Episode 84: Dumpster Diver

Its the Holiday season, a time when people tend to eat a lot and waste even more.  This video embraces the opposite.  It is the not so un-common story of a family that dumpster dives.  We went out with the father in the early hours of the morning to a Trader Joe’s that supplies his family with over 75% of their food .   With a trunk full of free bread and bananas… we made breakfast. Enjoy.

  • Zippy11455

    The insanity is astounding, but at least they aren’t locking these dumpsters and someone get the use of this food before it hits the landfill. My sister used to feed her chickens and goats all the excess from a small grocery store, until it changed owners and the new owner would rather let it all go to the landfill rather than let anyone have the 2 to 3 dumpsters of produce they toss each week.  The owner actually takes the effort to pour bleach over everything. The old owners welcomed my sister (setting everthing aside for her) because as they said, it saved them the tipping fees at the dump.

    • John

      Actually, they are locking it now.  They got some bad press from the movie “Dive” and responded by locking their dumpster and arranging earlier pick up by the trash trucks.  They waste as much as ever but are making sure that nobody sees it, nobody uses the food, and most unfortunately, that it all goes to a landfill.  We need an Occupy Dumpsters movement.

  • khaiti

    keeps getting better and better—–thank you for documenting this!!!! such waste, so glad you exposed this gleaning!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Marea.Kinney Marea Kinney-Vegan

    shityeah – my household dumpster dives all the time!  It’s amazing what gets thrown out.  The waste of packaged foods (like the grapefruit he talked about) is ridiculous.  No reason not to have an adventure and take advantage of other’s waste!  :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Marea.Kinney Marea Kinney-Vegan

    it’s great to see the stigma of dumpster diving fading. Wonder how long before these large groceries either waste less or more likely start locking or compacting their dumpsters…

  • Frogdancer

    We get free bread every week from a bakery a suburb away. We’ve been going there every Tuesday at 5PM for the last 10 years or so. We get the bread, cakes, pastries, pies and sausage rolls that they haven’t sold. I can’t even begin to estimate how much money this has saved us, and how many loaves of bread etc that we’ve saved from going into landfill!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548374504 David Keith Cirka

    So much can be done with food waste but because of poor legislation and poor business rules, much of this will simply hit the landfill. If government and business were run like an efficient and thrifty home – maybe with a small realignment, there would be significantly less landfill waste, emissions, more available organic fertilizer, and less folks going hungry. More thorough and efficient use of ANY product means less waste AND more benefit. 

  • Sean via CLE

    My family has helped run a food shelter out of a churchs basement here in cleveland for the whole of my life. I remember going to the family christmas party every year where, after mass, the less fortunate would still be served dinner. I know it wasnt easy to fund these meals and alot of personal sacrifice goes in to making them happen. If only large groceries like these would look to get some use out of their overstock or dumpster destined foods, that could alleviate some pressure on food shelters across the country. Not too mention improve the reputation of the business itself. 

  • JK

    My initial thought is about sanitation. I work in foodservice and see what get’s mixed in with all the trash and cannot imagine this being sanitary for consumption. For anyone that dumpster dives how do you prep the food to assure it is all healthy? I am just curious with all of this with no knowledge that is all.

  • http://www.eveats.com/ East Village Eats

    Great Video!  We’ve seen a lot about how food is produced & sourced, so it’s awesome to take a glimpse at our commercial food system & what happens to food at the end if it’s shelf life.  On a smaller scale, here in the East Village NYC I see a guy at my local supermarket pulling perfectly fine vegetables from the trash on a weekly basis.  Maybe I should join him!!!

  • Stryyker

    What about the Police and trespassing?  Isn’t that a problem?

  • http://twitter.com/nwoje Nicolò Wojewoda

    Awesome. I just get a bit worried with comments such as “I gained, like, 10 pounds since I started dumpster diving”. Food that is edible isn’t necessarily healthy. Could that account for the weight gain? Also, I second the question about sanitary concerns, I’m curious as well.

    • Anonymous

      I think he was really thin. and if you look at the video, he still is really thin. I think he gained weight because he didn’t want to waste food. Thanks!

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  • Mary Forstbauer

    you may want to talk to Corwin Fox.  He is a friend of my son.  Check out his song “dinner from a dumster” http://www.myspace.com/corwinfox/music

  • DCorrea

    Great story! Is there a way I can contact this family?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dana.frasz Dana Frasz

    Thank so sharing and posting this video. I can relate to the video as 95% of my food comes from the dumpster. It’s wonderful to have a delicious assortment of food to cook with and share with friends and neighbors. My passion for reducing food waste started long before my dumpster diving – after I returned from a trip to South East Asia. I came back to college and witnessed so much food being wasted, I was inspired to start Empty Bellies, a program to collect and redistribute food from the campus community to a soup kitchen in the Bronx. By my senior year we had 45 students involved, 10 businesses, had convinced the school dining hall to donate and we were helping to feed 500 people in the Bronx every day! Most recently, I launched Food Shift in Oakland, CA to address the issue of food waste. We are working to increase awareness and we are also working to launch a bicycle food recovery program. Check us out! http://www.facebook.com/foodshift Dana Frasz, Director, Food Shift

  • Atwatersedge

    I’m glad to see people reusing things others throw out. Keeps it out of the landfill, even if some of the diving isn’t legal. http://yellodumpster.blogspot.com/2013/10/is-dumpster-diving-illegal.html