Author Topic: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?  (Read 10194 times)

swampwiz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« on: March 06, 2018, 08:37:22 AM »
I was gobsmacked by the level of folks posting in one of my recent threads who have no problem buying about-to-expire meat - one guy even saying what sounded like E Coli not being an issue because mankind has invented fire to deal with it!  (HUH?)  Some folks mentioned "dumpster diving", and after an internet search ... OH MY!  Someone able to sock away half his income (a normal level of thrift around here I am led to believe) would actually go digging in the freaking garbage dumpster for food?  Does anyone else think this behavior is borderline mentally unbalanced for such a person who in no way has to stoop that low?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 08:48:07 AM by swampwiz »

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1423
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 08:42:25 AM »

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1256
  • Location: Ohio
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 08:43:51 AM »
There are multiple other threads on this in the past.

Your post does come off condescending, though I don't dumpster dive, I would love to tell you how awesome it is just to refute your hypothesis above.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3892
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 08:48:57 AM »
Cooking actually does deal with e. coli. Otherwise we'd get sick probably every 3rd or 4th time we ate meat from a grocery store. I have a colleague who teaches a course in food safety, and they culture bacteria off of store bought chickens. The cultures from close to 20% of those chickens have salmonella.

That doesn't mean you want to eat spoiled meat (because at that point even though cooking kills the bacteria themselves, you're still left with their toxic byproducts), but yes just the fact that meat has dangerous bacteria on it prior to cooking doesn't make it dangerous to eat as long as you cook it properly.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3747
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 08:54:28 AM »
There is plenty of evidence that the "use by", "sell by" and "best by" dates included on food packaging are pretty useless. They're not standardized, and how food is stored will have a drastic impact on the shelf life.

Case in point: package of chicken has a date of 3/6/18. But it's been in the freezer since you bought it, 2 weeks ago. Has it spoiled? No.

And if you don't like people dumpster diving, then you need to get stores to stop throwing out perfectly good food. It's a massive waste of resources.

PoutineLover

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1222
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 08:54:37 AM »
So much food gets wasted for cosmetic reasons, and dumpster diving can be a perfectly valid way to feed yourself. I don't personally do it, but I'm not opposed to the idea, I just don't have time and I don't really need to since I can afford groceries. Nobody was talking about eating spoiled food in the other thread, about-to-expire is not the same thing as rotten. Obviously use common sense, and don't eat food that smells bad or looks off, but in general people waste way too much food because they pay way to much attention to generic stamped dates that are artificially early for liability reasons. Best before refers to taste, not food safety, so plenty of foods are still good beyond that date.
https://blog.liebherr.com/appliances/my/best-before-date-vs-expiry-date/

swampwiz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 08:58:37 AM »
Cooking actually does deal with e. coli. Otherwise we'd get sick probably every 3rd or 4th time we ate meat from a grocery store. I have a colleague who teaches a course in food safety, and they culture bacteria off of store bought chickens. The cultures from close to 20% of those chickens have salmonella.

That doesn't mean you want to eat spoiled meat (because at that point even though cooking kills the bacteria themselves, you're still left with their toxic byproducts), but yes just the fact that meat has dangerous bacteria on it prior to cooking doesn't make it dangerous to eat as long as you cook it properly.

Yes, there are a lot of germs on "fresh" meat, but isn't it "tickling the dragon's tail" to eat "unfresh" meat?

BrakeForTurtles

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
  • Location: UK
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 09:03:41 AM »
The reasons behind dumpster diving are not purely financial. Some people take issue with the enormous amount of perfectly good food diverted from supermarket shelves to landfill. I have never done it myself, but I once had a couchsurfer triumphantly present me with some boxes of food he had procured from a local supermarket dumpster. Honestly, the high quality of the produce horrified me. Everything was fresh, and there were baked goods in there that had expiry dates well in the future, it's just that there is a mandated turnover of food like that so it has to be thrown out to make way for fresher things. It really opened my eyes to what is actually in these dumpsters.

