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How to Be a Freegan

So you recycle your newspapers and plastics. Big deal. “Freegans” are trying to save the environment by living exclusively on stuff in your trash. Here’s how to join them.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Dumpster dive Learn to love dumpster diving – that is, literally climbing into dumpsters to forage for food and other goods. Just be discreet. Dumpster diving is illegal, and can lead to a fine.
  • TIP: Sometimes it pays to take a direct approach and ask a store or restaurant manager if you can be given the food being thrown out anyway.
  • Step 2: Learn how to forage Learn how to forage in your neighborhood for edible plants. Your local horticultural center or library can help you.
  • TIP: Whenever you have a particularly good food haul, share it with others so nothing goes to waste.
  • Step 3: Pick up furnishings Pick up house furnishings by cruising the streets on days that people are allowed to discard large items.
  • TIP: May is a good time to go through the garbage near universities because students are clearing out their dorms.
  • Step 4: Get rid of your car Get rid of your car – even if it’s a hybrid – and rely on walking, bike riding, skating, and hitchhiking for most of your transportation needs.
  • Step 5: Frequent thrift shops Frequent thrift shops for used clothes, appliances, and furniture.
  • Step 6: Become a squatter Find an abandoned building you can make your home. That’s what serious freegans do, even though squatting is illegal.
  • FACT: Nearly half of all food produced in the United States goes to waste, according to a University of Arizona study.

You Will Need

  • A willingness to get dirty
  • A tolerance for eating food from the garbage
  • A commitment never to buy anything new

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