Monday, February 1, 2010

From Trash to Dinner

I some times eat food from dumpster. There, it’s out there, actually sometimes is probably not the right term. I often eat food from dumpster. I go looking in dumpsters for food. I make late night excursions to a few dumpster around town that I know have yielded fruit in the past, and not just fruit, let me list some of the things that I got out of dumpsters on my last search, popcorn, canned coffee drinks, frozen pizza, lettuce, bread, Naked brand fruit Juice, spices, doughnuts, coffee, and food is not all, from behind a sporting goods and outdoors store I got a bike rack and a ski rack for my car, from another dumpster I got a signed picture of Siegfried and Roy with their tiger (I am not sure if it’s the same on that mauled Roy)

Is it safe to eat food that came from a trashcan? That’s a legitimate question. I think yes. I take steps to make sure its safe. I stay away from dairy, I don’t get meat, I clean anything that is not packaged before I eat it, I check expiration dates(I don’t always follow the expiration dates, unless it is dairy) 95% of the food that I get is packaged never comes in contact with anything else that is in the dumpster.

Why do this? I do this because it saves me money. I can get a lot of food from the dumpster, I filled my car the last time I went, the whole trunk and back seat. I then try to distribute the food to others who would want or need it. I do this because I am upset by the amount of waste that exists today. An apple has a small spot on and it’s thrown away, when the area could be easily cut out with a knife. I went to a dumpster of a distribution center for one of the major natural food grocery store chains and saw a stack of boxes full of bread. On this stack was a sign that said “missed shipment, do not touch.” The bread was not expired or anything, it just missed its truck and then was subsequently thrown away. I also do this because its fun. I enjoy sneaking around buildings late at night and jumping into dumpsters. It’s a scavenger hunt.

Is it legal? It’s a grey area. Dumpster diving itself is mostly legal, but the dumpster themselves are mostly on private property and so you could get into trouble for trespassing. The people who threw it away have no ability to charge you with stealing, but the trash company can. How is this? Well the dumpster that the garbage is thrown into belongs to the trash company and then technically whatever is thrown in there belongs to them as well. How much any of these laws are enforced is a grey area also.

These are just some thoughts on this subject. Dumpster diving is not for everyone. But maybe you can be more thoughtful about what you throw away.


Joe said...

Hahahahahahaha. That was awesome! (Although, if I ever go out to dinner with you...well)

Yeah, I get very frustrated with the amount of wasted food in the country. We had a fire at Cub last year. Even though it was minimal smoke damage, we had to toss almost everything. (Canned goods were sent to a salvage company for re-sale) But all of the bagged and frozen pizza, seafood, meat & such had to be tossed...all the pre-sealed breads too. Blew my mind.

By State law, we aren't even allowed to give our day old bread to a food shelf. I just don't get it.

Elizabeth said...

yeah! dumpster food is great! my best finds have been: coffee, chocolate cake, apple pie, and loads of bananas. i've only found one good place though (trader joes) and am still looking for more grocery stores to sneak around for free food at .