Expiry and best before dates generally have a pretty solid food safety buffer, so I have no problem buying about-to-expire meat. And barring some heat resistant bacterial toxins, cooking the food to a high enough temperature does reduce the risk of E. coli and Salmonella. What doesn't kill you really makes your immune system stronger.

Davnasty

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2110
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 09:31:27 AM »
Actual dumpster diver here, I have eaten a fair amount of produce found in dumpsters. No meat, dairy, or premade foods but I wouldn't be entirely against it if it looked right. I haven't found many grocery stores that have dumpsters in accessible locations who also throw things away intact.

Specific things I look for are:

peppers - come in packs of 3 and maybe one has a bad spot
apples - 3-5lb bags with one or two bad spots and I'll usually make apple sauce anyway
potatos - similar to apples, make mashed potatoes
zuchini holds up pretty well and just about anything else that comes prepackaged where one out of 5 is the reason the whole bag got tossed.
beer - if one bottle breaks the whole thing gets tossed, once got 23 dark German beers still in the flat
bananas - sometimes bananas get tossed pre emptively since they may be turning by the next day. Once found 6-8 40lb cases of bananas that were never touched. took about 2 cases but couldn't find a use for them all.

undercover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 940
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 09:36:30 AM »
I wouldn't personally do it because that's not how I would want to be spending my time (as I would imagine is the case for 99% of people here), but I also wouldn't judge anyone who does. I'm glad that people are doing it considering all of the great edible things they find. The amount of food we throw away as a society is INSANE.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11212
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 09:40:03 AM »
Uh, to the best of my knowledge, ecoli is a contamination issue. If it isn't contaminated on day one, it won't be at the "best by" or the "sell by" or any other date either.

And FFS, try googling the topic before starting a new thread, people! And get off my lawn!

Prairie Stash

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1809
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 10:29:45 AM »
Uh, to the best of my knowledge, ecoli is a contamination issue. If it isn't contaminated on day one, it won't be at the "best by" or the "sell by" or any other date either.

And FFS, try googling the topic before starting a new thread, people! And get off my lawn!
Its all contaminated from day one, give it time and the contamination multiplies sufficiently that a person can smell it, at low concentrations the human nose isn't capable.

The best by or sell by date isn't based on safety, its based on the ability to notice if the food looks off. Sometimes its based on the food being too dry, hardly a health concern, but definitely a quality concern. Sometimes its colour; one of the reasons they colour hamburger meat is to make it more appealing. Some foods seperate by the best before date, its aesthetically displeasing but safe for consumption. Many people forget that there are a lot of non-safety reasons they have best by dates.

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1870
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 11:18:12 AM »
Well, I buy from the marked-down-expires-tomorrow rack whenever possible, so I wouldn't stress out over fishing stuff out of the dumpster. Probably not meat, I admit, but produce I'd have no problem with, and I've certainly retrieved plenty of non-edibles from the trash and used them. If I had access to a good dumpster, I'd give it a shot.

There's an awful lot of food and other usable items thrown out; I'd be happy to keep them out of the landfill.

Barbaebigode

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 164
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 12:15:48 PM »
Actual dumpster diver here, I have eaten a fair amount of produce found in dumpsters. No meat, dairy, or premade foods but I wouldn't be entirely against it if it looked right. I haven't found many grocery stores that have dumpsters in accessible locations who also throw things away intact.

Specific things I look for are:

peppers - come in packs of 3 and maybe one has a bad spot
apples - 3-5lb bags with one or two bad spots and I'll usually make apple sauce anyway
potatos - similar to apples, make mashed potatoes
zuchini holds up pretty well and just about anything else that comes prepackaged where one out of 5 is the reason the whole bag got tossed.
beer - if one bottle breaks the whole thing gets tossed, once got 23 dark German beers still in the flat
bananas - sometimes bananas get tossed pre emptively since they may be turning by the next day. Once found 6-8 40lb cases of bananas that were never touched. took about 2 cases but couldn't find a use for them all.

