Author Topic: Dumpster Diving for Groceries  (Read 44066 times)

KisKis

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Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« on: November 06, 2015, 04:22:32 PM »
Ok, so it sounds super gross.  Dumpster diving is not anything groundbreaking, but I never truly comprehended how much perfectly good food grocery stores throw away.  I almost feel like I am doing a social service by rescuing some of this stuff.

It all started early one morning about a month ago when DH and I went to a local grocery store and saw them clearing out the entire dairy and deli section.  We asked what was going on, and a store employee said that there had been a power outage sometime after the store closed at 11pm, so they had to throw everything away as a precaution.  The store itself was still something like 65 degrees because they keep the air on so cold.  Seeing the carts upon carts of greek yogurt, milk, etc., we asked if we could have any of it.  The employee said no, that even the employees were not allowed to take any for liability reasons.  We said ok, checked out with our regular purchase, and then pulled our car around back to the dumpster to wait.  Bags and bags kept getting put out that day.  Everything was still cold, and frozen items were still frozen.  DH and a few friends made about 10 runs.  We filled up the fridges and deep freezers of about 6 families, plus one of our friends took around a truckload to needy families she knew through church.  Items included gourmet cheeses, the expensive deli meats, frozen chicken breasts, whipped cream, bagels, cream cheese, yogurt, hummus, breakfast sausage, etc.  It was insanity, and we didn't even make a dent in what they threw out.  I would say all of us combined got maybe 0.05% of the total waste.

We live in a fairly upscale area, so no one else seems to dumpster dives around here.  We have three grocery stores a few miles from our house.  This past week, the only item we had to buy from the grocery store was a gallon of milk.  We have gotten organic apples, eggplant, cucumber, onions, potatoes, packaged salad, grapes, blackberries, french bread, donuts, cakes, fruit trays, ground beef, pork picnic roast, juice, jarred peppers, canned goods, etc.  The perishables have either that day's expiration date or don't even expire for another day or two.  Lots of nonperishables are thrown out because of torn labels or other minor aesthetic damage.  We even found some chocolate bars that seem like they were thrown out because they were slightly crooked.  The produce has minor dings and bruised spots, but is by no means damaged.  About 1 in 4 of the grapes had to be tossed because I like my grapes super crispy, but it's not so sad to throw out food when it was in the garbage to begin with.  Nothing is dirty or sticky on the outside.

I really have no ethical problem with dumpster diving, but I can understand how skeevy it sounds, and I was a bit nervous about the raw meats, but DH swore that they were still completely cold when he got them.  I will be okay with picking up more of it once winter rolls around.  DH drives past the dumpster of the closest store about three times a day, and grabs things that have been put out within an hour or two prior.  He even bikes there with a backpack at nighttime as part of his exercise regimen and loads up again.  I can't tell most of my friends or family, because I know they would be grossed out and would probably never eat at our house again.  It feels kind of weird doing this when our income is in the 25% tax bracket, but I don't know how I will ever be able to go back to buying groceries normally again.  The amount of waste is just painful to witness.

Anyways, I don't know if this has surpassed mustachianism and entered the realms of pure cheapness or hobo-living, but I thought this might be the one place that this might have a chance of being appreciated.




rulesofacquisition

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2015, 04:33:54 PM »
Does anyone know where this falls legally? Maybe trespassing at the worst? I do not find it gross. We have eaten lots of groceries that were slated to be fed to pigs (no shit, it was food bank overflow / outdated). Mostly produce, I'd be careful with the lunchmeat and dairy.

KisKis

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2015, 04:43:47 PM »
Does anyone know where this falls legally? Maybe trespassing at the worst? I do not find it gross. We have eaten lots of groceries that were slated to be fed to pigs (no shit, it was food bank overflow / outdated). Mostly produce, I'd be careful with the lunchmeat and dairy.

Yeah, I think if we were caught, the worst that would happen is some embarrassment and them telling us to leave the premises.  I think there would only be problems if we were rude or got caught repeatedly.  There are no laws against dumpster diving in my city or state.  We are careful not to make a mess when we go through the bags.

