Scavenging, freeganism, dumpster diving, gleaning; no matter what it’s called, it’s becoming a way of life for many people, and not just because they’re poor. The average Joe (or Jane!) throws away anything that no longer works even if it’s fixable.
Grocery stores and restaurants toss food that’s perfectly edible and the idea of such waste is appalling to some. Proponents of repurposing have elevated their hobby to an art form; they go through trash to get whatever they think is salvageable.
Is this gross or simply good, green economics?
Let’s talk about it!
Depending on what source you check, as much as 200 million tons of refuse goes into landfills each year. Considering that much of that is used clothing, electronics, books and food, it seems only logical that much of it could be salvaged or repurposed.When you consider how wasteful we are as a society, it’s a case of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure.
If the sweater shrinks a bit, toss it in the trash and buy another. If the garden hose gets a wee leak, toss it; Walmart sells them for under $30.
Finished painting and have 3 gallons of paint left? Pitch it because it’s taking up space. We live in a society ruled by convenience rather than frugality.
Where once we would have darned a sock with a hole in it, now we just pitch it and buy a new pack. This way of living is cultivated by laziness and the ready availability of credit lines that allow us to buy now and pay later. When you look at it like that, scavenging doesn’t seem quite so gross; as a matter of fact, the waste is what seems repulsive if you’re being logical.
Enter scavengers. These are people who see dumpsters and curb-side bags as places to search for hidden treasure. Where most people see trash, they see endless opportunity.
Look in the bag: what possible gold may be inside?