When I find cheap bananas I buy a lot of them and freeze. I use them in smoothies with flaked oats, another fruit, milk, a green leaf and possibly some plant protein. That's my dinner usually.

Slee_stack

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 854
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2018, 12:18:28 PM »
Are most people's views more theoretical, or are folks here actively hunting through trash on a regular basis?

If so, how long do you dedicate to your sifting activity?  Why do you feel it is worth the effort?  Is the motivation just food 'waste'?  Is there a strong financial motivation too?


I have to admit that I'm fascinated if many here 'actively' dumpster dive.  I could see random opportunities taken perhaps...

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2018, 12:40:49 PM »
I draw the line at hunting for small game for meals.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1423
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2018, 12:52:41 PM »
That moment you realize that this forum is actually half filled with people who are FI because they are actually just live under a bridge in a tent and dumpster dive for food.  Automatically FI when you're cost of living is zero!

Aggie1999

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2018, 01:22:29 PM »
I dumpster dived the Aldi's dumpster when the place was new. Didn't take long for the dumpster to become pretty nasty though so I quit.

MilesTeg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 886
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2018, 01:38:52 PM »
I was gobsmacked by the level of folks posting in one of my recent threads who have no problem buying about-to-expire meat - one guy even saying what sounded like E Coli not being an issue because mankind has invented fire to deal with it!  (HUH?)  Some folks mentioned "dumpster diving", and after an internet search ... OH MY!  Someone able to sock away half his income (a normal level of thrift around here I am led to believe) would actually go digging in the freaking garbage dumpster for food?  Does anyone else think this behavior is borderline mentally unbalanced for such a person who in no way has to stoop that low?

Yeah "fire" doesn't really solve the E Coli/etc. problem. It's NOT the E Coli themselves that give you food poisoning, it's the byproducts of their metabolism that make you sick. No amount of cooking gets rid of that byproduct.

That said, a lot that is thrown away is perfectly fine as the "sell by" or "use by" dates are things manufacturers put on their product purposefully to make you toss it before it needs to be.

The real solution here is not dumpster diving, it's supporting regulations that would enforce science based "sell by" or "use by" dates on products.

SimpleCycle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 938
  • Location: Chicago
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2018, 01:58:28 PM »
My sister and her husband dumpster dive at the end of every semester for things to resell.  They also ship things they find to Kenya to be sold or used by family members.  I've gotten a few dumpster found gifts.  They live near an urban university campus and you wouldn't believe what people throw away.

I don't have the time or inclination to dumpster dive, but the idea is not repugnant to me at all.  Many stores in our area do give surplus food to shelters though.  One of my jobs when I volunteer is quality checking what comes in from Whole Foods and Trader Joes, because they'll often pull a whole display after seeing a moldy berry or two.

Davnasty

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2110
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2018, 02:09:41 PM »
Are most people's views more theoretical, or are folks here actively hunting through trash on a regular basis?

If so, how long do you dedicate to your sifting activity?  Why do you feel it is worth the effort?  Is the motivation just food 'waste'?  Is there a strong financial motivation too?


I have to admit that I'm fascinated if many here 'actively' dumpster dive.  I could see random opportunities taken perhaps...

Aldi is also my go to location. I do much less than I used to because there seems to be more real trash in the dumpster lately which makes finding produce more difficult.

To answer your questions, I never spent much time at the dumpster, more like grab the best looking stuff and sort through it at home. maybe 5 minutes looking and up to an hour sorting, washing and prepping stuff to be frozen. It was a combination of saving the food and saving my money. Probably mostly financial, but I would happily dig things out if I could give them to a food pantry.

