Freeganism – How can we do our part?

What is Freeganism? The Wikipedia definition says – Freeganism is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies 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.” The lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters that have passed, or in some cases haven’t even passed, their sell by date, but are still edible and nutritious. They salvage the food not because they are poor or homeless, but as a political statement.

There is much controversy over this issue of “dumpster diving” for food and the Freeganism way of life. One of the main concerns is the cleanliness of food that is dumped in a dumpster filled with germs. The second and third go together, the company is liable if someone gets hurt and the legality of salvaging food from a dumpster. In many states it is illegal.

What can we do to help? How can we stop perfectly good food from being wasted and thrown away? How can companies stop waste?

First lets look at an article from Donna L Montaldo about How much food does your family waste? In her article she states that an average family of four tosses out an average of $590 a year of food, wastes 14% of their food purchases and 15% of that waste is still within its expiration date.

1. has some real ways that we can make a difference, starting with our homes and branching out to the communities we live in and businesses that we work for.

2. Heifer International has some great ways that we can limit our waste.

As for stores – Stores pitch soft or over-ripe looking fruit instead of marking it down because they fear it will alienate shoppers, sending them to a competitor. There ought to be a way to donate the past-peak veggies and fruit to charity causes. Did you know forty three thousand tons of food is thrown out in the United States each day. Many stores and companies have established a composting operation.

The Students and Office of Community Service at NYU have developed a new initiative for delivering food to the needy. The initiative, named Two Birds, One Stone, will supply homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the area with leftover food from the dining halls that would otherwise be thrown away. And in Washington DC, DC Central Kitchen recycles over one ton of surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and turn it into 4,000 meals for the hungry. I am impressed by what I have found being done to cut down on waste but there still needs to be a lot more done.

What do you do in your homes, companies, businesses, to cut down on waste? Do you have tips, hacks or helps that we can implement into our lives? Please share your comments.

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