Freegans, genious or idiotic?

I’m going with Idiotic.  Apparently there are a group of folks who call themselves Freegans and they go rifling around through trash at night for free stuff.  Immediately I hear Arrested Development’s song “Mr. Windle” but in that case Mr. Windle, we’re told, was a bum.  These folks are not.  I’m just like any other bargain shopper, especially since my clothing discount no longer exists.  If I had a car I’d travel around the UWS and UES for an amazing mirror or dresser.  I walked through SoHo and to my apartment in BedStuy 5 years ago with a giant poster on poster board that was taller than me and wider than my armspan.  I’m all about a good deal but food?

Yes, Food.  As you know I work for a grocer here in NYC and the Freegans are out every night picking from our trash to find anything from wilted flowers (totally get that) to meat and cheese (no!!)  If it were winter in New York and the trash frozen over I might understand but it’s 90 degrees at midnight and the food that we dispose only goes on the street after hours, which means it’s been sitting in the trash, inside, warm all day just for these people to pick it out and take it home to eat or feed family and friends?

I’m not trying to pass judgement, although I very clearly am but it’s not coming from an entitled place but a place of sincere concern.  I mean, you would purchase expired cheese, meat, milk, or eggs so surely fishing it from the trash isn’t an ideal situation.  Yet, every night as I leave the store exhausted and tired the same group of people, in cars or on bikes, are there opening up the giant black trash bags, digging around until they produce anything from a carton of eggs to peaches.  Any thoughts, readers?  Would you be a freegan?

8 thoughts on “Freegans, genious or idiotic?

  1. agree – idiotic
    I saw a few docs about them. some of these people are okay financially – maybe because they don’t spend money on food.
    Imagine your grocery bill completely elliminated? We are both NYers …so you know the price of organic/regular grub!

  2. I’d like to eliminate my grocer bill just as much as the next person but man-o-man, I would never dream of eating meat, cheese, or dairy from the trash. Okay, I wouldn’t eat ANYTHING from the trash that wasn’t my own.

  3. ewww. I would never either.
    there’s gotta be some sort of satisfaction when “hunting” garbage pales. perhaps finding the perfect piece of NY serloin steak.
    I keep thinking of the story “treasure island”. ahhh treasure to their stomachs.
    i am officially grossed out.

  4. Ha ha, I’m totally on the other end of that one. I’m starting university after my year off and one of the things I really want to do is find some crazy radical people to do stuff like this with. From a health point of view I understand other’s concern, but in a society where picking up a penny is ‘beneath us’, it’s awesome that there are poeple out there who realize that what we call ‘garbage’ is often nowhere near.

    • Explain yourself!!! I mean, furniture, posters, maybe even a lamp I’m all over that but FOOD?! You’re not concerned about getting food-borne diseases or just a plain old tummy ache??

  5. I can’t do much explaining seeing as I haven’t yet tried it, but I have a couple of reasons for wanting to. I prefer searching for unique finds in vintage or antique shops then the shops that are highly saturated in popularity, and I think from an exploration perspective, it would be quite fun to do the same in respect to food. In France all of the bread is cooked in the morning and tossed in the evening and although a bit hard or dry it is perfectly fine to eat, and I don’t see why there wouldn’t be the same possibilities in a large container of wrapped food.
    I was e-mailed a list of ways in which to “maintain a healthy level of insanity”, and this wasn’t one of them 😛 but I think there are a lot of things that people are automatically averse to instead of thinking, you know what I’ll try it – what could it hurt in the long run?

    • I love that you’re willing to be my guinea pig, of sorts, Alanna! I totally agree with you about the “hunt” but as a fashion retail girl for the past 10 years it’s hard for me because I was always surrounded with new products from furniture to clothing to shoes to accessories to fragrances. My girlfriend, on the other hand, has showed me the glory that is the “hunt” That’ s not to say that I never thrifted before. I have some A-Mazing vintage threads that sparked envy from my peers but especially in NYC, depending on where you hunt, you could wind up paying as much for a garment if it were new.

      We’re currently trying to find new furniture for Mirs and my instinct is always “let’s go to Ikea!” because it’s cheap (ish) and while we’re not home owners why not.!

      I’m excited to hear about your adventures in food “hunting” 🙂

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