DEFINITION of 'Freeganism'

Freeganism is a lifestyle philosophy focused on adopting alternative means to satisfy needs in order to minimize dependence on what is termed the "conventional economy." To satisfy their needs, Freegans typically scavenge for discarded items, barter or create their own goods.

Common activities include dumpster diving for food and goods, hitchhiking for transportation and squatting or camping for housing. Frequently cited motives for adopting a Freegan lifestyle include the opposition of corporate interests, distaste for overconsumption and wastefulness, and a desire for independence from employment.

BREAKING DOWN 'Freeganism'

Freeganism is practiced on a continuum, with a range of participants from the casual to the extreme. For example, casual Freegans may have no qualms salvaging discarded goods, but refuse to eat food found in a dumpster. By contrast, one more extreme Freegan may live in a remote desert cave and refuse to use money on philosophical grounds.

Most Freegans concede that when highly specialized services are required, such as medical care, using money is sometimes the only option.