Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
I have to admit I never heard of Freegan, though most of us practise it in part when we hit garage sales.
Freegans, are "Hard Core Environmentalists", unlike the rest of us who practise recycling, hybrid cars and other "Big Picture Environmentalism" preached by the likes of Dr. David Suzuki or the Al Gores' of this world.
Freegans hate to see anything go to waste, preferring used over new and day old over fresh.
My girlfriend calls me a packrat, whereby I rarely throw anything out, because I am sure once I toss it, one day I will need it. I have a 68 Camaro SS "Steering Wheel" in the garage, hoping one day I will find the rest of the car somewhere out in someone's trash for me to tow away.
So now I can say to her "I am a Freegan" of sorts.
I do give my previously enjoyed magazines to the seniors home across the street, National Geographics, Time Mags, etc.
Some Freegans though, are not as radical as other splinter groups of "Hard Core" Freegans who actually Dumpster Dive for "Ready to Eat" supermarket produce which is past it's expiry date and taking it home to eat, with the mouldy produce to go straight into their Compost.
I would state that one may be taking a chance on dumpster diving for expired produce to eat, where if not careful, certain hosts of bacteria and other organisms left in these expired foods may place you in the Status of the Ultimate Freegan", when you yourself become "Compost" at the local cemetary.
To me that is taking "Environmentalism to the Extreme!"
Gerard Daechsel picks through a bag and produces a container of blueberries, a couple of limes -- one that's clearly gone bad -- and an orange.
These goods came from the supermarket, but were then tossed in the garbage.
And that's where Daechsel picked them up. He'll put the edible fruit in his fridge and toss the mouldy ones into the compost pile in his backyard.
The 74-year-old said he's been "salvaging" miscellaneous items -- mostly other people's trash -- for most of his life. It's only recently that his lifestyle has acquired a name as part of a growing environmental movement: Freeganism.
Freegan is a blend of free and vegan, even though some freegans, like Daechsel, eat meat because they'd rather not see it go to waste.
Foraging through supermarket trash for food, exchanging goods in what they call free markets -- where absolutely no money is traded -- and choosing to cycle or hitchhike as a way of getting around, these are all political statements freegans make in an attempt to curtail their participation in the conventional economy.