Most people whom have turned to dumpster diving for food were forced to do it to resolve a difficult situation of food shortage.
Today, people all around the world perform this activity.
Some of us are called scavengers, but call it as you see it; we are reusing or re-purposing resources destined for the landfill.
According to National Solid Waste Management Authority, landfills are not designed to break down waste, only to store it.
Garbage in a landfill does decompose slowly in a sealed, oxygen-free environment.
However, because of the lack of oxygen, bacteria in the waste produce methane gas, which is highly flammable and dangerous if allowed to collect underground.
In fact, dumpster is an environmentalist endeavor, thus practiced by many pro-green communities as well.
The wastefulness of the United State’s consumer society and throwaway culture compels some individuals to rescue usable items from becoming “fill dirt”.
Instead, organic food, beverages, meat, bread and milk are diverted to those who can make use of the items.
A wide variety of things are disposed while still repairable or in working condition.
This alone makes salvage of them a source of potentially free items for personal use, or to sell for profit.
Irregular, blemished or damaged items that are still functional are regularly thrown away.
Discarded food that might have slight imperfections, near its expiration date, or is simply being replaced by newer stock is often tossed out despite being still edible.
Many retailers are reluctant to sell this stock at reduced prices because of the risks that people will buy it instead of the higher-priced newer stock that extra handling time is required, and that there are liability risks.
Nevertheless, many retailers are doing the right thing by donating this stock to charitable food banks, which prevents having to dive for it.
It is just another way to source food for your family that you could not provide otherwise.
For example, in 2015, I was very fortunate to participate in another county’s food pantry for the “poor”.
The food was so amazingly fresh and delicious; I took a photo of every item I received for almost three months.
This was one of the times (not many) in my life that I could eat food that I could not afford to buy.
Folks, we don’t make this “freeganism” stuff up and anybody can learn how to do it by reading Rob Greenfield’s Guide To Dumpster Diving.
Dumpster divers should write cookbooks and Kindle eBooks about the cooking and consumption of such foods, which has contributed to the popularity of scavenging.
More importantly, knowledge about safe collection and processing (sanitizing) fresh fruit and vegetables with a USDA organic vegetable wash solution, and wiping down all packaging with a bleach solution are also good tips for the diving consumers.
Dumpster diving can be hazardous, due to potential exposure to bio-hazardous matter, broken glass, and overall unsanitary conditions that may exist in dumpsters.
Arguments against garbage picking often focus on the health and cleanliness implications of people rummaging in trash.
This exposes the dumpster divers to potential health risks, and, especially if the dumpster diver does not return the non-usable items to their previous location, may leave trash scattered around (their biggest concern).
We are not the only ones “diving deep”; part of private investigator’s job is sifting through trash (a.k.a. dumpster diving) to turn up information.
They do it to find credit card receipts, photographs, letters and other materials potentially obtained from trash receptacles to solidify a case.
They tracked my son by using those same dumpster diving techniques and paid him a visit because he was dumping household garbage illegally (lol).
The growing risk of identity theft has led to stricter laws in some areas, which makes things more difficult for private investigators and other divers.
Investigators who recover trash in violation of local rules could be at risk of having to defend themselves against trespassing or theft charges.
In order to protect yourself legally, conducting research about the area that you’re considering dumpster diving could save you from costly court battles later on.
Since dumpsters are usually located on private premises, divers may occasionally get in trouble for trespassing while dumpster diving, though the law is enforced with varying degrees of rigor.
Some businesses may lock dumpsters to prevent pickers from congregating on their property, committing vandalism to their property, and to limit potential liability if a dumpster diver is injured while on their property.
Law does not often prohibit dumpster diving, but you need to check anyway.
You have to get in it to win it, which means be prepared to poke around so have everything you need to “pick” and haul quicker.
I’m a junk and dumpster picker from way back so I know a thing or two about what you need.
Make certain that the back of your car or pickup truck is empty and has plenty of space for the food you collect.
Take boxes or plastic bins because there might not be any boxes available near the dumpster.
If you go at night (with a partner for safety and speed loading), wear a headlamp.
Don’t get paranoid, but remember what I said about unsanitary conditions so take some soap, plastic jugs of water, paper towels and hand sanitizer to wash your hands.
In addition, wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and make you feel more comfortable and plastic gloves under work gloves (dress to hunt).
Last but not least, take a stick to poke and peek into bags, but don’t be surprised if a rat or cat gets there first.
Go where the good stuff is.
You should focus on middle and upper income areas for the best dumpster diving for food and other hauls.
There is no point going to low-income neighborhoods because the dumpsters are usually locked due to trash thrown on the ground.
I have found that traveling a little distance is worth the maximum bounty.
The best stores include:
These are some of the best retailers that food pantries want to establish a relationship with to get all those fresh meats, fruit, vegetables, bread and dairy (you too, right)!
Don’t limit yourself to these, but root out the dumpsters at the local stores in your area and beyond.
And, that means you could have great success dumpster diving in a small rural town or a big city, across the United States or around the world.
If you turn your nose up at dumpster diving and can afford to put the food you want on the table, then there may come a time when you’ll have to turn your plate down because of critical food shortage, due in part to food waste.
Meanwhile, the so called “doomsday preppers” won’t starve because we know the benefits of scavenging, foraging, hunting, fishing, gardening, canning, and of course dumpster diving.
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