I was worried about all the perishables, but DH made the case that it is easy to tell when something has gone bad.  We cook just about everything.  I am not a fan of lunchmeat to begin with because of all the preservatives and processing.  That first story was a special exception since we saw it being put out.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 04:45:29 PM by KisKis »

YogiKitti

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2015, 06:02:05 PM »
I think this is great! As long as you aren't breaking any laws, I don't see any reason not too. You are saving things from the landfill, while also feeding yourselves and other families.

JZinCO

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2015, 06:40:40 PM »
Does anyone know where this falls legally? Maybe trespassing at the worst? I do not find it gross. We have eaten lots of groceries that were slated to be fed to pigs (no shit, it was food bank overflow / outdated). Mostly produce, I'd be careful with the lunchmeat and dairy.
Some cities protect 'rights' to dumpster dive and forbid padlocking dumpsters for example.
One thing to note is the US supreme court ruled police do not need a warrant to search trash because it is considered abandoned property. So.. theoretically that means diving isn't theft. Trespass would be my main concern, so I would stick to dumpsters in the public, were I to dumpster dive.
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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2015, 07:04:33 PM »
I have no problem with dumpster diving but all the possible spots in my city are unfortunately locked and out of reach, or the store uses a compactor. But just to be sure, I still regularly check the dumpster behind my favourite Italian supermarket in case they throw a wheel of Parmesan or a few pounds of prosciutto...
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UKfire

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2015, 03:10:28 PM »
The BBC in the UK have been running a series around supermarket waste: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06nzl5q

Mr Dumpster Stache

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2015, 06:08:37 PM »
Congratulations! You are definitely badass.

My wife and I make more than pretty much all of the people that we hang out with. It's interesting that those who I feel like could benefit the most from dumpstering won't go and do it on their own. At least they will let us give them food we've found.

We only tell people that are cool enough that they will still eat at our house. So far most people think it's cool but won't go on their own.

Legality depends on the city. In my town, it's legal. A cop car drove right past my wife while she was diving the other night and didn't even stop. :)

We've been getting about 80% of our groceries from dumpsters for about two years or so. Our rule of thumb is, if it doesn't smell bad, it isn't going to hurt you. So far so good!

Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. is usually good for a week to a month after the "expiration" date. (Usually it is actually a sell-by date which means it is supposed to be good for a week after the date anyway.)

If meat doesn't smell bad, you're fine. We generally cook it a little more thoroughly then we would if we had bought it fresh, but it doesn't freak me out like it used to. My life has way more bacon in it than if we didn't dumpster dive. :D

Compactors are the devil.

KisKis

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2015, 06:23:07 AM »
Congratulations! You are definitely badass.

My wife and I make more than pretty much all of the people that we hang out with. It's interesting that those who I feel like could benefit the most from dumpstering won't go and do it on their own. At least they will let us give them food we've found.

We only tell people that are cool enough that they will still eat at our house. So far most people think it's cool but won't go on their own.

Legality depends on the city. In my town, it's legal. A cop car drove right past my wife while she was diving the other night and didn't even stop. :)

We've been getting about 80% of our groceries from dumpsters for about two years or so. Our rule of thumb is, if it doesn't smell bad, it isn't going to hurt you. So far so good!

Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. is usually good for a week to a month after the "expiration" date. (Usually it is actually a sell-by date which means it is supposed to be good for a week after the date anyway.)

If meat doesn't smell bad, you're fine. We generally cook it a little more thoroughly then we would if we had bought it fresh, but it doesn't freak me out like it used to. My life has way more bacon in it than if we didn't dumpster dive. :D

Compactors are the devil.

Thanks for the response!  This makes me feel a lot better.  I am looking forward to spending maybe $500 total on groceries for the next two years. :)  We've already had the discussion with our kids that it's probably not a good idea to tell people at school that we eat dumpster food.  Haha.