But my primary incentive is that I find it fun. It's the thrill of the hunt and having stories to tell. If I meet someone who is open minded and I think they'll be receptive I'll show them some pictures of what I've found. Saying I eat food from a dumpster will turn most anyone off, but if I have pictures to back it up, well they'll probably still think I'm crazy but over time their assumptions may change. In fact the first time I heard about a friend who did this I thought it was pretty gross, obviously I've warmed up to the idea but it took time.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14306
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2018, 02:13:52 PM »
Sailors in the British Navy used to pull the weevils out of their hardtack and then race them against each other for sport.

Picking some packaged food out of a garbage can a few days after the expiry date seems pretty tame by comparison.

Brother Esau

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 516
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2018, 02:20:23 PM »
;-)

Kyle B

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 95
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2018, 02:32:55 PM »
There are millionaires who started out flipping items recovered from dumpsters on eBay.

PDXTabs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1263
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2018, 02:39:53 PM »
I don't dumpster dive, but I would if there was a good dumpster near me. Also, I give money to a 501(c)3, Boulder Food Rescue, who's whole purpose in life is to take food that would have ended up in a dumpster and redistribute it.

the_fixer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 582
  • Location: Colorado
  • mind on my money money on my mind
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2018, 02:44:34 PM »
I worked as a nighttime delivery driver during school for a baked goods company we would put fresh products on the shelf each day and the old ones would go back into the truck and were supposed to get thrown out. I would keep a few for myself / friends and give the rest out along my route to what I assume we're homeless people.

consumers would not want to buy / eat day old  muffins, banana bread, zucchini bread or other baked goods but there we plenty of people that did not mind :)

As for dumpster diving never did it for food but I worked for a computer store that would throw out perfectly good computer parts and I scored some sweet stuff.

Multiple 21" Sony monitors that had minor cosmetic issues on the plastic case, computer cases with a scratch or two, hard drives and parts that were failed but under warranty and just needed to be called in for an RMA but the boss wanted us to replace the part and charge the customer instead of spending our time on the phone so I just did it on my own time.

I had the best computers and made a bunch of money selling parts at swap meets.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


TartanTallulah

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 557
  • Location: The Middle of Scenic Nowhere
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2018, 03:50:13 PM »
I've been dumpster diving. Around ten years ago, my daughter - a militant ethical vegan (she still is) - and some like-minded friends asked me to drive them in my car to a place where they knew there were unlocked and unguarded wheelie bins belonging to an upmarket food store close to home, and I couldn't resist joining in. We went several times, just after the shop closed, and had some interesting pickings. We only took items near the top of the bins that were fully sealed. I was happy to take the non-vegan items - packaged cakes, ready meals etc. - that the others didn't want. Although I had a decent income, I had so many outgoings and was sole provider for so many people that I was living paycheck to paycheck and was quite glad to be able to save a small amount on the grocery bill.

After we'd visited sporadically for a few weeks we were approached by a security guard who shouted at us to go away. We went away as instructed, and didn't go back.

ptobeast

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2018, 04:05:56 PM »
I used to dumpster dive when I was younger, though more "poking around on the top level of the dumpster and cans" than any diving, per se. End of semester expeditions to the dorms of a local private university also turned up great things.

These days, I'll poke around in the trash of my apartment building (have found various useful odds & ends like shelving, wrapping paper, jeans, though no food I'd trust), but that's about it. If I knew anyone else interested in diving, I'd be totally open to get back into it, as I am uncomfortable with the large amount of useful & edible things thrown into the garbage, but I lack the gumption to do it on my own & don't know anyone who'd want to go with me.

nick663

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
  • Location: midwest
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2018, 04:32:50 PM »
I have accumulated a lot of furniture and household goods from garbage bins.  Both the desk and chair I'm using right now were found on a curb.

Never gone for food though.

WranglerBowman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 201
  • Location: DMV
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2018, 06:03:42 PM »
Dumpster diving is an excellent way to reduce overall waste and consumption, I 100% support it and have done it plenty.  For all those people who find tons of food in dumpsters, specifically fruit, I'd like to remind you that you can get anything to ferment.

