Freeganism is a new lifestyle that involves salvaging food bound for the rubbish bin. It proposes that we completely rethink our relationship with waste. Welcome to the freegans’ world!
It’s about 5pm. Two women are waiting in front of a Franprix grocery store branch in Paris, chatting all the while and keeping an eye on their little ones in their pushchairs. All of a sudden, the mini mart employees roll the big bins out into the street. The two mums, who are soon joined by others, “sort” and salvage food that’s been thrown out because it’s unsaleable (but still edible) because it has gone past its use-by date. “Hey, look, ham!”, “Oh yoghurts, my daughter loves them!”. There’s a friendly atmosphere, and a spirit of sharing… Welcome to freeganism, a lifestyle that is more or less part of the Clean Planet trend!
What on Earth is freeganism?
Freeganism is a compound word that’s a contraction of “free” and “veganism” (a lifestyle free of any products of animal origin). This new lifestyle gets us rethinking our relationship with purchases and waste. These two women might be freegans without knowing it. Because freegans don’t always sift through rubbish bins by necessity, but to combat food waste, among others. The freeganism movement is about salvaging food thrown out by big chains or foodservice facilities for personal consumption or for handing out to those in need. It’s the reason why various collectives exist, like Lyon-based Les Gars’pilleurs. Formed in 2013, its motto is “Nothing goes to waste, it all gets salvaged” (for further information, follow its Facebook page). Another example is “La brigade antigaspi&solidaire” @la_brigade_antigaspi_solidaire, on Instagram. As well as salvaging and handing out unsold items, these collectives want to prick the collective conscience.
Click here for further information: Freegan Info
Freeganism – going beyond food waste
Some robust initiatives to combat food waste are run in a more media-led way, not least the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, launched by the United Nations (on 29 September this year). To state the facts, every year in France alone, 10 million tonnes of food is “lost” if it is not salvaged from mass retail rubbish bins (2.3 million tonnes) or foodservice rubbish bins (1.5 million tonnes). All the more since, according to the French Ministry of Agriculture, 1.2 million tonnes of it are still edible.
The freegan.info site takes the concept even further: Freeganism is about shunning an economic system in which the pursuit of profitability has totally swept any ethical considerations away. So rather than avoiding buying goods from certain firms, which only takes the benefit of our business to others, let’s just avoid buying anything, to the greatest extent possible.
These militants condemn food waste and overconsumption. In turn, thanks to their “dumpster diving”, freegans can fill their fridges without going through the supermarket checkout. A way to counter our materialistic societies, capitalism and its excesses.
At first freeganism was centred around salvaging unsold food items, but these days it can extend to other areas, like the salvaging of other products bound for the tip, like furniture, clothes, etc… Moreover, we’re seeing micro-accounts pop up on Instagram shining a light on all that is salvaged right from the street, as an environmentally-responsible, militant act making for a cleaner planet. Accounts that advocate putting a stop to mass overconsumption:
A new way to take action to safeguard the planet.