When both my mother and my mother-in-law called me within a few minutes of each other and asked if I was watching Oprah, I knew I had better turn on my TV.
The topic of the first half of the show? Living the "freegan" lifestyle.
At the beginning of the show, we saw hordes of people going through trash in New York City to salvage food from groceries and bakeries that have been tossed. They salvaged fresh fruit, bagels, dairy products, canned goods, and nonperishable boxed items to take home and use.
Next, we met a newlywed couple has a closet full of cereal, a bunch of shampoo, an ab roller machine, a desk, and so much more, all from their dumpster-diving trips they regularly take.
They definitely have the money to buy these things, but they want to prevent perfectly good, usable items from going to landfills. Also important to them: They want to decrease their overall product consumption.
One guest made a great point: The more you work, the more you consume. But if you consume less, you’ll be able to work less and still live a great lifestyle.
Instead of spending their paychecks on buying a bunch of things they don’t really need, the newlyweds choose to donate their money to charitable causes, and also to pay off their mortgage.
So what do you think about dumpster-diving?
I’m not comfortable with going through trash for food. It bothers me that there is so much that’s going to waste, but we don’t know why the food was tossed, for sure. Maybe an item was recalled. Maybe a frozen item accidentally thawed within the grocery, and they had to throw it out. Maybe something spilled all over a box of items. Or maybe, most of it is perfectly good for human consumption.
I don’t know. And I don’t think that I’m willing to take that risk.
Instead, I’d rather see restaurants and groceries be more responsible with their waste. Why not put things on super-clearance? That way, we know the food hasn’t been in the trash, at least. Or, arrange for items to be sent to homeless shelters.
As far as furniture and household goods, I say go for it!
Furniture can be found outside of apartment dumpsters all the time. When I was in college, these places were a goldmine at semester’s end.
I found a really nice TV stand, bookshelves, and more sitting on the outside of a dumpster. I don’t think I’d want to climb into a trash can–I’m afraid I’d fall and hurt myself, or get cut on glass, or find some rodents.
Have you found anything great via dumpster diving? Would you consider trying it in the future?