In fact, Lisa Ling has a great post on freeganism, waste and where the US fits into all of this.
For the uninitiated, what is a freegan?
This growing grassroots subculture is made of people who have decided to live outside consumer society. Freegans say our culture’s emphasis on buying the newest products—and throwing away perfectly fine older things—is a waste of the world’s resources. Instead, they focus on buying less and use only what they need. One of the main ways freegans do this is by salvaging food and other goods from the trash.
Certainly, Oprah’s audience is massive, so exposing the truth to this influential part of the population should have an effect. But will it be as big as we can expect?
The startling fact is that the US makes up roughly 20% of the world’s population, but we use somewhere around 50% of the resources.
Couple that with the estimate that stores throw out 30 billion dollars worth of food very year.
I’ve seen different numbers attached to these statistics, but the point is the same: we are a consumer-focused society that is so blinded to our consumption and waste that these figures are allowed to happen.
As a social evolution, freeganism makes complete sense. Is it any wonder that we will find use for using wasted products? Isn’t that what recycling is supposed to accomplish?
What if we directed these ‘found assets’ in ways that could solve enormous-scale problems like hunger, homelessness, poverty? Even just a little? The mind boggles.
Bottom line: does anyone feel that there is anything wrong with freeganism?
As Lisa Ling closes her post, so will I:
If people start doing things individually to change their lifestyle and behavior, the cumulative effect could be enormous.
For an interesting freegan-in-action perspective, check out this blog from Newsweek writer, Raina Kelley aka ‘Freegan Girl’.