May 26, 2006

A free Lunch (Yes, there is such a thing…)

Filed under: Environment — 4fooey @ 4:26 pm

Today I learnt of the activity of “freegans”; these are people who get primarily their food, but other necessities as well, from bins and skips. They are also known as “skip lickers”, which I think is a great name. In the BBC London area this phenomenon was covered in the Inside Out program: see Freegans. It’s amazing how resourceful some people are and I’m sure we’ll start to hear a lot more about these people. In fact, the people who do it are politically motivated: one such freegan said “[it is] a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations”. Others see it as countering the wastefulness in our society since according to research, more than 30 percent of the 17 million tonnes of waste that goes to landfill in Britain is food waste, and a quarter of that is reckoned to be perfectly edible.

In a similar vain, there’s a charity organisation called Fareshare, which delivers surplus food to the homeless and other vulnerable people in need, although they get the food from supermarkets, coffee/sandwich shops, and other retailers, and not bins (of course). Their spokeswoman said, “Last year we redistributed 2,000 tonnes of food — that helped provide 3.3 million meals and helped around 12,000 people.” So hats off to the Fareshare people, and also to the freegans who just seem to be reusing or reclaiming food & other stuff someone else has thrown away. (It’s interesting -?- that freeganism is very much a lifestyle choice for some people in the UK and US, but in other parts of the world scaveging off waste sites is an absolute necessity for millions of people.)


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