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Dumpster diving

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  • Dumpster diving

    Does anyone here do it, or thinking about it? Thought I'd start a thread and share my experience so far!

    I started going about six weeks ago. Some of my friends had been and had come back with perfectly good food. I thought they just threw away scraps and food that had gone off, but I've been amazed at what I've found. On my last outing, two days ago, I came back with a whole chicken, eleven big onions, a bag of clementines, and spring onions. Last week I got oranges, bananas, cooking apples, broccoli, peppers, sprouts, soup, cheese, pepperoni pizza. The bananas were still green, probably weren't given a chance on the shelves. Much of the food is perfectly good - as you'd expect to find it in the store.

    Other times have been just as successful. The best one so far was four weeks ago, when I got 22 packets (about 60 worth) of mackerel and smoked salmon from the Waitrose bin. They were all sealed, and with the use by dates ranging from 5 to 12 days away. I couldn't believe it, why they'd thrown it all out. What's more I randomly met two other people that night who were doing the same thing and one had had word from someone at the store that there would be a lot of fish in the bin that night, so I kind of got lucky there. We all three got about the same amount.. a carrier bag full. I ate lots of smoked salmon that week!

    Often I'll come back with a more modest amount, a block of cheese, vegetables, couple of yoghurts. Probably the best way is to go often and get little, because on some items the sell by date is very near, and it also means you have more choice. Sometimes it doesn't matter though. Like I got two blocks of mature cheddar that were dated 8th November and I'm still eating it now. Other times if I get too much I'll make soup and freeze it. I froze some of the mackerel I got, and in the case of the chicken, it had to be eaten the next day, so I roasted it, ate the limbs and the skin and froze the leaner meat in thin strand-like pieces. That'll be heated up in soup.

    Anyway, that's been my experience so far. I hope more people will do this, because it's sad to see good food going to waste, especially animals. I think suing culture is the problem, rather than the companies themselves. My Indian flatmate tells me that in his home city, shops and supermarkets will give food away for free at the end of the day, and put in the bins only the things that are bad.

    Few tips for anyone thinking of skipping:

    Take a headtorch. You need both hands!
    Go in old clothes. No brainer really. Raincoats are good and easy to clean.
    Wear a good pair of gloves. I use some light polyester Berghaus ones. Easy to wash and fast drying.
    Some skips may be locked up at night. A 4 way utility key will open those triangle locks which are on a lot of skips. You can get 'em for 2 at the hardware store.
    Leave the bin as tidy as possible. Try not to spill soup over everything.


  • #2
    I've never had the courage, but yes, I've thought about doing this many times. My fear isn't about the food, it's about the police.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


    • #3
      lol, is this an intricate troll job or are you just that gross? You got a chicken out of the dumpster? Seriously? I am about as cheap as can be and that is below me.

      And on a side note, how long has the chicken been not refrigerated for before you grabbed it? Those best before dates don't mean anything if something isn't refrigerated.
      Last edited by jimhensen; 12-13-2011, 11:28 AM.


      • #4
        One of the guys who got lots of fish that night had had a couple of run ins with the police. They don't like you doing it but there's nothing they can do really. I think they just yell 'stop it!!', then drive on. Don't know what the law says about it. I don't think it's theft though because you're reclaiming food that's been thrown. Perhaps tresspass, but they're unlikely to charge you because it could generate bad press and they wouldn't really gain anything from it.


        • #5
          Wow, here in the states, right here in San Jose, California, it's almost *expected* for you to dumpster dive.

          Even my local Whole Foods (yes, you read that right, WHOLE FOODS) is nice enough to put bakery items, fruit
          and vegetables in one dumpster and then meats in the other.

          These dumpsters aren't even for TRASH, they're for "almost" or "expired" food that's not rotten.

          They WANT people to take it.

          So get over it, Jimmy., it ain't just for hobos any more.


          • #6
            There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

            My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

            The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!


