Dumpster Diving - How & Why

This year I finally went ahead and tried dumpster-diving. I’ve been wanting to give it a go for a long time, but I didn’t know how to get started. It turned out it was easier than I thought.

My goal for 2019 is to pursue the ‘No Spend Challenge’ every month, and look over and minimise my expenses a little bit more each month. First on my list to achieve that is to start dumpster-diving both to limit my waste and society’s waste and to limit food costs or quite possibly eliminate them completely. I still won’t pick up food that is full of additives or that have too many ingredients or too much sugar in it. Basically, what I am looking for is regular vegetables and fruit that is still alright, possibly certain healthy plant-based products too, such as oat-milk, oat based yogurt, soy milk, soy yogurt and the like. Regular crisps and snacks that are healthy enough and without animal products. But for those out there who still consume meat, a way forward on the path to a plant-based diet and a more sustainable society, would be to limit your meat consumption greatly and then to dumpster dive for the meat you do eat. There are ridiculous amounts of meat, fish and seafood being thrown away, which is horrifying, both because it is wasteful and because they were once living beings with souls, and now they are not even food, but waste thrown away in a dumpster. That is as wasteful as it gets.

For the last couple of years I’ve been limiting my expenses and made a conscious decision to live below my means. I am not saying it’s easy or that I’ve always managed to be frugal, but I do make a conscious decision to try. Because of that, my only expenses right now is my rent, my internet and my food. When I have an eco-home with solar panels, I won’t need to pay rent anymore, though I may need to rent land yearly or pay for water. Regardless, it’ll be a very small cost and it may very well be yearly, not monthly. My internet bill is pretty much as low as it can get, and still it includes free calls and text messages for my phone, so it’s a very good deal. It even works internationally. Then, last but not least, my food bills, which may soon be eliminated due to dumpster diving, trading food and growing my own food, consist mostly of gluten free quinoa bread - as I don’t currently have an oven at the moment - fresh fruit and vegetables and the occasional vegan cheese and cream-cheese. I’m working on making my own vegan cheese, cream cheese and butter. So if I can get fruit and vegetables for free, I’d be good to go.

Now then, back to dumpster diving. Dumpster diving is when you go to a shop long after they’ve closed, and sift through their containers, looking through their waste for things that we can eat or use. I know that doesn’t sound very pleasant or appetising, and for sure it can get messy, but many grocery stores throw out huge amounts of fresh food for ridiculous reasons. A lot of is covered in plastic, which oddly enough is in our favour this time around, and therefore you can easily pick it up, without getting all sticky and smelly, and after washing it, you’ll be able to eat it. You can find anything from fruit and vegetables to meat (for those who haven’t fully embarked on the plant-based lifestyle yet) and fish, to furniture, electronics and clothes.

The society we live in is horrifyingly wasteful so the least we can do is fight against it by not supporting the stores, and by rescuing what they deem to be 'waste’.