Eating Out Of Garbage Bins
I’ve taken a few refreshing dips into the tidal waters of unemployment, hitch-hiking, living below the poverty line and dumpster-diving. I look back on it all fondly, and figure it’s worth sharing some tips on how to get food out of the bin.
The quality of product that can be found in bins is actually pretty staggering, and everybody knows that use-by-dates are a fallacy and so many products are individually packaged.
I dumpster-dive because I oppose the all-too-commonly accepted waste of resources, but there’s no need for righteousness, you can do it simply because you are broke and hungry or because you’ve decided to spend your money on booze and ciggies instead.
For those who are short of cash, travelling or simply hate waste, here’s some advice.
- If you have never been dumpster diving and don’t know where to start it’s as simple as going to the supermarket you normally shop at, finding their dumpster and rifling through it like a street urchin.
- Late night is a good time to dive, so get a torch and maybe some gloves if you’re that way inclined. A car helps, but a bike and a backpack will do.
- Always leave the dumpster cleaner than when you arrived. Scattering shit all over the place results in bad things. The bins get locked, bleach gets poured on fresh produce and the cops can get called. Littering is simply uncool.
- Keep a low profile. Try not to attract the attention of the staff. If you do get caught, be polite and explain that what you are doing is not illegal, that you won’t make a mess and that you won’t sue them if you get sick. They’ll usually feel more awkward about the situation than you do.
- It’s not crucial to be completely freegan; it’s more important to rescue what food you can with the spare time and opportunity available to you. It’s not a sacrificial, all-or-nothing commitment, nor is it a cult.
- If you still think dumpster diving is a disgusting way to gather your food, compare it to working on the kill floor at an abattoir.
- If you’re worried about social stigma, go between midnight and 3am, possibly on your way home from a bar all pepped-up on liquid confidence. Getting drunk is generally a good way to lose sight of what other people think of you.
Now get out there and dive.
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Nat Kassel is a freelance writer and assistant editor at Global Hobo. He likes eating out of bins and taking photos of people taking photos.