Bring It On!

An Answer To The High Costs Of Energy: Just Go Freegan

July 2nd, 2008 | by Ken Grandlund |

(photo from, courtesy of

 They eat from dumpsters. The shun regular employment. They live in abandoned dwellings. You might think of them as “bums.” They prefer to be known as Freegans. And their ranks may well be growing.

 Dubbed “strategies for a sustainable life beyond capitalism,” the Freegans may well be on to something. In a society as wasteful as modern humanity has become, these “urban foragers” often come back from a night of “product reclamation” with some quality used items. From furniture to electronics to household cleaning products, Freegans are making the point that rampant consumerism fuels not only greed but waste too. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

Free food, even if it has spent a long hot day at the bottom of a dumpster, is the key to Freegan survival. Essentially vegetarians, Freegans relish in the waste of restaurants and retail grocers, creating feasts and sharing the goods with anyone who dares come along.

Free housing, even if it means living with the roaches and rats in an abandoned husk of a home, is a component of the Freegan lifestyle. Their solution to homelessness is to ignore the “No Trespassing” signs because shelter is a right, not a privilege.

Planned joblessness, because working to pay the man becomes less important if you don’t actually have to buy your stuff or pay your rent. And because having a steady job also means you are contributing to the over-production and over-consumption problems of the modern world.

Being Freegan means taking a stand against the environmental destruction caused by mass human consumption. It means working outside the system to bring attention to the problems of the system. It means….well to most of America, it means being a “bum.”


Our whole modern world is based on cheap oil. Once the cheap oil is gone there is a serious concern that whole economies may collapse. Certainly when the supply of easily obtainable oil reaches the point of diminishing returns, much of what we take for granted will no longer be available-from plastics to abundant crops to mass transportation. If humanity can’t create a viable substitute for a world run on oil, and soon, well then we all may become Freegans-whether we like it or not.

Dumpster diving anyone?

(cross posted on Common Sense)

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  1. 10 Responses to “An Answer To The High Costs Of Energy: Just Go Freegan”

  2. By Mateo Giovanni on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

    These are definitely the survivors!! From what I can tell she looks like she is in good health. Good for her. Now if we can only let others know how to be Self Sufficient!!

    Peace and Freedom

  3. By rube cretin on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

    excellent post. fortunately i have not become one yet and hope such a life style is not in my future. I am well aware of the practice, since I am frequently referred too as Fred Samford, by many friends and family. I have assisted in helping furnish more that a few Habitat homes from furniture thrown away by decedent students in my town who just throw perfectly good furniture to the curb. I predict this life style will get pretty tough in the future when the economy gets tighter and folks stop throwing valuable food away. But then the practice has gone on since the days of the bible where somewhere it mentioned some practice whereby the poor were allowed into the fields after the crops had been harvested. What was it called? Gleaning? Be interesting to watch this lifestyle.

  4. By Tom Harper on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

    These lazy bums are a threat to everything America stands for: blatant consumerism, maximum energy usage and keeping up with the Joneses :)

    I think this is a positive trend and it’ll only get more common. I had an in-law (now deceased) who was homeless in San Francisco a few years ago. He said there was excellent seafood from those Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants — either from the dumpsters or when a restaurant is closing and they’re just about to throw away whatever didn’t get served.

    The Archie Bunkers among us will rant about bums and “why doesn’t he get a job,” but everyone who lives this lifestyle is somebody who isn’t contributing to the energy crisis, pollution, waste, and the plastic values that have gotten us into this fix.

  5. By steve on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

    Yeah… praising the lifestyle from a computer… BRAVO!!

  6. By Lisa on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

    . I had an in-law (now deceased) who was homeless in San Francisco a few years ago

    Tom you didn’t take this person in?

  7. By Tom Harper on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply


    Actually, this person (my wife’s brother) lived with us off and on for several years. We bailed him out of his self-created catastrophes more times than I care to remember.

  8. By Dusty on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

    What an interesting concept. Thanks for posting about it Ken. I think it would be a hard life, but evidently not with all that this nation tosses in the trash heaps.

  9. By Lisa on Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

    What a shame to see a family member do that to themselves Tom.

    I do have a comment though without captalism there would be no waste for the freegans to gather up. If we were all freegans we could very well see a society similar to Mad Max.

  10. By rube cretin on Jul 3, 2008 | Reply

    very good example of getting to the non-discretionary side of the economy”. Its beginning to happen, just ain’t equally distributed yet. Give it time. No one could give me the word for this activity in the ancient world. Guess i’ll just have to go to the scripture.

  11. By rube cretin on Jul 3, 2008 | Reply

    gleaning- to gather grain or other produce left by reapers

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