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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • As a student living in South East London and finding myself get increasingly poorer and poorer, I keep considering this as a viable option.
    Is anyone here a regular 'freeganer'? If so is there any advice for me from anyone? I'd really appreciate hearing opinions - from both sides of the argument!

  • I think it depends on what level you are talking about?

    Most folk I know freegan to some extent

    One of the most comon practices is what the Yanks call Dumpster Diving ............ I call it recycling and have practiced it for in excess of 30 yrs. I've built many a home form skips and still can't resist a good 'find'

    Don't know about London these days but many towns and citys have organisations that collect food that can't be resold tomorrow and distribute it either free, for a small donation, or very cheap to folk that are a little short on resouces. Nottingham used to have 2 of these kitchens that I know of ............. Thats freeganing

    How about freecycle? I got last years winter fuel through freecycle and thats also freeganing

    Dont think I could survive or even want to without the basic princilple because I just hate waste

  • No advice really as i`ve never got round to doing it seriously but i love the philosophy behind it and think it`s a great way to minimise your environmental impact. From the articles i`ve read it seems to be a bit of a grey area legally...hopefully someone on here will be able to help.
    Good luck with it.. free food always tastes soo much nicer :)

  • I go "urban foraging" pretty regular, it's criminal how much perfectly good food and other products just get wasted. Be sensible, go late, don't leave a mess ideally no one should be able to tell you were even there. I take a small head-torch so you have both hands free and if the bins are locked with those little triangular nuts I've found a 9mm socket fits them just right.

  • RE: Above post. I went out last night on a freegan forage and returned with bags of apples, satsumas and potatoes, all perfectly good apart from one tiny bit of green on one of the spuds. A 12 pk of crisps not even past the best before date, just the outer wrapper ripped, 2 loaves of bread 1 day past best before and still fine(straight in the freezer with them) and bananas, there's always bananas.

  • It's amazing what you can get for free if you have the nerve to ask. I ran a woodburner mostly on free wood last winter, just by asking on a nearby building site if I could take away scrap wood that they couldn't sell or re-use.

  • We often used to go (what we called) binning while I was at uni...We'd go pretty late at night, after 11. Take a large rucksack and some bags and gloves as it can get dirty! Always be aware of your surroundings..We only went with no more than 3 people, otherwise it's too inconspicuous. To be honest, while we found a lot of foods going to waste, they were mostly treat food. We found lots of bread, flavoured oils, crackers, once we found a lot of sushi (and since it was winter it was fine!), and once (from a rather established middle class food store) we found strawberry cupcakes, lush! I'd say binning is definitely good for the snacks and treats you otherwise wouldn't afford, but we didn't find it very easy to live from.

  • When i lived in my van , i use to work on building sites and live on site , i was Known as the skip rat ? but i fitted out my van with stuff that was in the skip from shop refits :)

  • I used to work for a joinery company, and the amount we had to pay every month for a huge walk in skip filled with waste wood was disgusting. We had a farmer who used to take away as much sawdust as he could, half a dozen folk would come and help themselves to any off cut hardwood for their fires, the rest was taken to the tip. I am sure most local joinery shops would be more than happy to let you take what you wanted and cut their bills.

  • Any freegans living in the South West area? Am relatively new to it but would be great to get any tips or speak to people who do it on a regular basis :)

  • Just keep your eyes out all the time for easily accessible bins, i.e. just a wall in the way instead of razorwire etc. you'll soon pick up the swing of it, best days/best shops etc. Also get a harware key with the triangle key on it, they're priceless.

    Waitrose are great, usually pretty minimal bin defences but good camera security, I've been caught in those ones once and I've seen the police on their way to it on my way out a few times.

  • Every home I have lived in I haven't paid a penny towards furnishing it.. from sofa's, tv's, piano's, beds and matress's right down to pots and pans and games and films we watch at night..
    I also go out 'skipping' or 'dumpster diving' all the time for food and sometimes even alcohol. I've written numerous articles on this when I used to do a lot of writing but they are now sadly long gone and lost within the grasps of the web.
    It's amazing what people throw out, to experiencing the sickening view that people have when you say you eat from bins and the even more sickening opinions and view's given by supermarket employers when food go's off and you ask them to give it to the local homeless shelters with the response simply being a laugh and a hideous serious joke of bleach covering the bins (in which is one thing you have to look out for when skipping.. supermarkets are bad for pouring bleach and powders over food in the bins

  • I hate the idea of waste and I'm pretty sure I heard that it was illegal to take items from bins and skips as it's legally still belonging to the owners :( so I would definitely advise either 1) against it 2) to be very careful, scope out the place for cameras etc first or 3) ask the owners/managers if you could have any first or if it's a small indpependant shop e.g Spar, corner shop; offer to trade with them for something else, be it an item or skill eg carpenty. You probably won't get as much yield from these as you would a large supermarket though. The upside is that you won't have to keep an eye out or worry about police. If I had more nerve I'd definitely go freeganing like this myself but I'm too chicken lol :p

  • If I had more nerve I'd definitely go freeganing like this myself but I'm too chicken lol :p

    You only have to be brave the first time, after that it's easy!

