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In Tough Times, Students Eat Trash

By Anne Johnson

NEW YORK CITY – With the light of the street lamps and the storefront windows, a small group of people rummage through piles of trash bags outside of the D’Agostino Supermarket on 38th Street at Third Avenue. “I’ve got tomatoes!” a muffled voice exclaims. Another asks, “Anyone want some corn flakes?” Quickly identifying this rag-tag assembly, a passerby hollers, “Freegans!” a witness to the freegan “trash tour.”

Freegans reuse goods thrown away by their neighbors. They recover everything from clothing and food to appliances and furniture.

The name “freegan” is a mashup of “free” and “vegan”. These two words reflect the core of freegan beliefs: vegans withdrawing from consumerism by subsisting completely on found and naturally grown food.

Due in part to the state of the economy, freeganism, also known as “dumpster diving”, is gaining popularity among college students. The anti-waste lifestyle of foraging for food in supermarket garbage has one major appeal towards students struggling to pay for tuition and housing: it’s free.

Freegan eating a bagel found in the trash. (Image via daylife.com)

Freegan eating a bagel found in the trash. (Image via daylife.com)

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