hey, was wondering if you know if it would be possible to just ask a grocery store when they throw out produce, and if they would just let me have it/buy the 'bad' produce in bulk at a low price? im a vegan and leaving for uni soon, so i'd love to find some ways to save money on fruits and veg!
Hi boggin! You can always try. Smaller/local shops might give you the ‘bad’ produce or sell it to you for cheap. Where i live little Turkish and Moroccan shops sell their very ripe or bruised produce for a fraction of the full price. Bigger supermarkets are not allowed to give or sell it to you, they can get into a lot of legal problems if they do. (for example, if you would get food poisoning, which you won’t from a ripe apple lol! they will be responsible). But if the store employees are understanding they might tell you when they throw things out. I have heard of 1 supermarket in my city that ties the bags with food with a red string, so that the homeless can find it. Some stores will not be so understanding, or you might just get the wrong employee. But we are all people in the end, so if you tell them your story, who knows! Good luck
How do you find the time to dumpster so much? How long does it usually take you to find a week's worth of food?
I’m all about downshifting. Because i wear strictly secondhand clothes and don’t want a tv, a car, or lot of materialist whatever it is. I can work less, and so have more free time. With that, we rarely buy food. So that saves us a shit load of money. And dumpsterdiving has enables us to live vegan and mostly raw, which improved our health and so eliminated our medical bills.
So all in all, we don’t need a lot of money to live this modest lifestyle. And with that we don’t need to work a lot. So i have a good amount of free time. This personally goes well with me, it might be different for others.
And because dumpsterdiving is something i am passionate about, i make time to do it as well.
On average it takes about 3 to 5 hours to fins a weeks worth of food for 2 people. We leave a lot of the more ‘junk food’ type of food. So if you are not looking after your health to much, you might be done quicker. Sometimes i am lucky and find everything i need in 1 bin. And then i am done in 30 minutes. But most of the times it needs a few runs on different nights. We do live within a 5 to 30 minutes radius of the bins we dive. so that saves time to.
Over these 2 years we have found thousands of euro’s worth of food. And with that saved ourselves a lot of money. If i had to work to be able to pay for all that food, i would have spent nearly as much time working. (now I don’t make a fortune, but I cant complain)
thank you so much for your help. I live in the states, but your insight is very helpful. I have not tried diving yet - far too cold for me. I hope to begin figuring out how to do this well. Don't want to start off wrong and get hurt or have poor etiquette.
On not getting hurt: I think dumpsterdiving sounds a lot scarier then it is. If your sensible you will be fine. The only time i got dumpsterdiving was then i got cut by glass, because i never dumpsterdive with gloves. An accident waiting to happen. But it was a minor cut that was so small it did not even leave a scar.
Wear sturdy gloves, like docker gloves. This will keep you safe from broken bits of glass. Wear old clothes, because you might get dirty. Take a torch so you know where you are digging at night. And some people like to bring their phone, so that in the worst case scenario you can always call out for help. (put it in a pocked with a zipper, so it doesn’t fall out whilst your diving) Some people like to climb into the bin itself when digging. But when your starting out i recommend to take a little stool (if your short), so you can lean in rather then climb in.
On etiquette, the most important bit is to clean up after yourself and leave the area around the bins trash free. If there are not a lot of dumpsterding possibility’s in your area. You might want to leave something for other dumpsterdivers or homeless people. But this is not necessary in big city’s. We have said before, if we empty 1 bin, the bin around the block will still be full.
Cold countries are not bad for dumpsterdiving at all! Because of the low temperatures food will keep preserved longer whilst out of the cool environment of the store or refrigerators.
I watched a diving documentary a couple months ago called dive! and since then i have been wanting to do it but none of my friends are willing and im not going alone! any ideas to convince them?
Think about what inspired you! Did your friends watch Dive yet? Maybe you can show them or inspire them in a different way. The best way might be to go on your own and bring home a feast for your friends, to show them what a cornucopia dumpsterding is. (or maybe show pictures from other dumpsterdivers) You might also be able to find people willing to join you online, there are a lot of people who want to try it but don’t want to go alone. I’d say go for it! Go alone. But of course that is only for you to decide. What is the reason you don’t want to go alone? And are there solutions to those reasons other than people joining you? Good luck! I hope you will have a great experience.