Meet the (failed) Food Waste Warrior #4: The would-be freegan

Luke Vance Barr. Pic. Lucinda Diamond

The fundamentals of freeganism? Dumpster-diving, urban-foraging, curb-shopping and many more. All of these elements make up a lifestyle that seeks to eliminate waste. We recently sent out reporter, Luke Vance Barr, to see whether he could handle 24 hours rummaging through the bins as a freegan. 

On Tuesday 13th March I woke up as a freegan.

With my alarm singing at 07:00, I sprang out of bed with a full stomach from the night before and duly set off for a shower.

This was then followed by my customary cup of morning tea. Can I have tea? I asked myself. I mean, my housemate bought the teabags, while I also have some loose tea from Christmas two years ago? I best not.

I refrained and opted for a glass of tap water.

Next up was breakfast.

Due to our shared weekly shop as a three-man house, the cupboards were full. Cereal, bread, eggs etc…The clock struck 07:30 and I already knew I was out of my depth.

As a whole, my moral compass isn’t always pointing in the right direction when it comes to kitchen etiquette and I often see no problem in nicking the odd slither of salami, however, this time I refrained.

Alas, I soon left for uni with enthusiasm still intact and it wasn’t long before I hit the jackpot!

I found my first freegan treasure high up on Telegraph Hill, delightfully stuffing my pockets with sprigs of rosemary; positive that they would come in handy later on that day.

Upon my arrival at Uni, my next test was ‘dumpster diving’ – an infamous freegan activity that sees people salvage food from bins.

After sneaking covertly past the confused canteen staff, I was soon face to face with three food waste bins, all containing what could soon be my potential lunch.

As my belly rumbled, I opened the lids with the excitement of a Deal of No Deal contestant, only to be greeted with the bad box. The 1p. The unwanted frozen sweet potato fries and the mouldy hot dog buns.

Much to my disappointment, the other two also failed to offer anything of note.

At this point, my naivety came crashing down around me and after just six hours of half-arsed freeganism, I caved and bought a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich from Sainsbury’s.

To conclude this disastrous attempt of freeganism, I’ll recommend anyone to find a freegan before you become a freegan. Independent freeganism doesn’t work.

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