MonkeyJenga

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8566
  • Location: the woods
  • resting up for 2020
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2018, 06:19:54 PM »
I haven't gone searching for food, although I've been interested in it. My ex put the brakes on that idea. I have eaten food that was Dumpster Diven. At an MMMeetup in Manhattan, actually, we ended up near a freegan meetup and took some of their food. Much of it was non-perishable and sealed.

I've taken non-consumables that were put out for trash, although never pulled something from a dumpster or garbage can. Think serendipitous sidewalk surfing more than crawling through a dumpster. DD groups crawl cities and campuses on move-out days, and I think it's admirable. There's a lot of waste out there, both food and otherwise. I applaud attempts to mitigate that waste.

PoutineLover

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1222
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2018, 06:57:17 PM »
If we aren't just talking about food, I've gotten all kinds of useful stuff from the side of the road. Nightstand, shelves, pull up bar, picture frames, books.. People throw out tons of perfectly good stuff all the time. No sense in letting it all go to waste.

rdaneel0

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 873
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2018, 07:25:11 PM »
Some people here are very low income and must do whatever it takes to even build up a modest savings/escape poverty. Not everyone on MMM is making $200k and being "frugal" by not buying a brand new car every year.

I dumpster dived (dove?) when I was still making minimum wage and my grocery budget was $10 a week. Many restaurants literally stack out bags of bagels, boxes of pizza, and stuff like that outside. I also bought discounted canned goods and slightly past date food. Grocery store trash would sometimes have entire bags of all one item, like boxes of cereal, all unopened. I never got sick.

I guess technically I didn't "have" to dumpster dive. I could have eaten less or paid for groceries on credit cards, or not built any saving. But to save just $10k on minimum wage took serious grit, and I wanted the security of an "oh shit" fund, which I'd never had before.

I'm sure there are wealthy idiots out there dumpster diving to feel cool, but I'd guess a lot of dumpster divers are trying to make ends meet in any way they can.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 07:26:44 PM by rdaneel0 »

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5690
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2018, 07:31:03 PM »
Cooking actually does deal with e. coli. Otherwise we'd get sick probably every 3rd or 4th time we ate meat from a grocery store. I have a colleague who teaches a course in food safety, and they culture bacteria off of store bought chickens. The cultures from close to 20% of those chickens have salmonella.

That doesn't mean you want to eat spoiled meat (because at that point even though cooking kills the bacteria themselves, you're still left with their toxic byproducts), but yes just the fact that meat has dangerous bacteria on it prior to cooking doesn't make it dangerous to eat as long as you cook it properly.

Yes, there are a lot of germs on "fresh" meat, but isn't it "tickling the dragon's tail" to eat "unfresh" meat?
In short? No.

Dry aging is the process by which large cuts of beef are aged for anywhere from several weeks to several months before being trimmed and cut into steaks. It's a process that not only helps the steak develop flavor, but also makes it far more tender than it would be completely fresh.

redbird

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 535
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2018, 11:05:17 PM »
For food, no. I've pulled furniture and other perfectly good stuff out of the trash though.

I also would pull cans and bottles out of the office trash cans at work when I worked in Hawaii, where you actually get the 5 cents deposit back. I'd just take them home with me and throw 'em in my recycle bag to take whenever I dropped them off. I'd never dig around, just grab stuff off of the top. There were certain co-workers of mine who would drink multiple sodas and/or bottled waters per day and toss them in the regular trash. Free money! :D

Reason I avoid food has to do with the fact that I worked in a McDonald's in high school for a summer. This particular McDonald's had a regular customer to the dumpster in the form of a raccoon. That raccoon was MEAN and no one liked to go near the dumpster to even throw trash out when it was around, in fear of being bitten. That raccoon made me wary about dumpsters with food in them more than any gross factor or ticking off the stores factor.