Mr Dumpster Stache

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 09:03:36 AM »
Quote
We've already had the discussion with our kids that it's probably not a good idea to tell people at school that we eat dumpster food.  Haha.

There was a time there whenever we drove past a dumpster my son would start asking us for bananas. :D

SimpleGuy

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2015, 12:22:11 PM »
I don't have experience with dumpster diving but here's a good post about it with lots of sources at the end: http://robgreenfield.tv/dumpsterdiving/

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2015, 01:33:07 PM »
I've wanted to try it, but so far where I have looked it's all been locked or compactors.  Anyone in Albuquerque have any tips?

reader2580

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2015, 09:26:30 PM »
I'm all for saving money, but really, dumpster diving for groceries?  I won't even shop at a local place called Mike's Discount Foods because it stinks like rotting food in there.  The food is mostly at or beyond the expiration dates, and it is probably perfectly safe, but the smell is just repulsive.

KisKis

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 10:20:11 AM »
I'm all for saving money, but really, dumpster diving for groceries?  I won't even shop at a local place called Mike's Discount Foods because it stinks like rotting food in there.  The food is mostly at or beyond the expiration dates, and it is probably perfectly safe, but the smell is just repulsive.

The grocery store we are checking is pretty good quality, and we only check the fresh bags, plus colder weather should help a lot.  All the food is bagged and not just dumped to spill all over the dumpster.  I don't think we will be able to do this in the heat of the summer.  Yesterday, we picked up about $400 worth of still-cold lambchops and milk-fed veal that expires tomorrow.  It's all perfectly fine.  We froze most of it right away and cooked the rest.  I don't understand why stores don't at least try marking them down.  Maybe the high-end foods are like retail where they never want to be seen on sale because that gives the wrong perception.  This was all $15/lb and over stuff.

Missy B

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2015, 04:00:36 PM »
Ok, so it sounds super gross.  Dumpster diving is not anything groundbreaking, but I never truly comprehended how much perfectly good food grocery stores throw away.  I almost feel like I am doing a social service by rescuing some of this stuff.


Good for you. When the stuff is sealed, clean packaging, still cold... what's not to like? I'd eat at your house :)

'Freeganism' of this sort is becoming a thing in my hometown, with many of the practitioners are wading around in liquid dumpster soup to find stuff. Some stores leave their compost bins open in the back, and don't mind if people take fruit and vegetables out, as long as they don't make a mess. They would also agree with you that they are doing a service, and reducing their own environmental load on the planet, by eating other's 'garbage'.

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2015, 03:58:24 PM »
Yes, yes, yes! Food waste is outrageous and the stuff I get from the trash, so called, is always delicious and more than enough to share. Been doing this about twenty years. Never been sick from it. Rules are no trespassing signs mean just that, always leave the area as good and better than you found it, and don't break any locks or containers. Cops rarely bother stopping and when they do the worst that has ever happened to me is being asked to move along. Bummer lately is the prevalence of trash compactors and stores deliberately doing things to further sabotage what they are tossing anyway. There's an art to diving but once you get the hang of it, you learn this is great fun, completely viable, and come to know this isn't about rummaging through stinky bins for sketchy stuff but rather about the huge waste problem we have in the world. Glad you are diving! Welcome to the club ;)

happy

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2015, 04:44:43 AM »
Dumpster diving is definitely badass on this forum. There is at least one other thread, which from memory spells out some of the legalities. I did search for it to link it but couldn't find it. I'm not from US so can't comment in any detail, but from what I recall, if the dumpster is not locked and you can easily access it, don't make a mess or cause disturbance, folks are likely to turn a blind eye….

If you've found a good source then thats great. In some places access is limited. I've never dived, but have eyeballed my local  supermarket, and the dumpster is padlocked. Not sure if so much is thrown out in Australia, and how commonly it is accessible.
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Lady Fordragon

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2015, 01:01:32 PM »
That's awesome!  My husband has talked about doing this several times, but hasn't gotten around to it.  Might be worth looking into with the temperatures being low.
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mm1970

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2015, 05:23:54 PM »
I just watched "Just Eat It" on Amazon.  (Note: it's not free.  Reminder: I can watch it for a couple more weeks. Should watch it again.)

