Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Heather Williams

Reader 2

Char Miller

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2011 Elizabeth Emery Donovan


This paper investigates the potential of dumpster diving as a tactic of the freegan movement. The goal of the freegan movement is the realization of a postcapitalist world. I first investigate the scope, legality and demographic of dumpster diving in the U.S. I then contextualize dumpster diving within the history of waste, consumerism and excess in the U.S. since the beginning of the 20th century. I conclude by assessing the viabaility of freegan dumpster diving as a transformative tactic in light of its inaccessibility to various individuals as a result of their race and class. I ultimately argue that freeganism has the potential to inspire individual action for social change as well as de-naturalize trash.


Senior thesis submitted in December 2011.