Book Review: The Scavenger's Manifesto

The Scavenger's Manifesto
by Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson
Penguin, 2009 $14.95

Freeganism gets a stylish upgrade in this latest guide to reusing, salvaging and swapping materials at a time when saving money, and the earth, go hand in hand.

Taking a page from popular DIY guides, authors Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson demonstrate how a simple trip to the trash heap can culminate in crafty home finds—like using scrap wood to build a shelving system—or visiting a thrift store can mean a whole new wardrobe. Combining tips and strategies with anecdotes about science and philosophy, the creative manifesto is ultimately a handbook for any eco-consciousness consumer who’s thrifty at heart. In it, readers learn how to live greener, and how to share with the class through clothing swaps, community gardens and websites like Freecycle, which  help people exchange goods that might otherwise end up in your local landfill.

With 12 commandment-like guidelines about how not to steal, not to harm the environment or mooch, both urban and suburban scavengers will genuinely enjoy a safe set of practices that will not only save money, but also communities. Because, after all, someone’s trash really is someone else’s treasure. —Natalie Hope McDonald