Friday, February 10, 2006
7 News Features: Dinner in a Dumpster
It's an age old question - why buy when you can get it for free? Tonight, hundreds of people in New York, Boston, and Miami are getting their groceries without paying a cent. But if you want a free dinner, it will have to be dinner from a dumpster. Here's 7's Adam Williams with more in tonight's special assignment report.
WSVN--Rasberry tarts, oranges, lettuce... Bread and more.
The average american spends more than 6 hundred dollars a month on groceries.
But the cost for the food you see here - nothing.
"Pretty much everything they sell inside of stores. they throw away pretty much."
To get your free meal, all you have to do is go through garbage.
"Anybody need some white bread, muffins, and bagels."
And dive in dumpsters.
"Who wants carrots?"
These people call themselves freegans - that's a combination of free and vegans - the term for people who don't eat animal products.
They're not poor, they're not homeless, they're not even unemployed.
But what they are is on a mission against captalism and over-consumption.
"It's definitely a way of life."
"I've seen so many dumpsters that could feed like 50 people."
By doing so, the freegans hope they're taking a bite out of a big problem.
In their scavenger hunt for survival, the members see themselves as modern day robin hoods - taking from the rich to feed the world.
Jason Samuels: "We're trying to feed ourselves and take care of ourselves outside of a wasteful expliotful system."
Adam Weissman: "Peoples basic needs are not being met; yet, stores see no problem with wasting goods that are safe, that are clean, and that could be helping curb problems like hunger."
Adam Williams: "But freegans aren't just looking for food. When they go digging through dumpsters, they're also searching for clothes, toys, books. Their strategy is to salvage anything and avoid buying as much as possible."
"We think this is something we need to be doing because the companies that make the products that we are buying are engaging in practices that we don't want to be supporting with our dollars."
As for getting dinner from a dumpster, the freegans claim they're not worried about getting sick.
They maintain most of the food they eat is still properly wrapped plus they wash everything and use discretion.
Janet Kalish: "When I take food home, I wash it and I take good care of it and I take good care of myself. there's the same danger of getting sick from food inside the store or the food outside the store."
But while trash isn't tempting to most of us, these crusaders hope to make a difference one dumpster at a time.
Boston Freegan: "It helps create a more sustainable soceity because less goes to waste."
One rule of freegan living - they will not go dumpster diving if there is a no trespassing sign. Plus they also usually travel with a first aid kit because of sharp edges and broken glass.