AM43

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2018, 08:55:12 AM »
I don't dive for food.
Most places around area where I live are required to have closed dumpster that you cant access anyway.
But I do dive into construction dumpsters.
I work in area surrounded by hotels and office buildings.
During remodels and build outs they throw out everything from materials to furniture and god knows what.
I hunt for aluminum, copper, stainless steel etc. that I sell to recycling yards and then there is all kinds of furniture that I resell.
In a good year I can easily make couple thousand dollars.


poetdereves

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 104
  • Location: Ridgeland, MS
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2018, 09:10:55 AM »
Guilty guy here!

I no longer dumpster dive because of sheer lack of time, but man, I would have never made it through college without it. Hitting up the local Trader Joe’s for a couple days worth of perishables was time well spent for my buddies and me. You’d think they would be mad about it, but they actually supported it and would purposefully bag the items separately and leave them conveniently next to the dumpster for us. Why waste something purposefully good.

I took it further too. If I went to a restaurant and someone left a decent amount of food on their table I would ask to have it boxed up or just eat it in the restaurant. Especially if it was something they didn’t touch or bite into (slices of pizza, buffalo wings, etc.). No shame here. I even got a job as a server in college and would bus tables and box leftovers for myself in the back with my manager’s approval. I hated wasting food. I also spent time living in a car and using my school gym shower to save on tuition.

I got those habits from my dad. We did it out of necessity, not frugality. Before I was 10 years old we would go after dark and dumpster dive behind petsmart and load up on bags of gourmet pet food that had been chewed through by mice. My dad would then load it into the trunk of his car and sell it to guys at work for half price with full disclosure of the possible contamination. We also would dive behind retail stores for clothing, shoes, sports equipment, school supplies, etc. I guess old habits just die hard.

ptobeast

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2018, 11:53:23 AM »
I took it further too. If I went to a restaurant and someone left a decent amount of food on their table I would ask to have it boxed up or just eat it in the restaurant. Especially if it was something they didn’t touch or bite into (slices of pizza, buffalo wings, etc.). No shame here.

That's pretty awesome. I find it depressing to eat in a restaurant and see the amounts of food that gets left behind, especially when it's a large amount of food (like half a pizza). Even worse when there's a lot of meat involved, all I can think about is how that animal died so someone could order it & then leave it to rot in the trash. I wish I could get over the shame thing (or maybe just the social anxiety thing) and claim food that is left behind. Like, it shouldn't be shameful (if anything, the large level of waste is the shameful activity), but social behavior norms are so strict and hard to move past.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4879
  • Location: London, UK
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2018, 01:49:25 AM »
I have no problem with dumpster diving and eating perfectly good food (probably not meat and dairy unless I got there absolutely as it was being thrown away, but certainly baked goods and fruit and vegetables) that has been thrown away. However, I am way too afraid of getting caught to try! If I ever met someone who did it, I would absolutely ask if I could tag along, but not on my own. A lot of supermarkets round here lock up their bins, so it'd be an effort to find somewhere suitable and I wouldn't want to be caught snooping suspiciously.

I have, however, happily picked furniture and household items out of skips and off the side of the road. No clothes yet, but only because I have never seen anything nice.

krustyburger

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2018, 04:32:38 AM »
I have no problem with dumpster diving and eating perfectly good food (probably not meat and dairy unless I got there absolutely as it was being thrown away, but certainly baked goods and fruit and vegetables) that has been thrown away. However, I am way too afraid of getting caught to try! If I ever met someone who did it, I would absolutely ask if I could tag along, but not on my own. A lot of supermarkets round here lock up their bins, so it'd be an effort to find somewhere suitable and I wouldn't want to be caught snooping suspiciously.

I have, however, happily picked furniture and household items out of skips and off the side of the road. No clothes yet, but only because I have never seen anything nice.

^^this, almost exactly.
Too scared to do this on my own but I knew people at uni who did it so I got the benefits, mostly bread, potatoes and fruits.

As a side note, @swampwiz I really dislike the way you phrased your question/opinion. This is one of the few 'safe' places where we are not judged for our frugal habits.

