Confession of the freegan: "I never got sick from food found in garbage"

A young teacher from Helsinki can spend on food zero euro for six months.

At nights, 34-year-old Master of Arts and teacher of Chemistry, Teemu Arppe, opens the lid of the garbage can in a large multi-storey building and begins to sort through the garbage bags.

In the first package there is half a bottle of licorice vodka is found. Next - the packaging of sausages, cheese and almost full bottle of ketchup.

"Today it is men's food." Not the most useful, but still good, - laughs Teemu.

No to consumerism.

A school teacher is not just a ripper of garbage cans. He is a freegan.

- Vegans refuse to eat all products of animal origin. Freegans expand this concept and oppose any form of exploitation, including the exploitation of man, with which the use of many products of animal origin is connected, explains Arppe.

Taken on night hunting bags are filled quickly: salad, sliced, Turkish yogurt, oat flakes, noodles and an unopened can of pickled beets, the expiration date of which will be only in six months. Also there was a package of fresh champignons and chicken fillet with the expiration date a week ago. In the next trash can there are a pack of pasta, seasonings, among which are mustard powder and saffron

- I liked it from the very beginning. At some point, trash cans began to interest me, and then I started searching all sorts of things in them. And gradually grew bolder to eat what I find.

According to Arppe, veganism is not enough to save the planet. Freegans deny the principles of consumerism and do not want to burden the planet more than is necessary for survival. At the same time, they eat meat, but only found into garbage.

- This meat already exists and is ready to go to the garbage processing plant. In fact, eating such meat is a way to pay tribute to an animal that has had to live a terrible life for the sake of meat production.

As an experienced freegan says, the best time to look for something edible in garbage is the end of the month and the night from Sunday to Monday. It is then that many people empty the kitchen cabinets and throwing out the garbage after the weekend.


For Teemu, reducing food waste is almost a matter of life. In Finland, every tenth of a loaf of bread, a tenth of all potatoes and every tenth fruit are discarded. In a year this is up to 450 million kilograms.

At the EU level, 173 kilograms of food per person go in garbage per year. This is 20 percent of the total amount of food produced. On a world scale, the figure is even more appalling: about a third of all food is wasted.

Savings on food money teacher of chemistry sometimes spends on art objects. So, for example, he bought a sculpture worth seven thousand euros. But in general, he has a complicated relationship even with these expenses, as freegans oppose any form of consumerism.

The study of the contents of garbage cans and the joy of an unexpected findings, he compares with the collection of mushrooms or berries. Teemu states the he never got sick from food wastes found in garbage.

- Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am generally healthy and that I conduct thermal treatment of everything that needs it, - the young chemist says.

Not by bread alone.

Freeganism is not limited only to discarded food. Almost the entire apartment of the teacher and his wife is full of things that someone threw out once.

Teemu also refused to use toilet paper. He says that hand-shower installed in almost every Finnish toilet is absolutely enough for him.

The wife, marriage with whom has lasted almost nine years, does not share his values ​​in everything. To the horror of Teemu, she bought a car, but at least a hybrid model. The couple unanimously agree on one thing: they do not plan to have children, because it will only take away additional resources from the planet.

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