Some consider it merely a philosophy of life and a way to reduce food losses, others as an opportunity for humanity. Freeganism, however, is still very niche. According to UNEP, 17% of food produced in the world is wasted. Can Freeganism remedy it? Or maybe there are other, less drastic ways to take care of our environment?
Excessive consumerism is a characteristic element of our time. We earn money, we buy, we throw it in the trash and then we buy again. However, there is a group of people – Freegans – who try to fight this closed cycle. The name of the whole movement was created in the USA in the 90s and it combines two words: free and veganism.
The first and perhaps the most important aspect of freeganism is leading an anti-consumerist lifestyle. Freegans are opposed to overproduction, which generates a lot of waste as a consequence. In Poland, so far freeganism is very niche.
Vegan vs. Freegan
Veganism is a lifestyle associated primarily with giving up eating animal products. Vegans often feel that they lead a completely ethical life by respecting animal rights, protesting against cruelty and caring for the environment.
However, this is not always entirely true. Not always vegan products are organic, fair trade or local. It happens that vegans look only through the prism of food, and at the same time decide to buy, for example, expensive leather shoes.
Freegans are a no-compromise community. Veganism is not enough for them, so they decided to lead an extremely ethical life.
Dumpster Diving is Not Enough
Freegans are usually associated with dumpster diving. Most often, however, this is not due to their financial situation. Waste bins, especially those belonging to grocery stores or restaurants, are often overcrowded with edible food, which, due to regulations and not always properly constructed food policy, cannot be allowed for sale anymore.
However, garbage cans are not the only source of food. Freegans often grow their own organic fruits and vegetables, but never buy them.
Moreover, the community believes that a roof over one’s head is not a human privilege but a human right, and therefore they are against the prevailing housing inequalities. They believe that meeting human needs is more important than private property, which is why they often occupy vacant spaces, organizing, among others, squats, shelters or places of artistic or cultural activity.
There are also less shocking assumptions in Freegan’s life, such as producing as little waste as possible, using collective or bicycle transport to minimize pollution, or repairing found items to reuse them.
What Besides Freeganism?
You don’t have to be a freegan to care for our planet and the environment. There are many less drastic ways. At the household or restaurant level, better shopping planning is enough to waste less food. Many Facebook groups or even applications have already been established for sharing food products that may go to waste.
It is also worth considering the partial abandonment of car journeys in order to reduce the emission of CO2 and harmful dusts.
Also at the stage of production, storage and sale, you can significantly reduce food waste, thanks to ensuring its appropriate storage conditions, which will extend its shelf life and minimize the amount of waste. But how to do it?
– The answer to this question may be modern technology, namely the use of a temperature and humidity monitoring system. Different products need slightly different environmental conditions. Loggers installed in rooms where goods are stored will allow for 24-hour monitoring of parameters. The system allows you to send alerts to managers in the event of significant changes. As a result, product losses at different stages of the supply chain are significantly reduced. – says Jérémy Laurens, CEO of Blulog, which provides modern temperature monitoring solutions.
Food waste is a pressing problem, so it’s worth using technology to help to reduce it. Such an investment is profitable both for entrepreneurs, thanks to low costs and minimized losses, and on a macro scale also for society and the environment.