*edited to include the @ thingy
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 04:36:13 AM by casserole_dish »

Acastus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 368
  • Age: 58
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2018, 07:54:24 AM »
I found my Steelcase desk on the side of the road. Not technically a dumpster, but close enough.

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2754
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2018, 09:20:12 AM »
I have no qualms about pulling something useful out of the trash.  It does need to be reasonably clean, and, my newest rule, within reach.  I attempted actual diving to pull some steel out to recycle a while back and realized I am too big and old to be climbing into a dumpster. I got a dumpster "recovered" load from a grocer a while back to feed my pig, (I did drink a gallon of milk or two that was still in date and still cold) but the effort was more than it was worth for the value of the pig food.

All my "recoveries" probably didn't buy me a week of FIRE, but it is more a matter of principle. It is utterly appalling what our society wastes.  Also remarkable are the efforts that businesses go through to prevent people from salvaging useable food/materials.  We (developed country residents) are awash in resources, in a way never seen before by humankind and in a way that cannot continue forever. I predicted mining of our landfills years ago and recently met someone who was doing exactly that, mining industrial landfills.  We will all be "dumpster diving" at some point in the future.

the_fixer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 582
  • Location: Colorado
  • mind on my money money on my mind
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2018, 09:28:01 AM »
I agree the original post came across as judgemental but I think that is a representation of how the majority of people view it.

Unfortunately the majority of people are ignorant about the amount of waste that is produced from grocery stores, restaurants and our households each and everyday.

We live in a society that has so much that the massive amount of waste goes unseen and most people do not care.

Go back a few generations or another country and they would be horrified by the amount of resources we waste. And I am guilty of being wasteful but I am trying to get better :)

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 09:29:49 AM by the_fixer »

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4879
  • Location: London, UK
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2018, 10:52:36 AM »
Go back a few generations or another country and they would be horrified by the amount of resources we waste. And I am guilty of being wasteful but I am trying to get better :)

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

It's fascinating to read about social and domestic history from a time when waste products had value. In Victorian London, the night soil men would literally come round to your house to empty your cesspit and sell the contents on. You'd save up your meat bones for the rag and bone man; save up your fire ashes; sell on any scrap metal... Everything had a value. Now you can't get people to buy old working electronic items because there are so many on the market.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14306
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2018, 11:02:19 AM »
Go back a few generations or another country and they would be horrified by the amount of resources we waste. And I am guilty of being wasteful but I am trying to get better :)

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

It's fascinating to read about social and domestic history from a time when waste products had value. In Victorian London, the night soil men would literally come round to your house to empty your cesspit and sell the contents on. You'd save up your meat bones for the rag and bone man; save up your fire ashes; sell on any scrap metal... Everything had a value. Now you can't get people to buy old working electronic items because there are so many on the market.

The endless waste cycle is working out too well for the environment, but it's great for economies.  Unfortunately, the economy gets much higher billing.

Debts_of_Despair

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • Location: NY
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #45 on: March 09, 2018, 11:51:39 AM »
Checked out some bins the other day in search of a box for a large item I needed to ship on eBay.  I refuse to pay for packing materials.  I wouldn't do food, though.  That's nasty.

shunkman

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2018, 02:48:15 PM »
When I was growing up in the early 1970s, my mother used to dive the dumpster behind the local grocery store to find food for the hogs that we were raising. If she also happened to find packaged food that did look or smell too bad then she would feed that me and my siblings. Somehow I survived this.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 02:57:24 PM by shunkman »

