the “use by” date, and then magically become inedible the next. These dates are usually conservative for the sake of safety and as protection from litigation.
Trashwiki is the go to that every freegan uses for maps and information on big cities when they don't know their way around or have someone to show them. Helplful 'last checked' dates also.
Much like pre-owned materials, dumpster food face some illogical prejudices.
Nonetheless, food is routinely thrown out due to these reasons. It’s gotten to the point where 40% of all food created is sent to the landfill.A large portion of the food thrown away is not dangerous or inedible, much of it has no issues at all.
Research on freegans finds that individuals come from middle-class and upper-class backgrounds and have high levels of education (even if their present lifestyles make them low-income)."I am extremely embarrassed for people to see me diving, because I can tell that I’m not just me, I’m also a representation of black people in general...I got harassed by security several times while diving on my own campus, until my white friends pop their heads out of the dumpsters."
Disclaimer: Health risk of potentially swapping saliva and pathogens with unknown persons.
Stuck on a long ferry or train journey, waking up in a hotel, out at the movies or running in and out of a shopping mall and peckish for a bite, but cant justify buying poor quality food from buffets designed for over-consumption?
Do the rounds of an establishment looking for discarded food, or sit down with a book and keep an eye out for shifting tables to jump into as soon as vacated, to create a plate out of a groups left-overs.
Disclaimer: Check the legal status in your country. Don't stop or park dangerously on the side of the road. It's not recommended to eat roadkill you can't identify how it was killed, how long it's been lying on the side of the road or without experience how to field dress the meat. It should go without saying but aiming to hit animals in the road or placing food in the road to trap animals into getting hit is illegal and not freegan.
Almost 1.3 million deer are hit by vehicles each year in the US.. . . The practice of eating roadkill is legal, and even encouraged in some jurisdictions, while it is tightly controlled or restricted in other areas.
The safest would be to only pick up roadkill you saw get hit, which only glanced the head:
The point of impact determines how much meat is salvageable. My experience with broadside impacts are not good. Internal organs usually rupture and taint the meat. Not to mention all the bloodshot meat. As in hunting, a head shot saves meat.
But the rib cage can be fairly resistant if it was only hit in the upper body.
Follow the mnemonic: Don't eat Flat'n Furry Roadside Snacks Before Last Smell Check - Damage, Eyes, Flees and Flies, Rigor-Mortise, Skin, Blood, Law, Smell and Climate.
- Should You Eat Roadkill? 8 Important Rules to Consider First
- Identifying Edible Roadkill by the Woodlands
Like any other animal, just being sure to check for signs of sickness, internal injury and seepage.
Whilst still not great for you:
Wild animals, the primary constituent of roadkill, are usually lower in calories and saturated fat than domestic meat, while being higher in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and slightly lower in overall fat.
The "stealing is OK" mantra seems to be dying, probably because it's illegal and people don't want to promote that in the mainstream, but it's also ethically inconsistent (it hurts retail stores and consumers: the stores which have to restock benefiting the companies making that product because the retail store has to pay for spillage, and the consumers because most of the cost gets passed on to them as markup).
Even if you don't have any qualms with hurting businesses/consumers because you want death to the system, scams such as "Returns" (see below), is likely going to increase the chances of them locking up their dumpsters, destroying/tainting products that are thrown away, and/or switch to using a compactor, hurting your fellow dumpster divers. An important note considering there are homeless people who rely on salvaged food for survival.
Scams/Shoplifting – There are a slew of shady ways to score free food…always let your conscience be your guide!
Shoplifting – There is some debate over how freegan this really is because you are still creating an empty shelf that must be restocked, but it is more freegan than forking over big bucks. This is a more direct attack on the store selling the goods, not the producer (unless you hyper-boycott a product: pick something you can’t stand and consistently get it off the shelves, steal it, break it, hide it, just eliminate it and the store will eventually stop selling it) so you should consider if you are putting a ma & pa organic veggie stand out of business or just chipping away at a corporate giant.