    I have a romantic idea of living for at least a year as a total freegan, travelling around on my bicycle, doing what feels right. I hope to do it some day, at the moment responsibilities are keeping me tied to a slightly more traditional lifestyle.

    I regularly take things out of skips, and appreciate them far more than if I had paid for them. There is a co-op very close to me and I have read that good things can be had from co-ops so may take a mosey down there one evening...

  • This is a fantastic quote from the blog mentioned above.


    But why bother? Why parade random objects before your eyes on a weekly basis? I’ve never stopped to explain the whys and wherefores, and I thought, well, no time like the present. With all this parading of objects, it seemed like it might be easy to get the wrong idea, the idea that this whole dumpster diving thing is more about materialism than anything else. And it is about objects in so far as dumpsters are full of objects that can help you out. But! Lo! It is so much more.I show you pictures of dumpster dived objects every week because I want you to know what it is possible to find in the trash. I want you—whoever you are, however you live, and whatever you do with your time—to know that almost everything you need can be obtained without money. I want you to know that the silver lining to the dark cloud of living in an incredibly wasteful time and place is that you can feed yourself, clothe yourself, and shelter yourself by dumpster diving and scavenging, that even if society has disowned you or pushed you right over the edge you can live like a queen on the scraps.
    I want you to know that you could work less if you satisfied some of your material needs and desires through objects scavenged rather than purchased. And I really, really want everyone to know that dumpster diving and trash picking are nothing to ever be ashamed about or embarassed of. Don’t wrinkle your nose at the lady rooting through the trash. That lady is you in another set of circumstances.
    One of my favorite quotes on the subject of dumpster diving comes from the CrimethInc bookRecipes for Disaster. “Burdens lift and scarcity is averted when the mountains of trash produced by this insane society become supplies and sustenance. Everything that sucks about capitalism is inverted when the dumpster diver scores. Poverty becomes abundance. Loss becomes gain. Despair becomes hope.” Glory glory hallelujah.

  • I regularly take things out of skips, and appreciate them far more than if I had paid for them. There is a co-op very close to me and I have read that good things can be had from co-ops so may take a mosey down there one evening...

    Alas the Co-op has two big padlocks on each skip :plod::

  • I really want to try this before I leave for uni, a bit too scared to go alone, so I'm hoping to persuade a friend of mine to come with. Well, once I find out his phone number or remember where he lives! :rolleyes:

  • Hi! I'm new to the site. I'm based in East London.. I want to go skipping.. just don't have the nerve to do it alone! Anyone in my area that knows what they're doing that could give me an idea on where to start with this?? Or even come with me?

  • pk_anon

    I'm in East London (Hackney Wick) and would happily go with you (i've never done it before).
    My email - daisy (dot) bentley (at) ymail (dot) com

  • Sat in Aldi's car park late one night eating a shit tindaloo a mate and I watched an eastern European grandad and his pre-teen granddaughter dive for foodstuffs in Aldi's skips. My god they came out with armfulls of bread, cakes, fruit and veg, all really useful and edible. It taught me a lesson about how to survive, I can tell you, and they ate better and healthier than we did.

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • Hi guys! I'm new on this forum and I joined to find more information about dumpster diving, especially read about your experiences as I'm studying Sustainable Development and I'm writing my dissertation about it. I would appreciate if anyone with experience in this field could answer my survey…-Zi2ucyWDjYupHk4/viewform
    I also need to interview 10-20 people in London.
    Happy dumpster diving!

  • Depends what you need but I have seen large DIY stores like BandQ with a freebie box - usually off cuts so it is beside the band saw where they cut timber to size for customers - It might be a bit of work but you can join freecycle sites and also look to swap things as well.


    Hi - just looking around - somewhere to be - some folks to share with.
    In Scotland atm and hope to move on April 2014. Welcome ideas or invites. There is a contact on my profile and I have facebook

    to many years and my life is still, trying to get up that great big hill of HOPE

    The post was edited 1 time, last by andyinscotland: add ().

  • I've had all sorts from dumpster diving or binning. What ever you prefer to call it!
    I've furnished every home I've had from free stuff, lived off of free food for years and I'll always check every bin i find.
    I've had watches microwaves beer food paint literally everything you can think of
    Even found a 12 piece solid silver cutlery set once in a charity shop bin (make a habit of checking those there full with goodies)
    As for food the usual finds are bread veg pizzas and fruit with the odd tins
    Just be careful as there have been some cases where they've covered the food with washing detergent and bleach on a few occasions where we used to go and always leave it tidier than when you got there.
    Go on your own or with one or two people max.
    Be quiet have fun and live free