            • #7
              My hubby did when before we were married. We still use the cast iron skillet and colander to this day!
              Thought we've never done that for food. I've had food poisoning (and unrelated - beaver fever) and its not so nice. Like, really not nice.
              Start Weight: 265.8
              Current Weight: 234.4
              Leptin Reset started Jan 1, 2014


              • #8
                Yeah you've got to trust your gut and make sure to use things in the right way. I don't eat skip veggies raw, they'll be fried, boiled or put in soup, and I don't take apples unless I can cook with them. Other fruits are fine - bananas, oranges and kiwi's.. just give the skin a good wash. Milk is sealed and will only be taken if it has at least several days left. Sometimes it still has a week to go. Cheese is sealed and doesn't really go off. Infact I think its better if it's sat around for a while! Eggs will be tested in a cup o' water, and if used raw in a smoothie the shell will be washed. Look out for hairline fractures.

                A lot of the checks and things would apply the same as if you'd bought it in-store. Just gotta be a bit more aware of handling the packets and containers before they're washed. Don't touch that then touch the fridge door. But I think as long as you're smart and you don't take meat the risk is very low. The chicken would always be a gamble, but I kind of made me sad that it hadn't been eaten. It was sealed and in date, so I went for it. Trust ya gut..


                • #9
                  I would definitely do this for high quality food, and because of this thread will investigate my local Whole Foods. I have no qualms about taking clean, packaged food from a dumpster. I wouldn't go and get this stuff from Sainsbury or Tesco due to their crap quality and the fact I hate those places and wouldn't even piss in their doorway(actually I would do that, all over the door), but Wholefoods hell yes.

                  Wholefoods dumpster lot here I come!


                  • #10
                    this is brilliant. i am laughing now, thinking about the reaction my family will have when i propose we do this.


                    • #11
                      Hey cool Rocco!

                      Yeah, you know, I learned about this through the Mormon church around here.

                      I am NOT a mormon, but my neighbor is.

                      One day on the way home from taking the kids to school, she asked if I wanted to stop over at one of her
                      church friend's house to pick up some extra sliced sourdough bread that she had.

                      Turns out, these women had filled up THREE VANS with stuff from Whole Foods. THREE VANS. Sliced sourdough, rolls,
                      PIES, (FARKING 25 dollar ORGANIC PIES), fruit, veggies, shrink wrapped deli items that hadn't expired or anything and
                      just about anything else you can think of. Yogurts, milk, BOXED THINGS (persnickety whole foods patrons will NOT purchase
                      boxed items that are even a MONTH away from the expiry date).

                      It was a freaking BONANZA.

                      After my neighbor and I helped ourselves to what we wanted, the ladies then drove the vans to the church and spread alllllllll the
                      stuff out on tables for EVERYONE, even non-mormons, to take.

                      They do this EVERY THURSDAY.

                      I haven't gone but once, cuz I feel bad that I'm not religious and I might be taking food from someone within the church that
                      needs it, but I'm not beyond dumpster diving for myself.

                      Seriously folks, this stuff in the dumpsters was either put out the night before, or just an hour before you even get there in the morning.

                      This is not trash that's been sitting there suspect for days, it's only hours old.

                      And I don't know about anywhere else in the world right now, but at 5 in the morning, it's farking 35 degrees.... Pretty sure that's colder
                      than my own fridge..........


                      • #12
               know the cleaners don't sanitize the dumpster every night. Wow.
                        Ramblings of an Unamused Mouse (Lots of Food Porn, Too!)


                        • #13
                          Well, no shit - but when stuff is still in its package, box or heavy duty shrink wrap, I really couldn't care less.


                          • #14
                            Randalfloyd, You should pair up with the roadkill guy:

                            Jonathan McGowan roadkill: Owl curry, adder and stir-fried craneflies! | Mail Online


                            • #15
                              I know some people who do a dumpster diving co-op and get an enormous portion of their food from it. They have been caught before, though. They get lots of free produce and if they weren't vegetarians I'm sure they'd get some nice meat too.