How Radical is Freeganism?
The world knows many patterns of eco-friendly and cruelty-life. Vegans, vegetarians, freegans, zero-wasters, and many other people live their lives in different ways but they all have one thing in common: they’re aimed at waste reduction and cruelty-free life.
Our consumption habits create numerous problems for our planet such as unregulated resource waste, CO2 emissions, plastic pollution, and mass cruelty towards animals. All vegan-aimed movements and lifestyles help to reduce the environmental impact of our consumption. But one certain lifestyle surpasses all other environmentally-sustainable life patterns.
What is freeganism?
This lifestyle is freeganism. Freeganism is a lifestyle pattern that is aimed at the consumption of spare and unused products that otherwise would have been at the dump.
Freegans are people who prefer to gather and find food in dumps, trash bins, and garbage cans rather than buy it in the supermarkets. Such a lifestyle allows people to utilize leftovers of global food production.
The West world’s consumption model isn’t able to use and sell all produced goods so anyway a significant part of them is thrown away. That means that enormous amounts of good and safe products are wasted in vain.
The food industry consumes an unimaginable amount of resources to produce, pack, and deliver food to the final consumer. The fact that this food will be dumped only because of low demand or corporation’s greed resents many vegans around the world.
Ideological freegans reject buying food products in stores
Dumps and garbage bins are their livelihoods. No doubt that such an approach is radical and non-habitual to most people. Although there are a lot of homeless and poor people who are forced to seek food on the outskirts of supermarkets and residential buildings, the majority of people would be surprised to find out that middle-class and well-off people choose to dig through the dumps to escape starvation.
But it’s not about money-saving or personal gain. Freegans are deeply concerned about the current state of our planet. Earth’s resources are spent two times quicker than are recovered and the meat and dairy industry consumes enormous amounts of resources. Earth’s resources are limited and sooner we will realize that, is better. Freegans don’t sort spoiled food products or leftovers from someone’s table.
Supermarkets often throw away whole containers and boxes of good and safe products such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and cheese. Freegans, unlike vegans, sometimes consume thrown away animal products. It goes against the whole veganism ideology but these products are already dumped and would end in the landfill eventually so freegans don’t see any difference between the consumption of dumped apples and dumped pieces of cheese.
Some would say that freeganism is dangerous because someone can be poisoned by expired food. The truth is that supermarkets often throw away fully eatable products. To figure it out it is necessary to know that all food products differ in two rates: expiration date and shelf life.
Products with expired shelf life are thrown away because after this date they lose their aesthetic properties such as smell, form, color, and others. These products are edible and are thrown away only because supermarkets don’t want to sell unpleasant to eye products which could damage their reputation and lower the profits.
Another rate is the expiration date. This rate shows whether you can or can’t eat this product. Products with exceeded life expectancy cannot be consumed. But such products are rare guests in garbage bins or even in landfills.
Freegans, hobos, or just poor people gather food with expired shelf life very fast helping to utilize spare food products.
Consumption habits and food preferences
Today’s food corporations have unlimited power over people just because of one simple thing – humans would always want to eat. Marketing companies, promotion, and large-scale studies of people’s consumption habits have allowed food corporations to develop a special strategy of food distribution that attracts and lures people into a never-ending circle of consumption.
Exactly food companies create our consumption habits and food preferences. People got stuck in this vicious circle and food corporations do their best to not let anyone out. Food corporations precisely know how much money we spend on the food and how much we will spend the next week or in the next quarter.
Such cognizance allows food companies to distribute and introduce new food products at the right time to provoke maximum demand and purchasing power from the side of customers.
Since food corporations are interested only in getting maximum profits, big amounts of good and edible food products are being dumped. For example, in the West World nearly forty percent of all food products are wasted. Food production in Russia dumps away around forty percent of all produced food products because of bad logistics, overproducing, and price regulations.
Households of Europe and America waste from twenty to forty percent of all bought products. Such wastage is an irresponsible deed but it gives freegans and people in need fertile ground.
How to prevent irrational waste?
It must be remembered that freegans aren’t hobos or they enjoy dumpster-diving. Freegans are only deeply concerned about the scale of overconsumption and overproducing which exhausts our planet causing a tremendous environmental crisis.
As it had been said, the food industry requires enormous amounts of irreplaceable natural resources such as water, fossil fuels, wildlands, timber, and crops. The meat and dairy industry uses much bigger amounts of resources to produce less food than plant-based industries do.
For example, the same amount of resources that are used to produce half a kilo of beef can be used to produce twenty-five kilos of soybeans or other plant products. Despite that, animal products go straight to the dump side by side with grains, dairy, crops, sweets, and many other food products.
So it’s not a surprise that freegans want to utilize and prevent irrational waste. Thus meat and dairy consumption doesn’t meet vegan ideology, freegans are not above the use of such products as food.
There’re many ways how freegans can gather food. He can do dumpster-diving, watch when the supermarket’s employees will throw away the garbage. Also, freegan can make a deal with local farmers and sellers to pick up the leftovers from the day’s sales. Some food stores leave unrealized food outside so every willing person can pick whatever he wants.
Freeganism may look radical and diminishing for most people but still, it is an efficient way to reduce wastage. Many organizations and actions were taken to aware society of the problem of overproducing and irresponsible consumption.