Dumpster Diving Reducing Your Carbon Footprint with Freeganism

20 yard dumpstersAs a business owner, you know that you are legally required to collect your business trash and deposit it neatly in a local dumpster. Some communities have dumpsters that they rent out to businesses. In other areas, several companies come together to share a dumpster. For a large business, 20 yard dumpsters are completely fine as they can store nearly every kind of trash in segregated containers. As a business owner, you are contributing to the environment, segregating your trash, helping the trash disposal company dispose of biological waste in a green landfill, recycle paper, plastic and wood waste, etc. You are doing a great job. But did you know that renting a dumpster could also help the environment in another way? By renting special 20 yard dumpsters and segregating your waste, you could actually be helping freegans reuse your waste and reduce your carbon footprint even more.

How Does This Work? Very Simple

Freegans reclaim and use items that have been discarded. Freeganism started in the mid-1990s due to environmental concerns, but a shaky economy, increasing expenses, and a larger number of unemployed people have jumped on to the freeganism trend. This is a legitimate and quite valuable movement. Every year, the US generates more than 230 million tons of garbage. More than 40% of this garbage can be reused in the form of food, clothing and furniture. According to Endfoodwastenow.org, approximately 40% of food in the US goes to waste. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste as much as 222 million tons of food. This food could actually feed the entire Sub-Saharan African population. Over 97% of this food, waste was deposited into a landfill. The EPA estimated that it cost roughly $1.3 billion to dispose of this perfectly good food into landfills. Every ton of food that was wasted led to more than 3.8 tons in greenhouse gas emissions.

Freegans do not mind dumpster diving, and if you segregate your garbage, they will go through it, pick up what they want and then repack your garbage for disposal. The most common practice of freegans is to search for food through the dumpsters of supermarkets, grocery stores and restaurants who routinely throw away food scraps and food nearing sell-by dates. By reclaiming these foods, freegans reduce conspicuous consumerism and prevent waste. Freegans will also reuse clothing, furniture, books, and paper provided it is in good condition. Although official figures are unavailable, freegan ranks are believed to be in the thousands with more than 500 practitioners living in New York City alone.

For Business Owner

garbage bagAs a business owner, this may seem a little weird to you but it actually makes a lot of sense. If you are in the restaurant business or in the food business, you are legally required to pack and dispose of uneaten food, sell-by date foods, stale items, etc. This comes to a substantial amount every day. Most store personnel pack away food materials in black garbage bags and dispose them off in their own dumpsters. To help freegans and to ensure that you are doing your bit for the environment, you can rent large 20-yard dumpsters that are perfect for collecting trash of various kinds. To help out freegans and do your bit for the environment, here are a few tips that should help you out.

  1. Rent a dumpster and make sure you segregate your waste. If possible, educate your store personnel on how to collect waste material into correctly designated garbage bags. For example, collect toilet trash, paper trash and bottles in separate bags and collect unused foods, sandwiches, expired bottles and cans in a separate containers.
  2. You are usually required to keep dumpsters on public property so that trash can be collected easily. You will require a permit for this and it will make it easier on the freegans to go through the dumpster. If you have hired a private trash collection agency, make sure you list the trash collection dates on the dumpster. The freegans will coordinate their visits accordingly, and your store security will know when the freegans are visiting.
  3. Use garbage bags and reusable ties. Most freegans have a symbiotic relationship with store owners, and they will tie up bags, and bag them carefully after they have finished. However, almost all waste disposal companies will not pick up electronic items. Make sure you keep these outside the dumpster so that people can take them if interested.
  4. If you are legally required to have separate dumpsters for different types of garbage, make sure you check with local authorities and clearly label the dumpsters to prevent problems.

By renting a dumpster and segregating your waste, you are doing your bit to save the environment. Be encouraging the local freegan movement, you are also ensuring that what you throw away, is reused by people who need it pretty badly. This reduces your carbon footprint, reduces conscious consumerism, encourages conservation and reduces food waste. It’s a win-win deal all around.