Pretty interesting.

happy

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2015, 03:40:12 AM »
Reminded by this thread, I rechecked the dumpsters at my local supermarket….locked:(
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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2015, 12:12:21 PM »
I have been wanting to try dumpster diving for some time now but my wife is still not on board with that. I guess that is where she draws the line.

NoWorries

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2015, 06:40:38 PM »
How do you know when they are throwing out their food? I would want to go relatively soon after it went in the dumpster.

tummyrubbingjesus

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2015, 05:14:14 AM »
Does anyone know where this falls legally? Maybe trespassing at the worst? I do not find it gross. We have eaten lots of groceries that were slated to be fed to pigs (no shit, it was food bank overflow / outdated). Mostly produce, I'd be careful with the lunchmeat and dairy.


I haven't managed to get through all the posts yet but the law generally stipulates 'once property has been thrown out it's considered to be public domain'. That means, you're right in beliving that the worst case scenario is probably trespassing or something.

Dumpster diving has been a big thing in my work industry for a long while now - but usually not for foodstuffs.



A question to the masses. Does anybody actually do this for food?

justajane

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2015, 12:00:14 PM »
This is awesome. I'm going to check out the dumpster situation at nicer groceries nearby.

I know there is a police brutality case in the courts in my community because a police officer slammed down a dumpster driver on the parking lot. I watched the video. It looks like he verbally was mouthing off to the cop - not that he deserved to by physically assaulted for it of course. But it goes to show that you should always just say, "Yes sir!" and be on your way.

It was at a Gordon's Food Service, and I believe the guy went there regularly to dumpster dive for a homeless shelter.

Shann106

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2015, 01:22:24 PM »
I would totally do this (much to my husband and daughters embarrassment) but all the stores around here have locked gates around dumpsters

jengod

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2015, 01:03:25 AM »
Thumbs up from me!

I have dived for non-food items but would ABSOLUTELY do what you did and wish I could do more. Food waste is heartbreaking.

Dumpster diving is frugal, environmentally sound and respectful to those who have worked to grow or deliver that food.
Waste is lost profit made visible. #zerowastehome #permaculture

ahoy

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2015, 03:38:25 AM »
Wow... it's incredible what you are finding.   I have never done it, but it does make me think.   I love the reply above about "dumpster divers rights".

Pigeon

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2015, 05:59:11 AM »
On a related note, I volunteer with our regional food bank.  The food bank distributes food to local food pantries and doesn't deal directly with clients.

The food bank has some awesome arrangements in place with all of the local grocery chains.  They put meat and some other items that are close to expiration in their freezers and donate to the food bank frozen.  The volunteer work I do is to inspect the items and sort them so that each box gets an assortment of different types of meats, for example.  Day old baked goods are donated directly to food pantries by the grocery stores.  I often do my grocery shopping at 6:30 am, and see the food pantry trucks doing pick-up.  Other things, liked canned goods, can be distributed for six months past the sell by date, but are generally only approaching the sell by date when we get them.

This whole arrangement fills me with happiness.  I enjoy the volunteer work.  It is semi-strenuous, I don't have to make people do things they don't want to do, there isn't fundraising involved, and if I go early on Sunday morning, I don't have to deal with church ladies.  The grocery stores get a tax write off on the food they donate.  The amount of food waste is greatly reduced.  Food insecure people get groceries.  It's a win-win-win-win as far as I'm concerned. 

patrat

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2015, 06:06:54 AM »
In college one year I worked at an apartment complex that was essentially a high priced transition from the dorms. Priced per room of the apartment, at about double market rate of roommate arrangements. Fully furnished units, targeted at far from home students.

At the end of the year, many of the residents would throw EVERYTHING that didn't fit into their car/suitcase in the dumpster.

