Just how bad is the problem of waste in America? Some sources estimate that stores throw away 2 to 3 percent of their inventory. That's approximately $30 billion in food, Lisa says. "Which, again, could feed entire countries."
Since she started living as a freegan, Madeline says she is surprised at how little she actually needs to live. "I've been looking at how much I accumulated, and I'm still giving it away," she says. "When I look at how people like my grandmother lived, she wouldn't be doing this kind of throwaway society that we do now. She wouldn't be going out and buying new outfits."
Lisa says seeing how much quality food and other items Madeline was able to pull from the trash really opened her eyes. "Freegans believe that, in a way, we are slaves to buying," she says. "When you think about it, we work so hard, but for what? To buy more. Whether it's a house payment or a car or food, we just want to continue to consume. Freegans have decided to kind of try and turn their back on it completely and stop buying stuff."