Employee Theft – Some folks believe this to be more ethical than shoplifting because it is a trade-off: they steal your time and energy and you steal their food. If you work somewhere that sucks, hook yourself up, hook up your friends, hook up strangers, hook up your local FNB! I have heard tales of a kid who feeds a three-person household of his workplace acquisitions from the health food store. They eat damn good, too! You can also get the insider scoop and may be able to intercept food headed for the dumpster.Returns – Example: we just dove a bunch of jars of mayonnaise. We don’t want to eat it, so we return it to the store, say we bought it and couldn’t use it/don’t want it and trade it in for cash or good food or store credit. Some stores throw away anything that is returned that costs less than $50, so you can find expensive stuff, in a package, with a receipt!
See also: Refusal of work  Working less is another component of freeganism. Freegans oppose the notion of working for the sole purpose of accumulating material items. They claim that their need to work is reduced by only purchasing the basic necessities and acquiring the remainder for free from the garbage. According to freegans, not working frees up additional time for political action while avoiding tasks they see as sacrificing valuable time to "take orders from someone else, stress, boredom, monotony, and in many cases risks to physical and psychological well-being". As with squatting, however, the degree of concordance between freegan ideology and practices is variable. In surveys, self-described freegans vary from reporting working only irregularly, working consistently in social justice organizations, and being employed in more conventional, "capitalist" occupations.
There is an irony to frugal activists being better able to travel with the safety net of supermarket suburb dumpsters. We don’t want the fix to be that we carry on wasting at the rate we are, but that it gets burnt off in some slightly more environmentally friendly way. We want large food distributors to be legislated into giving away their produce to charity at the end of sale-by-date, plus all the remedies discussed so far.
Actions you can take as an individual or group
- Buy vegan food from relatively cheap, efficient and ecological local food schemes.
- Buy vegan food staples with long shelf longevity and rare plant foods for your own impact and also to make it more efficient to produce, therefore cheaper for others.
- Buy vegan food reaching peak ripeness that has been over-stocked and you’re sure you can plan to use it in a meal that day or the next.
- Buy/sell second hand, recycled or ecological supporting items. Plus give away/collect items for free to friends and on sites like freecycle, freeshops or really free markets.
- Forage and glean food on public paths or where there will be no perceptible difference to farmers (keep in mind safety advice in the section on foraging).
- Compost or feed to animals the organic waste you can’t avoid and build a compost toilet.
- For the adventurous, go dumpster diving, table surf or prepare roadkill (keep in mind the safety advice in each section).
Ways you can get organized
- Advocate to family, friends and acquaintances in your day to day and online. Watch street advocacy and epistemology videos for tips and tricks.
- Help organize a food not bombs stall for serving free delicious freegan food in public squares, gives a strong statement while inoffensively feeding food to the hungry, making for a perfect opportunity to advocate to the public.
- Take direct action that directly prevents animal cruelty like hunt sabbing, that at least gives the larger public a clear image of what we want to move away from and is a bonding experience for activists.
- Help organize a housing or workers co-op like a social centre, hotel, shop or gym with ecological commitments and incentives for people to be vegan or freegan.
- Petition/run for your local school board, council or party representative to fund and legislate to help remedy all these environmental issues.
- Help organize a veg box or field to street local food distribution network.
- Help organize/donate/fundraise to restore shrub land for use again e.g. overgrown apple orchards and hazel coppices. As well as manage land to encourage wild edible plants, reintroduce animal species and maintain diverse forests that would encourage tourism and local artisan industry.
- Talk to food sellers to put aside food they would otherwise throw away for yourself and others to collect on bin day.
- Map foraging and gleaning locations, plus organize events to go out and for example help each other shake apple trees and catch in nets.
- Guerrilla garden public spaces and abandon plots of land.
- Petition shops to use better stocking and shelving practices.
- Petition farmers to sow seeds once a year, but not to till or spray pesticide at the edge of their fields, to allow wildlife corridors in hedgerows. Build a relationship by organizing with the farmer to glean fields that could not be sold that year or paying for the right to pick grown or wild food at the edges of the field by hand.
- Petition/donate/fundraise for land to be opened up for allotment clubs.
- Document your experiences and create video, podcasts, articles, artwork, zines & books. Reach out to larger media outlets and/or have a way you can be contacted that's searchable online.
Those holding up a puritan dietary definition of veganism, where to be seen to be eating animal products is wrong because it's one part of the industrial process, even if that part is waste.
Carnists using it to stigmatize all interest in veganism as something degenerate.