I fully outfitted my kitchen, wardrobe, bicycle, etc. with the scavenging. I still use some of the kitchen stuff 10 years later. There was a lot of canned, boxed, and (still frozen hard) food we found. I say we, because my coworkers joined me on the second day after seeing my haul. We ate for free for about 6 weeks on the food, and it was better stuff than we could afford at the time.

For better or worse, where I live now dumpster diving is a profession. The only way you find anything good is if you happen upon it first. The grocery stores padlock their dumpsters. Not surprising but a little sad, given the poverty in the area. I hate waste.

TomTX

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2015, 07:23:17 PM »
First dumpster run this morning, found the areas with unlocked dumpsters - most were empty. Scored a toy guitar, still in package and a bunch of kids books in great shape. Bunches of other books that I don't need.
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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2015, 08:09:25 PM »
...I still regularly check the dumpster behind my favourite Italian supermarket in case they throw a wheel of Parmesan or a few pounds of prosciutto...

I'd dive in a dumpster for that...  :)
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jengod

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2015, 11:23:19 PM »
...I still regularly check the dumpster behind my favourite Italian supermarket in case they throw a wheel of Parmesan or a few pounds of prosciutto...

I'd dive in a dumpster for that...  :)

Hey, WE have a local Italian market. They are too small to afford a compactor. Hmmm...
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Tom Bri

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2015, 10:19:13 PM »
Way back when, I worked night shift at a convenience store, so I got to know the local homeless guys petty well. They told me that a lot of the local stores and some restaurants would separate things to make it easier for the homeless to get the stuff that was still good. The restaurant across the street would pack a pile of stuff in their 'doggy bag' Styrofoam boxes and put it beside the back door every night. This was good food that would otherwise have been tossed.

As far as meat still being fresh? A pressure cooker will take care of any problems!

lhamo

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2015, 11:04:16 PM »
Any fan of dumpster diving should read Farm City by Novella Carpenter.  In addition to being an overall wonderful read about her efforts to create an urban homestead in Oakland, CA, it has some marvelous passages about how she dumpster dove for food for her animals.  Really great book.
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v8rx7guy

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2015, 11:11:25 PM »
Dumpster Diving is pegging the needle of my frugality meter at the boundary of the "too far" region.

TomTX

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2015, 05:27:02 AM »
Huge pile of dairy behind the natural foods store, I did my first food grab from a dumpster. 1.5 gallons of super fancy milk. Smells great - so I used the Instant Pot last night to make yoghurt for the first time.  I also made a batch of tapioca pudding.
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FLBiker

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2015, 09:51:33 AM »
I'm totally down, and have tried it in the past (more for environmental reasons than frugality).

I looked into it a bit after moving to Tampa, but the grocery dumpsters near me are pretty high security.  I should do more investigating.

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2015, 12:13:16 PM »
I've eaten pigs raised on this.  Local farmer friends contacted the local grocery stores about picking up "spent" produce and they agreed so long as the pickups are regularly scheduled and they take ALL of it every time.  They sort through it, decide what to eat themselves, what goes to the pigs, and what gets composted for the garden.  There is a lot of packaging they have to throw away, but it would have ALL been in a landfill without their intervention.

I'm tempted to do the same for cost and environmental reasons, including keeping some pigs, but am conflicted wanting to eat a fresh, organic, local diet.   Maybe try the natural foods stores...  There is one near work and I could stop a few times a week, other is out of the way.

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2015, 12:21:21 AM »
Ok, so it sounds super gross.  Dumpster diving is not anything groundbreaking, but I never truly comprehended how much perfectly good food grocery stores throw away.  I almost feel like I am doing a social service by rescuing some of this stuff.

