Madeline says she does this as a political statement, but it's about more than finding salvaged food. "Freeganism has expanded to cover all different kinds of simple living, all different ways of basically opting out of the system," she says. "I would rather not have new clothes every year and not be using up all of the world's resources."
Obviously, most people aren't ready or willing to set out on late-night searches through bags of garbage, but there are other ways to cut down on how much you consume. "Part of it is also just the practice of saying, 'Do I really need to go out and buy new clothes? New electronics? Do I really need an SUV to get around? Or could I go by bicycle?'" Madeline says.
One way to cut down on consumption in your community, she says, is by checking out websites like freecycle.org. "You can find your own town and find people who want to give stuff and get stuff absolutely for free. So if you've got that pair of shoes you never wear anymore, put it on freecycle.org."