When we hear of dumpster diving or dumpstering or binning we may think that those who do this are getting terrible food with mould and bacteria right through and we wonder how anyone could eat such food. However the real story is very different.
Actually the food is pretty good because most large food stores will throw out vegetables and bread and even some tinned stuff because its use by date is out by 24 hours, which makes no difference to the quality of the food. Hell yes a dumpster diver can even get his soap and hair shampoo from some divers. Of course the issue of cleaning the food when you get it home as it may have been sitting something that was decomposing. So it’s just a matter of getting a bar of biodegradable soap and giving the good food a wash and ‘wallah’ you have a meal.
There a many dumpster divers who are not broke or living on the street – they could be students saving a buck or people who are just too tight to spend the money even if they are loaded. Sometime the accusation is made that the more respectable divers are taking the food from the homeless who really need it but apparently there is plenty for all if they arrive at the right time of day after store closing hours and get supplies before the pickup takes it all to the dump.
Here’s a testimony from an experienced dumpster diver and gives a great insight into how it works for one person “Last night we hit up this fruit and vegetable shop in Newtown. They had an entire bin filled with tomatoes, avocados (still ripe), peppers, carrots, mangos (huge HUGE mangos), and plenty more. All of this goodness went into a stew to be used on cereal for many mornings to come.” Its incredible to note that the USDA estimates that up to 60% of veggies and fruit most of which are in good condition are discarded from stores each week.
So being a dumpsterer is not all bad and those who have the smarts to know which dumpsters have the best and what is the best time to dive in are living OK. One thing they done have to worry about refunds or poor service because it’s literally a self-serve with no cash out counter. Western countries never have food problems there is always plenty for anyone on the street whether it’s provided by a welfare body like the Salvation Army or a bin at the rear of a store. The real problem in the Western economies is the need for shelter and proper accommodation. Homelessness is the most depressing experience of all and so many in our rich western world do not have a safe comfortable warm place to sleep at night.
From the reverse perspective when we think of the huge waste that is created each day there are some things the ordinary store shopping citizen can do to prevent this waste. This of course will not do anything for the dumpster diver but it will reduce the mountains of stuff that we waste. Firstly a shopper could buy better such as buying solo bananas, which are generally thrown out because they are not part of a bunch. We could also buy the local produce because the small operator can’t afford to chuck out food unless it’s really gone off. But all in all good luck to the divers who are have the smarts to survive with little or no cash.