Freeganism is philosophy that runs counter to all the prevailing beliefs of society. People who practice freeganism are called fregans. Here is a quick contrast between fregans and (a broad generalization of) the rest of society:
Society - Consumerism is a way of life. Advertisements make society crave new gadgets, gizmos, fashion, foods and so on. Shopping is one's favorite pastime. The mall is the 2nd home. As they say, "Shop to you drop."
Freegans - Totally withdrawn from the unending cycle of consumerism. Freegans have nifty tricks to avoid buying things, such as dumpster diving and squatting. Dumpster diving is usually, but not always, for food. Stores and markets throw out perfectly good food. As freegans normally dumpster fruits and vegetables, they have quite a healthy and cheap diet.
Society - Work as much as you can for career advancements, pay raises, overtime and money. One must work in order to keep pace with new material aquisitions.
Freegans - Work less. Freegans know that joy can be found outside of buying things. They only buy (or acquire for free) the basic necessities - shelter, food and clothes. Besides their disinterest in money and spending, freegans do not endorse working for other reasons. One problem is that working and spending is directly related to environmental and sociological harm. An additional problem with work is that it is consuming and blocks out some of the more satisfying things of life, such as improving the lives of others (service) and learning. The daily 8-5 grind of work is taxing both physically and psychologically. Instead of working, freegans opt for a slower life. They serve others out of love, rather than simply seeking money. Learning new things, volunteering, activism, and social activities with friends and family fill the void in the absence of work.
Society - Unethical eating is rampant in society. The methods used by large corporations in producing and distributing food has environmental consequences. Industrial meat from factory farms are the worst culprit, but the entire system is skewed by an overreliance on fossil fuels, poor food management and unhealthy dietary habits. Society is also totally disconnected from where the food comes from.
Freegans - Freegans are connected to the food and the land on which it is grown. Most freegans adopt a vegan diet, which forbids any animal products, including meat, eggs, milk, fur and so on. A vegan diet benefits our health, the animals and the environment. A United Nations report concluded that if the world adopted a strict vegan diet, there would be more than enough food for everyone. Aside from a vegan diet, freegans are account for worker's rights, pesticide use, fossil fuels, deforestation and excessive waste.
Society - The environment is something to make money off of. Just cut down this rain forest for lumber and a corn ethanol crop.
Freegans - Strives to minimize waste and end consumerism's exploitations. This correlates into environmental stewardship and living in tune with nature. Freegans practice and demand a radical shift in the fundamental system of society, capitalism. Their intention is to bring about a system where the Earth is respected as a living being.
This article has a pro-freegan tilt. Whether you disagree or agree, please discuss in the comment section.