It all started early one morning about a month ago when DH and I went to a local grocery store and saw them clearing out the entire dairy and deli section.  We asked what was going on, and a store employee said that there had been a power outage sometime after the store closed at 11pm, so they had to throw everything away as a precaution.  The store itself was still something like 65 degrees because they keep the air on so cold.  Seeing the carts upon carts of greek yogurt, milk, etc., we asked if we could have any of it.  The employee said no, that even the employees were not allowed to take any for liability reasons.  We said ok, checked out with our regular purchase, and then pulled our car around back to the dumpster to wait.  Bags and bags kept getting put out that day.  Everything was still cold, and frozen items were still frozen. DH and a few friends made about 10 runs.  We filled up the fridges and deep freezers of about 6 families, plus one of our friends took around a truckload to needy families she knew through church.  Items included gourmet cheeses, the expensive deli meats, frozen chicken breasts, whipped cream, bagels, cream cheese, yogurt, hummus, breakfast sausage, etc.  It was insanity, and we didn't even make a dent in what they threw out.  I would say all of us combined got maybe 0.05% of the total waste.

We live in a fairly upscale area, so no one else seems to dumpster dives around here.  We have three grocery stores a few miles from our house.  This past week, the only item we had to buy from the grocery store was a gallon of milk.  We have gotten organic apples, eggplant, cucumber, onions, potatoes, packaged salad, grapes, blackberries, french bread, donuts, cakes, fruit trays, ground beef, pork picnic roast, juice, jarred peppers, canned goods, etc.  The perishables have either that day's expiration date or don't even expire for another day or two.  Lots of nonperishables are thrown out because of torn labels or other minor aesthetic damage.  We even found some chocolate bars that seem like they were thrown out because they were slightly crooked.  The produce has minor dings and bruised spots, but is by no means damaged.  About 1 in 4 of the grapes had to be tossed because I like my grapes super crispy, but it's not so sad to throw out food when it was in the garbage to begin with.  Nothing is dirty or sticky on the outside.

I really have no ethical problem with dumpster diving, but I can understand how skeevy it sounds, and I was a bit nervous about the raw meats, but DH swore that they were still completely cold when he got them.  I will be okay with picking up more of it once winter rolls around.  DH drives past the dumpster of the closest store about three times a day, and grabs things that have been put out within an hour or two prior.  He even bikes there with a backpack at nighttime as part of his exercise regimen and loads up again.  I can't tell most of my friends or family, because I know they would be grossed out and would probably never eat at our house again.  It feels kind of weird doing this when our income is in the 25% tax bracket, but I don't know how I will ever be able to go back to buying groceries normally again.  The amount of waste is just painful to witness.

Anyways, I don't know if this has surpassed mustachianism and entered the realms of pure cheapness or hobo-living, but I thought this might be the one place that this might have a chance of being appreciated.

That's great! It's more than ethical, imagine tossing out all that food. That's almost criminal. And its a fun wholesome activity you did with friends. Your husband even biking to get exercise, how ingenious! We also live in an upscale area which is perfect for that type of thing. We'd go with you if you lived around here lol. We love biking at night.

If you have a small independent health food store. We would get the organic vegetables free to give to our chickens. One day  I noticed that over half of most of the veges were still good. So I'd cut the bad parts off and keep the good parts for us. All organic vegetables. We went a few years not having to buy veges except during the Summers (too hot to pick up behind the store). Stopped having our own vegetable garden for a while. The produce Manager really appreciated our chicken eggs we'd bring him twice a month as a thank you. And later, potatoes.The best is learning we could have endless free potatoes. They first sprouted as volunteers. Cut out the eyes, and throw them back in the manure we got free from Craigslist. Boil the rest. Water the pile sometimes, toss in some hay and such keeping it light and fluffy, the eyes reproduce into more potatoes. Rinse and Repeat. We had 3 kinds of potatoes at all times, more than we could possibly eat. boy were they tasty! Luckily I sell on ebay and happen to be back behind the store looking for boxes.

Oh and one year, we found that Rite Aid was tossing all of their halloween costumes maybe a week after Halloween. They were in the dumpsters. My husband insisted we come back and get the stuff later in the car so we did. Probably around midnight.  I had a yard sale the following month and sold the costumes for $2 each, made about $175 in just a few hours having a yard sale. I guess kids play dress up all year now. We also got alot of mechanical scary items like cats which talk, pumpkins that play music, large monsters. Paper plates and cups, garbage bags with pumkins on them, many household items. A whole truck load full of halloween stuff. We hit a few stores actually. We sold a ton of candy too.

