"--people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources." (www.freegan.info)
Some call them environmentalists, anarchists, socialists, or my personal favorite -- hippies. But, the new age technical term is "Freegan." No, I'm not making this up.
Freegan was derived from the words "free," meaning not subject to a charge or payment, and "vegan," meaning a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet. As the words denotes, it was derived from a so called "charity" group called Food Not Bombs, which served free vegan food that was salvaged from a dumpster.
On a side note, is it really "charity" to give food to another if it is just food you found in a dumpster? What have you really done, besides take the main source of sustenance from homeless people. And even if you give it back to them, you have taken away what little work they had to do in the first place.
Oh, and Freegan's don't stop at used food -- they find shirts, razors, shoes, underwear, anything but meat or animal by-products. I guess that would be too gross.
Freegans have taken conservation to a whole new level. Don't get me wrong, I like what they're thinking. Less waste is good, but is this really the method?
First and foremost, this is clearly not a safe or sanitary solution. The Freegan philosophy is that "if you cook it long enough the bacteria will die." Which reminds me of another old saying, "After the feast comes the reckoning." Let's just hope that reckoning isn't food poisoning.
Second, whether it be trash or my dresser drawer, I don't want people going through it. Some things are private and my trash is one of them.
Third, have we forgotten identity theft is at an all time high? And the primary method of this theft is through documents found by rummaging through your trash.
Ultimately, don't be surprised if you see a person you don't know, wearing your clothes, eating your sandwich, and spending your credit card.
I won't just complain about a phenomenon that clearly has good intentions without offering alternatives. This is the season for one of the best methods -- have a garage sale. This is an excellent way of reducing waste and you get to choose what strangers go through.
Second, plan your diet better. Not only will this reduce waste by having planned portions, but will also reduce body fat, a problem we Americans are very familiar with.
Third, practice the three R's: reduce, reuse, recycle. With a little planning we can all minimize waste without finding ourselves neck deep in the trash and E. coli.
Joel Harris is in his last year of law school in Tulsa, Okla. He can be contacted at email@example.com.