February 29, 2012

Dumpster Diving

Have you ever heard of stigma? The dictionary defines it as "A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person." Vehicle dwellers are just one of many groups that get stigmatized in society for the choices we make, but remember that those choices were to give us a better a more fulfilling life. This prelude was to prepare you for a really interesting article I just read about a new trend in America.
"Have you ever thought about getting your food out of a trash can?  Don't laugh.  Dumpster diving has become a hot new trend in America.  In fact, dumpster divers even have a trendy new name.  They call themselves "freegans", and as the economy crumbles their numbers are multiplying.  Many freegans consider dumpster diving to be a great way to save money on groceries.  Others do it because they want to live more simply.  Freegans that are concerned about the environment view dumpster diving as a great way to "recycle" and other politically-minded freegans consider dumpster diving to be a form of political protest.  But whatever you want to call it, the reality is that thousands upon thousands of Americans will break out their boots, rubber gloves and flashlights and will be jumping into dumpsters looking for food once again tonight."
To read the rest of the article go to The Economic Collapse Blog (I know, scary name). I personally know a few dumpster divers. They aren't homeless or even particularly broke, they just find that this lifestyle works for them. I'm not sure that I'm able to overcome the stigma attached to dumpster diving (hey, I'm a work in progress!) but it's an interesting concept that makes a lot of sense. As a former member of the food service industry I can tell you we threw away a lot of food which, for legal reasons, we couldn't donate (and when I say "legal reasons" I mean that no one wanted to get sued for poisoning people).

As for economic collapse, I stand right between Marx (who believed that it would take a series of financial disasters to move beyond capitalism) and Weber (who believed that whatever came after capitalism would be just as bad and have the same problems). I like to think of it as "guarded optimism".


  1. I think I would rather become like David the Wwoofer first, but you do make it sound attractive to become a freegan.

    Socialism is great. Lenin said in front of the duma in his last speach, Comrades we can never all become equally rich, BUT we can all become equally poor !!

    1. I always liked "Any cook should be able to run the country.":)

  2. Back when I lived in an unfurnished apartment, I went dumpster diving all the time. However, never for food. I just dove in the dumpsters to furnish my apartment. When I moved in, I slept on the floor with my comforter and had one lamp :) By the time I moved out a few years later, I had beyond plenty of furniture. (Free Craigslist items and Freecycle also contributed)

    I don't think I could ever go as far as eating out of a dumpster though. MAYBE if I saw someone throw something away that was wrapped and covered, AND lay right on the top.

  3. Nice website. I picked up quite a lot. I hope to check back on your upcoming updates. Keep up the great work.


  4. nice idea..thanks for sharing....


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