The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

'Shopping' in the trash: who are freegans and what can be found in trash cans in the USA

'30.06.2021'

Source: Clever

Freegans are far from homeless, as you might think, but quite ordinary people. Just with a rather unusual attitude, says Clever.

Photo: Shutterstock

Ask any Russian what are the names of people who dig in trash cans, eat expired food, update their wardrobe with worn items, and you will hear the answer: homeless people, alcoholics, antisocial elements - those who, for whatever reason, ended up on the sidelines of life.

However, there is a whole movement in the world whose supporters are doing the same thing, but solely for ideological reasons. They are freegans. They are often compared to antiglobalists, with whom the Freegans are united in protest against transnational corporations, international trade organizations such as WHO.

One of the popularizers of this movement was Warren Ochs, the musician of the group Against Me !, who wrote the pamphlet "Why Freegan?", Which became a manifesto of the supporters of this subculture. Freegans completely deny the principles of modern consumer society. In their opinion, some in this society for the sake of profit are engaged in senseless overproduction of products, while others are ready to work day and night just to buy themselves another unnecessary thing. At the same time, quite good, still usable things and products are thrown into landfills and trash cans.

It is considered quite logical that freeganism originated in the United States of America - a country where the population is not as high as, for example, India or China, and the production of food and consumer goods has reached an unprecedented scale. Today this movement has gained the largest number of supporters in Brazil, Great Britain, South Korea, Sweden, Estonia.

Freegans practically do not visit stores - they get food in garbage containers located near supermarkets or densely populated multi-storey city blocks. At the same time, none of the lovers of discarded food is afraid for their health. Any experienced supporter of this movement knows where it is better and safer to get such food.

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As New York freegans explain, large chain stores often throw away not only expired food, but also those that sell poorly. As a rule, all products are in sealed packages, and, according to consumers of such food, there can be no question of any bacteria.

Today's popularizer of freeganism in the United States, Adam Weissman, explains that in America and in many developed European countries, it is more profitable for a store owner to send a box of fruits to a landfill than to hire someone to sort them. In such discarded boxes, the percentage of completely usable food is, according to statistics, from 30 to 50.

The main goal of the supporters of the freegan movement, Adam Weisman sees in minimization, and ideally in the complete rejection of the services of corporations. This, according to the adherent of freeganism, can stop the globalization of the world economy, and also helps to stay outside the society of uncontrolled consumption.

Similar ideas from lovers of landfills and garbage containers apply not only to food, but also to other goods and services most demanded by humans.

In landfills, as well as in points of free distribution of clothes, freegans pick up their own things. They find discarded bicycles, repair them and use them as a means of transportation. None of them will use a car. Firstly, because buying gasoline is enriching the oil tycoons, and secondly, the car pollutes the environment, which the freegans actively oppose. On this basis, they are often compared to "green". However, the Freegans distance themselves from them.

According to the professor of sociology at St. Lawrence University in Canton (New York) Bob Torres, the movement of "ideological seekers of free" gained popularity precisely in opposition to the "green" movement, which, according to the professor, failed. “Greens” simply don’t think about what colossal natural resources are required to satisfy their demands for environmentally friendly products.

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Abandoned houses are another object of increased attention of freegans. They occupy them and often live in them for a very long time. It happens that the owner discovers uninvited tenants and expels them, sometimes with the police. However, that doesn't scare away freebies. Freegans are looking for other abandoned housing, which no one is interested in for a long time. Living in such houses, "new settlers" use exclusively ecological fuel (firewood, coal), water is also taken from natural sources. They do not recognize the benefits of civilization in the form of centralized heating and water supply, both in terms of preserving the environment, and in terms of refusing to finance companies that supply resources.

Most of the movement's supporters prefer not to work at all. They claim that the commodity-money-commodity system has spoiled society so much that shopping centers have become a second home for many. Instead of spending time with children, teaching them, people go shopping on weekends with their families. In contrast, freegans, in the absence of work, volunteer, take part in social events, or learn something new with their children. They often arrange actions to exchange things, pieces of furniture, dishes, and any other belongings. In their families, practically nothing is thrown away - they try to give a second life to any thing, household item: to repair, restore. And if there is no need for them themselves, they give them over to other hands.

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Supporters of this movement have their own code of honor. So, none of its participants will rummage in garbage cans located in a private closed area. If a freegan finds documents or papers relating to a person's private life, he will never use them for any purpose. For safety reasons, no one will rummage through containers located near medical facilities. After completing the "survey" of the garbage storage site, the freegan will leave it in order, often even in a more decent form than it was before. This, for reasons of supporters of the movement, makes it easier for those “colleagues” who will come later. In addition, the owners of garbage dumping sites are more favorable to such visitors and do not drive them away for nothing.

The movement is gaining more and more supporters not only among ordinary citizens. So, in France, a new law appeared, called the Macron law. According to him, grocery stores, the area of ​​which exceeds four hundred square meters, are obliged to donate non-expired, but withdrawn from sale food products to people in need or to charitable organizations.

In fairness, it should be added that in some states of the United States it is forbidden to rummage in garbage dumps to extract food and things from there. Society is often simply shocked by such behavior of freegans and, with the help of laws, tries to fence itself off from such people.

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