I'll continue to fill things in this echoey void until someone chances along and reads some of this stuff. = )
If you would like to wrap your head around the concept of dumpster diving, your education starts with the film DIVE!
If you have Netflix, it's on there. If you want to see the just the trailer, go to Dive's website: http://www.divethefilm.com/
This colorful doc will fill your brain with stats, legal logistics, and witnessing divers in action. It will entertain you. It will break your heart. It will inspire you. It will probably get you out there diving!
If you think you need to "prepare" for your first diving experience, you don't. Here are the main things I would say do for your first dive:
*Go at night, after the store is closed and the workers are gone
*Bring cheap-o gloves
*Bring a flashlight
*Go in clothes that you don't mind getting dirty in, or wear a smock.
*A stool of some sort does help but isn't always necessary. Stools are great for just bending over and reaching in as opposed to going in totally.
No, you won't need to climb in a dumpster your first time. Just drive up to one and try out your experiment. Open the lid (it may already be open for you!) and see what's in there. Don't see anything immediately? Try your next bin down the road! When you come across your first bags and bags of produce and whatnot, your jaw will drop. When you fill your kitchen with those goodies, you will be giddy that it cost you gas money to get it, nothing more.
3 main rules:
*For your safety, of course stay well and clear away from trash compactors. They are not dumspters. They are long, connected to the building, and they crush what's in them. I know your local Whole Foods throws away more food per day than can feed 5 starved nations, but if it's got a compactor, it's a lost cause. = (
*Etiquette: always leave the bin cleaner than you left it. It's courteous, it's good karma, and it's all around being decent. The big corporations ultimately aren't the ones that chuck the treasures; it's the workers. They are tired and it's late. So if you knock something over, pick it up and return it to the bin. If there's already a bit of trash outside it, be a kind soul and put it in the bin.
*Many dumspters are public, some are not. If approached, always be polite. If you are asked to leave, then leave. If threatened with trespassing, explain honestly you didn't know it was private property. If you feel timid about admitting you're digging for food, say you're moving and you were told to check out dumpsters for cardboard boxes or something. Sometimes people from afar might pause with curiosity, but also from afar you kinda look like a worker doing something at work involving the dumpster.
I admit I'm still kind of shy out there. It's ok to feel that way. Dumspter diving is one of those funny societal things that seems dodgy/legally suspect yet makes your kitchen fit for a castle and shine with loving goodness, filled with the choice commercial OG produce.
Diving is a statement on many levels: political, humanitarian, eco-conscious, health-conscious, economical. It almost seems like a public service, to be diving and rescuing and re-homing, just like shelter animals.
Don't ignore meat if it looks good and you know a home where it can go. One family online listed all their produce from one dive, including the last item, poignantly described: "2 Alaskan Salmon, caught on the wild...only to be thrown away."
Dumpster diving is both reactionary and a solution...just as it is sad and yet thrilling to fill your home with abundant treasures for your family.
So get out there and dive!! And then take pictures of your bounty and share them here!
so i have always wanted to go dumpster diving for food but i am really scared about getting caught. im pretty sure its illegal here and i live in an urban area with alot of cops. im certain they have better things to do then stop dumpster divers but it still really worries me.
on the other hand, i live paycheck to paycheck trying to support my need for produce and i would benefit GREATLY from freeganism. any tips on how to avoid being seen? have you ever gotten in trouble?
i have the same issue, kimberly! i'm in philly, if by some crazy chance you're in that area we should be dive buddies.
this is definitely helpful though. it seems so obvious now, but i never would have thought about trash compactors before! jeepers. gonna check out DIVE asap.
omg i DO live in philly lol. just on the outskirts of northeast
Absolutely get a dive buddy!!! And yes it can be a bit intimidating, the fear of the unknown. I'm still overcoming my apprehension at getting approached by someone, but honestly it fades with each dive. When you start to rake in the wonderful treasures, you realize diving covers a lot of ground: it's a hobby, and maybe for some of us a necessity. We realized one week that we had spent about $40 in groceries for the whole family one week, because the rest of it had been dived. Nice chunk it saved us there. Then on a separate occasion we lost some work and added car repairs + rent and realized that we had about $40 to our name! Thanks be to all the diving we did that week, which was the only "shopping" we did that week and fed all of us. And we didn't just "get by" from that either: we feasted like royals!
So for us, diving has been necessary.
Plus, I'm the only excessive fruit eater in the house, which would be a "decadent" diet on our budget--if our budget was the only means of getting food. But I can pull off most of my produce dived.
Just 2 nights ago we got 2 perfect papayas! Yummy breakfast!
I definitely need to supplement my food budget with diving. In addition, I believe it to be the only truly ethic thin to do when you know that all of that food is going to waste. One less consumer is good for all of us! Thanks for the tips!
Doing my first dive tonight. I kind of hate staying up so late to go, but hopefully it will be fruitful! Going to whole foods and then trader joe's if they have a compactor. wish me luck!
Best advice ever thank you!!! I watched that movie DIVE and I'm sold. I have an experienced diver-friend moving to my city in a month and we've already planned to go together! May plan is to do more donating than I do consuming, since I am lucky enough to be able to afford food for myself. If I find ripe papayas/plantains I may have to indulge though ;)
Is anyone familiar with the American grocery stores Pathmark, SuperFresh, or Fresh Grocer? Other than TJ and Whole Foods those are the big guys I can think of in my area, would be great to hear from someone with experience!