So, I was watching “Oprah” recently – I DVR it so I can catch my favorite ones when I have time – and was inspired to take action. The topic that day was really fascinating to me. She interviewed some of the nation’s most frugal citizens. They had a lot to share about how they’ve made adaptations to the way they spend; most often spurred by the tough economic times. They offered great tips on how to save money by not eating out, turning off and even unplugging all electricity-using items when not in use, backyard staycations, and much more. After that, the “freegans” were introduced. I had never before heard this term and my curiosity was piqued. Apparently, these people go Dumpster diving on a regular basis and salvage items thrown out by grocers, restaurants, clothing stores, etc. The most interesting part is that they do it to make a point, as opposed to out of financial necessity. For one couple, he was a doctor and she an engineer. When I saw the piles of perfectly good packaged food and fresh fruit, even meat, that the freegans salvaged, I thought about how many homeless people could be fed with all that waste. The fruit doesn’t even go to zoo animals. It’s just tossed in the landfills. According to Wikipedia: “Freeganism is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on ‘limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources.’ “Freegans ‘embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.’ The lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket Dumpsters, known as ‘Dumpster diving’. Freegans salvage the food for political reasons, rather than out of need.” Hmmm ... at first what sounded really nasty to me, by the end of the show sounded like a fascinating opportunity to conduct an experiment of my own. These people found furniture for their homes, almost all of the food they eat, clothes, dishes and more. They said that we as Americans consist of 5 percent of the world’s population, but consume 30 percent of its resources. What wasteful people we are! I know that I’m no exception. There’s so much I could do on a daily basis to reduce waste. So, I want to know how much is out there in our community’s Dumpsters ... I’ll be going diving to find out. Yep, I’ll be giving dirty fun a whole new meaning. I plan to go a couple of times this month to various places and, in my Sept. 1 column, I’ll let you know what I found. I’ll take pictures of my loot and you’ll be able to see those on the Web version of my column. Now I know that my daughter and youngest son will probably be embarrassed and shocked by this, but I’m certain my oldest son will take to it with zeal. I may have to bribe him a little, though, if actual climbing in is involved. My Cute Little German Mother will have a fit and be sure we wear gloves and bring disinfectant ... and leave our findings in the garage until they’ve been sufficiently sanitized ... I’m thinking that taking pictures onsite would probably draw undue attention. You know, more than just rummaging through rubbish. I would love to know your thoughts and welcome any tips you may have on reducing waste. So, if you take a dive yourself or if you know of other freegan methods that reduce consumption, please let me know and I’ll share with our readers. Wish me luck as I take the plunge for discarded plunder. E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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