Yesterday’s SHTFnews post focused a lot on the economy, inflation, and such, as it should given our current economic environment. Prices just keep on climbing. Today I’m focusing not on the doom and the gloom, but on the hope and aspirations. Call it a mixture of economic realities and survival preparedness, but this post sort of builds off a post a wrote a while ago entitled Dumpster Diving for Food. You see, not only do I bring you SHTFnews headlines, humor, and total TEOTWAWKI insanity, but I also look for ways that you survival and aspiring survival ninjas can improve your preparedness skills. I present new ways of thinking about survival . . . or I just rehash old methods with a fresh perspective and flamboyant language. Either way, what a service you get! 😉
There’s a movement that’s largely centered within the ultra-liberal, let’s all forget soap and live close to the Earth hippie groups (a stereo-type, I know, but play along). It’s called freeganism, kinda like organism only without the “o-r” and with the “free”.
What is this freeganism?” Good question – read the following, straight from freegan.info:
Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able.
It could be viewed as an ultra-liberal movement to buck the capitalist economy, score stuff for free, and live the vegan lifestyle. Yep, they’re vegans, hence the “freegans”. “But Ranger Man,” you say. “C’mon, enough hippie stuff, give us guns and mayhem.” Ease up SHTFblog readers. I love a bloody red steak, too, but lets not discount some of the wisdom held in this movement. Specifically, check this action:
Perhaps the most notorious freegan strategy is what is commonly called “urban foraging” or “dumpster diving”. This technique involves rummaging through the garbage of retailers, residences, offices, and other facilities for useful goods. Despite our society’s stereotypes about garbage, the goods recovered by freegans are safe, usable, clean, and in perfect or near-perfect condition, a symptom of a throwaway culture that encourages us to constantly replace our older goods with newer ones, and where retailers plan high-volume product disposal as part of their economic model. Some urban foragers go at it alone, others dive in groups, but we always share the discoveries openly with one another and with anyone along the way who wants them.
See! I was getting there, you just had to give me a second. These liberal survival ninjas know a thing or two about finding stuff WTSHTF. Inflation got you down? Nothing beats free. Their work offers a wide range of ideas that we may find useful. They hit sites like freecycle.org. They check the local sections of Craigslist for all kinds of free crap. They share tools, equipment, and whatever else. For example, why does every home owner on your street need to own a lawn mower? Share ONE. Of course, freegans wouldn’t mow their lawns, but it’s just an example. Gas prices emptying your wallet? Freegans hop trains, walk, skate, bike, and hitch rides – holy hippie action! When they do drive rides they prefer bio-diesel action. Some of them intentionally work less and just plain stop working altogether, kinda like Creekmore changing his lifestyle. Freegans, by reducing their need to BUY things, they also reduce their need to earn money, and thus work.
You can also score crap for free, hard items like lumber, clothing, etc. A few trips to your local transfer station or dump may yield all the lumber you’d need for a chicken coup or even a home addition. Hell, I’ve seen news stories on people that have built their ENTIRE house out of FREE stuff from the local dump. These weren’t dump houses, either, just the opposite, they’re usually artists that turn the entire construction event into a work of art and make exceptionally beautiful homes with ornate woodwork. Pretty cool, actually.
If you choose this lifestyle, or it chooses YOU (job loss, SHTF, etc.), there are compelling reasons to shop at your local dumpster. Accoring to freegan.info there are a number of reasons why items are tossed out before necessary. See:
- The store is phasing out a product line and wants to create shelf space.
- A newer shipment of the same product has arrived and there is not enough space to stock both the old and new product. Since people tend to be more likely to buy a product with a later date when give the choice, the older product, which would be outsold is prematurely tossed.
- An item is prepared and sold “fresh”– rotisserie chickens for example. No one wants to buy yesterday’s rotisserie chicken, so, at the end of the day the whole chickens are removed from the rotisserie and tossed– a colossal and pointless waste of life. This common practice at short order restaurants, fast food sellers, deli counters, fish markets, hot buffet bars, etc.
Wolverine even sent me an e-mail after my original dumpster diving post and had this to say:
Wanted to share an item with you. I asked my son if he wanted to check the dumpsters for old times shake. He said hell yeah, so we drove over behind the grocery store. He hauled out a couple of packages of Pita bread. He loves Hummus with Pita bread so he quickly tossed those in the truck. The next dumpster surrendered a whole frozen chicken, several packages of pre-packaged dressing/stuffing, and loaves of Hawaiian bread, Raisin bread and a couple dozen eggs. We left the eggs behind since they were all broken and a few packages of bagels. Sunday dinner will be stuffed chicken. Not a bad meal and the cost is truly good.
Everyone – let’s meet behind the local diner – and eat! This page offers a good, comprehensive introduction to the art of dumpster diving. Some people dumpster dive not only for free grub, but also for eBay goods. A lot of that old vintage “stuff” that people think is worthless sells for good money on the web. Niiiiice! Just imagine the lifestyle:
“I’m off to work, honey.”
“Where are you working today?”
“Well, I figured I’d head over the the mall today, search the dumpsters out behind the clothing stores for some new shoes. Then I’ll wander over behind the food court area and search for a late breakfast before visiting that roll off dumpster trailer behind the new development going in. I could use some spare drywall pieces for . . . whatever. It’s free. I’ll be home for lunch. You need anything?”
“I could use a pair of socks. They don’t have to match, of course.”
Aaaaah yes, stress free, fresh air, freeganism! 😉 It’s not quite for me, but hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t learn something from the freakin’ freegans.
– Ranger Man