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Can Freegans Buy Bamboo?

Freeganism, a philosophy of living that first appeared in the 90s, combines the vegan and anti-capitalist lifestyle, seeing the meat industry and capitalism as closely interwoven. Freegans are also firm environmental warriors—a fact that stems from common knowledge that the meat industry is responsible for almost 60% of all greenhouse gasses from food production. The freegan lifestyle is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It is quite an adventurous way of life that can involve avoiding working for money (or forming part of the capitalist system), shopping, paying rent, and buying clothes. If you are interested in aspects of freeganism but you also enjoy shopping for sustainable items like bamboo, can you still form part of the movement?

Freeganism and Dumpster Diving

Some freegans aim to obtain all their necessities directly from the dumpster. It is actually totally legal to take trash once it has been placed in the dumpster. Dumpster diving per se is not illegal, so long as it is done respectfully and in accordance with local ordinances. The truth is that dumpster diving has its upsides. In the U.S., around 108 billion pounds of food are wasted every year. Many people buy much more than they need, do not take notice of expiration dates, and do not plan weekly meals to the precision required to avoid wastage. Freegans across the globe will tell you they feed on healthy ingredients that are not expired or dirty. Most items have not even been taken from their packaging, which is intact. They also look for additional items such as tools, toys, clothing, and the like.

Freeganism Can Be Less Extreme

If you are attracted by the idea of cycling to work, sharing unused food items with neighbors, or sharing accommodation with others to reduce expenditure, then know that these are very much compatible with the freegan way of thinking. Not all freegans simply “live off the land.” Many work as volunteers or opt for jobs in environmental protection, sustainable fashion and manufacture, sustainable transport, and more. 

Making Wise Purchases

If you love the feel of bamboo fabric on your skin, you wouldn’t dream of brushing your teeth with anything other than your favorite bamboo charcoal toothbrush, or you love brushing your hair with your bamboo brush, know that the freegans you meet will probably be very in tune with your interests. The truth is that as hard as one tries, it is almost impossible to exist in a fully “free” way. That is, there may be times when freegans do not find the clothing, shoes, or grooming products they need to stay healthy. In these cases, opting for accessories, cutlery, clothing, and more items in sustainable materials like bamboo makes much greater sense than sourcing these items from big, unsustainable fashion stores.

Freeganism is a fascinating movement that seeks to cure the world of many of its ills. Freegans believe in animal welfare, environmental responsibility, and zero consumerism. Of course, many do see a necessity to work. However, they try to make their choices align as closely as possible with their philosophy and they aim to work, live, and dress sustainably.

Photo by zoo_monkey on Unsplash.