We have friends who visit the local high school getting their old muck out of the Trash. Leftover food the kids toss out. They feed their pigs with it. Buy and sell pigs for $$. Not for me but maybe someone else. I'd want my pigs eating organic
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 12:47:58 AM by Outdoorsygal »

Erica

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2015, 12:48:43 AM »
Any fan of dumpster diving should read Farm City by Novella Carpenter.  In addition to being an overall wonderful read about her efforts to create an urban homestead in Oakland, CA, it has some marvelous passages about how she dumpster dove for food for her animals.  Really great book.
Thank you

LifeAtTheLodgeHouse

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2015, 10:03:28 PM »
I think this is AWESOME!!!

So much waste that impacts animals and the environment! So glad you guys are reducing it with the added bonus of saving some cash!

I used to see lots of waste in the UK but New Zealanders (well, Christchurch) in general are pretty frugal (think because cost of living and food is higher) so pretty much everything gets marked down and sold in supermarkets.

acinaps

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #41 on: December 26, 2015, 08:09:56 AM »
I did it! As a Christmas present to myself, I screwed up my courage and went poking around behind the grocery store. The store was closed for Christmas so I went during daylight hours. I found a lot of trash, but I also found some perfectly good food! Looks like I also found a new hobby. Thanks for the push in the right direction, Mustachians!

mm1970

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #42 on: December 26, 2015, 12:09:53 PM »
Any fan of dumpster diving should read Farm City by Novella Carpenter.  In addition to being an overall wonderful read about her efforts to create an urban homestead in Oakland, CA, it has some marvelous passages about how she dumpster dove for food for her animals.  Really great book.
Thank you
That was a great book.  I wonder if I still have it.  Maybe I borrowed it from the library.  Hm.

I am reading "American Wasteland" right now. Pretty eye opening.

Cassie

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2015, 12:38:54 PM »
As 1 poster noted it would be great if more grocery stores just donated the food to the local shelters because since they feed large groups of people the food could be cooked & used before it went bad. Once food is put in a dirty dumpster I would never touch it and would never eat at someone's house if they did that.  I am actually surprised at how many people here would do this. Ick!

TomTX

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #44 on: December 27, 2015, 04:10:19 PM »
As 1 poster noted it would be great if more grocery stores just donated the food to the local shelters because since they feed large groups of people the food could be cooked & used before it went bad. Once food is put in a dirty dumpster I would never touch it and would never eat at someone's house if they did that.  I am actually surprised at how many people here would do this. Ick!

The stuff I took was still in the original sealed containers sitting on top of a pile of other original sealed containers. Nothing ick even a layer away. I still washed off the containers when I got home, but that was more for WAF than anything really necessary.
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KisKis

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #45 on: May 05, 2016, 08:48:20 AM »
Just an update.  Our average daily food expenses for 2016 year-to-date have decreased to $1.69/day compared to $13.25/day in 2015 (which also had a few dumpster diving months).  2014 was $16.07/day. 

Over $1 of this year's $1.69/day is from eating out.  We have only spent $65.22 in actual groceries.  If I recall correctly, the expense was mainly due to olive oil and rice.

 Almost weekly, our hauls from the dump include:
- Frozen meat (skinless chicken breasts, ground beef, pork ribs, etc.)
- Unlimited amounts of produce (organic apples, mangoes, strawberries, pears, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, bagged salads, zucchini, eggplant, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)  So much here, that we also have some family members on board who essentially place their orders, and DH brings them a crate the next day.  We also have friends with a small farm that love the extra apples and some other items.   
- Dairy (milk, cheese, ridiculous amounts of yogurt, canned whipped cream, etc.)  The ultra pasteurized milk seems to never go bad.  It's always still cold.  DH goes right after the nightly dump out.
- Boxed and individually bagged snacks, cereals, pasta, granola bars, cookies, crackers, weird organic stuff that's been fun to try, orzo, etc.
- Canned items (every cut of tomato, beans, corn, etc.)
- Canola oil
- Sushi (very rarely, usually only if DH sees it coming out, and only if the avocado is all still completely green.  I usually just eat the stuff with crab or shrimp, since that is cooked, but it's a great treat once in a while)
- Cakes (very rarely, just because we'd get fat)
- Ice cream & ice cream bars (still frozen)
- Toilet paper (??)
- Dawn dish detergent (??)
- Laundry detergent (??)

