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Freegans are people who aim to limit their participation in the conventional monetary economy, and to minimise their ecological footprint. The neologism was coined from "free" and "vegan".

The movement is best known for the practice of "dumpster-diving", getting food freshly discarded from shops, particularly supermarkets, which is both cost-free, and also highlights the fact that these stores throw out about 5% of the food that comes through their doors.

The legality of dumpster-diving has been questioned, since it often involves at least technical trespass, but in the UK, for example, as of 2008 there had never been a prosecution for the practice.

Beyond the practical, freeganism is a deeply political movement that is "about stopping the insanity of the spend/waste cycle." By meeting their needs in this way, freegans believe that they are avoiding supporting sweatshops, the destruction of the rainforest, and other global ills.

About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

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