What is Freeganomics?

Freeganomics is a made up term, merging the words freegan and economics.

At its most extreme Freeganism is an anti-consumerist movement. Freegans tend to be dumpster diving bicyclists.

Many people are offset by these extreme misrepresentations of quite intentional lifestyle choices. Choice aimed at the betterment of our environment and a focus on community.

“Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. They are people who practice strategies for everyday living based on sharing resources, minimizing the detrimental impact of our consumption, and reducing and recovering waste and independence from the profit-driven economy.”

(check out) Freegan Info

I was inspired to try being a freegan for about 3 months. My roommate and I were realizing we were poor college students who hated shopping and wanted to save money. We came across this freegan notion and embraced it fully.

What a concept! Using as little as possible, trying not to spend money, and combining resources. Now, our venture into freeganism was a modified version. We were not practicing vegans. We did pretty well with it all for about 2 months or so. We didn’t buy food and we drove our cars as little as possible.

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Once people heard what we were trying to do, consume less, they gave us their leftovers and excess food from their fridges. It was amazing how easy it was. My roommate even found perfectly good bread outside Vons. Ok, maybe a little stale, but abandoned all the same.

Now, many people confuse Freegans with Moochers, but I argue their difference. Moochers just want to get stuff for free, and might employ manipulation. My argument may be weak, but I’d like to say that the term “mooch” has a negative connotation, while “freegan” should have a positive meaning. Freegans are extremely aware of the waste around them and seek to be resourceful with what is wasted.

My trial period of studying freeganomics made me more aware of all that I consume and waste. It heightened my sensitivity towards what I make, buy, and throw away.  Eventhough I am not currently an active freegan (I do spend money on food) I am more inclined to shop at farmers markets and thrift exchange clothing stores.

I left the experience with a desire to live more frugally and spend less money on materialistic items and reuse what I have. It was an effective experiment as it made me step out of our consumerism-based culture and engage in a dialogue of why I was trying to not spend money.

I recommend you take a week or two and try being a freegan. I guarantee it will change the way you think about how you live your life and what defines your life.

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