For the ultimate in “reuse” activities, many people are choosing to find perfectly good products and even food in the least appealing of places… the dumpster. They’re called Freegans, and they go dumpster diving, back alley lurking, and network online, and they find some true treasures.
Freegans say our culture’s emphasis on buying the newest products—and throwing away perfectly fine older things—is a waste of the world’s resources. Instead, they focus on buying less and use only what they need. One of the main ways freegans do this is by salvaging food and other goods from the trash.
Oprah featured some Freegans on her show. Most of the stuff Freegans find is still in its original packaging. Driven by consumerism and the perceived need to have the newest, shiniest stuff, people throw away perfectly good products. Freegans come along and rescue them from the landfill and put them to good use. Freegans save money, and reduce waste by reusing perfectly good products. Hint: college move-out time is coming up – great time to score some cool stuff. (dumpster diving might be illegal – check your local laws)
The Goddess of Garbage has made a living out of turning discarded items into designer home furnishings. She makes things from scratch and turns scrap materials into art.
If dumpster diving is too extreme for you, check out Freecycle. Freecycle is an “entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns.” Craigslist also lists “free” stuff, or inexpensive things that still have some life in them.