We have pictures of DH sitting in organized mounds of things.  It has been more fun than anything.  The money savings is really just a minor benefit at this point.  We may have developed some sort of psychological condition, lol.  I honestly think we eat healthier now than before, because we can pick out the organic name brand stuff that we never would have bought on our own.

geekinprogress

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #46 on: May 05, 2016, 07:44:07 PM »
Just an update....

That's freaking awesome.  I've been wanting to try my hand at grocery store dumpster diving (I've gotten a ton of stuff off of curbs, not so much from actual dumpsters) for a while now and your enthusiasm and this thread may have pushed me over the edge.  Just need to scope out locations and find the right night for it....!

iris lily

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #47 on: May 05, 2016, 08:10:31 PM »
OP, I think your hauls are fabulous! They dont give me much of an ick reaction, just a "I am too lazy" reaction. However, I have beem diving off and on for 27 years, so I am well versed at it, just not for food.

KisKis

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2016, 08:29:08 AM »
Just an update....

That's freaking awesome.  I've been wanting to try my hand at grocery store dumpster diving (I've gotten a ton of stuff off of curbs, not so much from actual dumpsters) for a while now and your enthusiasm and this thread may have pushed me over the edge.  Just need to scope out locations and find the right night for it....!

Nice!!  Definitely worth a try.  We've gotten some pretty fun times out of it.  Nothing more hilarious then a bunch of like-minded friends forming an ant train to bring home a particularly large haul.  I'd recommend a locally owned higher end grocery store.  Don't know if you have a Trader Joe's or something like that.  Publix is too far away for us, but we go to our closest store which is a Rouses Market (regional chain).  Walmart often actively locks their stuff down.  DH goes every night after they do their daily dump out, and really only picks through the top few bags since we are already getting way too much for our family of four.  We did have to train our young kids to only talk about "D-licious" food, because we'd probably get questioned by CPS if they started talking about eating out of the dump.  We also have a few family members that probably shouldn't know.

Also, just a note, DH has been stopped by police twice over the last six months, but it's not illegal in our state or city so they just run his license as a matter of routine and then leave after he tells them what he is doing.  I guess he looks pretty suspicious dressed all in black with a headlamp on.  After the first time, he actually called our police station and got the official take on it from one of the ranking officers, who said as long as the store didn't complain, the police wouldn't hassle him.  He did get a disgusted look from one officer, who was like, "You really EAT this stuff?"  He just smiled and said "yup."  The officer shook his head and walked away.  When DH was still daytime diving, he did get run off twice by employees on their smoke break who told him "you can't do that" but nothing ever came of it, and now he just goes at night when the store is closing down.  We did call the store's corporate office and didn't get explicit permission from the right person, but they seemed completely unconcerned about it.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 08:32:18 AM by KisKis »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Dumpster Diving for Groceries
« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2016, 09:23:34 AM »
I would LOVE to go dumpster diving for food but too many people have been prosecuted for it in the UK for me to feel comfortable. The cases are often thrown out or they just get a token fine, but I really don't want to be wandering that close to the wrong side of the law. Which sucks because I would totally eat dumpster food! I'd be a bit iffy about meat, fish and fresh milk, but I'd probably be OK with it if it was frozen and I cooked it that day. But anything packaged or peelable would be absolutely fine by me. If I knew someone who did it locally I might be persuaded to go with them, law be damned, but I'm basically just too scared of getting caught.