Mrbeardedbigbucks

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 151
  • Age: 46
  • Location: NH
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2018, 05:12:34 AM »
In my college days I once had the unfortunate experience of unintentionaly dumpster diving. You know when someone drinks a little too much and maybe they pass out and you sharpie a mustache or penis on their face or “antique” them with a handful of flour? Well, after finals on a Friday night, I blew off a little too much steam with some really cheap beer (Busch) and rot gut vodka Jell-O shots. Eventually I passed out and my buddies decided to carry my 210 lb body and deposit me in to the dumpster outside of our dorm. The plan was to just take a couple pictures (my roommate was a photographer for the local newspaper) and then get me out. The problem was getting me out. It proved a lot harder than getting me into the dumpster so they just left me there. They decided to come check on me every 1/2 hour or so. Anyway, eventually I was woken by the call of nature and I realized where I was. As I was getting up from my temporary dumpster bed, I noticed a really nice wooden chair in the corner of the dumpster. Even my young and immature self had an eye for frugality and wastefulness so I grabbed the chair, took a leak behind the dumpster and stumbled back to my room. When I got back, most of the party dispersed but my roommate and the guy down the hall were playing an intense match of sega hockey. When I walked in the door I said something like “I found this awesome chair and thanks for not drawing a dick on my forehead”. I then pulled up the chair, sat down and said I had dibs on the next game.

I still have that chair to this day. I’ve since sanded it down and stained it a walnut brown. It’s more of a plant stand on my porch now. It looks really good on the porch and it serves as a reminder of how it can be easy to profit off of other peoples wastefulness and to never drink in excess.

Sadly, wastefulness is an epidemic in this country. Furniture, food, fossil fuel, it’s really sad. More power to the dumpster divers.

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3715
  • Location: Texas
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2018, 06:40:30 AM »
Sure, I dumpster dive on occasion. I still have a nice solid wood 1970s table from diving in college. Best score ever was a pair of (working!) mini-fridges on dorm moveout day at the end of Freshman year. Gave one to a buddy immediately, use the other for 3 years and gave it to another buddy when I was moving cross-country.

I have done dumpster diving for food. Apparently a lot of people here say "no dairy!" - but one time I grabbed 3 gallons of organic milk the day after their expiration, made a massive amount of yoghurt.

I'm not a dedicated diver - these days, it's just happenstance of seeing something good out at the street on trash day. Kids bikes (one for my kid, one for a neighbor) - kid's playhouse and slide set (oversized plastic stuff - dragged it to the back yard) - stuff like that. My kid preferred the free bike over the purchased one already in possession...

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2754
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: OK, so who *really* dumpster dives?
« Reply #49 on: March 10, 2018, 06:57:33 AM »
In my college days I once had the unfortunate experience of unintentionaly dumpster diving. You know when someone drinks a little too much and maybe they pass out and you sharpie a mustache or penis on their face or “antique” them with a handful of flour? Well, after finals on a Friday night, I blew off a little too much steam with some really cheap beer (Busch) and rot gut vodka Jell-O shots. Eventually I passed out and my buddies decided to carry my 210 lb body and deposit me in to the dumpster outside of our dorm. The plan was to just take a couple pictures (my roommate was a photographer for the local newspaper) and then get me out. The problem was getting me out. It proved a lot harder than getting me into the dumpster so they just left me there. They decided to come check on me every 1/2 hour or so. Anyway, eventually I was woken by the call of nature and I realized where I was. As I was getting up from my temporary dumpster bed, I noticed a really nice wooden chair in the corner of the dumpster. Even my young and immature self had an eye for frugality and wastefulness so I grabbed the chair, took a leak behind the dumpster and stumbled back to my room. When I got back, most of the party dispersed but my roommate and the guy down the hall were playing an intense match of sega hockey. When I walked in the door I said something like “I found this awesome chair and thanks for not drawing a dick on my forehead”. I then pulled up the chair, sat down and said I had dibs on the next game.

I still have that chair to this day. I’ve since sanded it down and stained it a walnut brown. It’s more of a plant stand on my porch now. It looks really good on the porch and it serves as a reminder of how it can be easy to profit off of other peoples wastefulness and to never drink in excess.

Sadly, wastefulness is an epidemic in this country. Furniture, food, fossil fuel, it’s really sad. More power to the dumpster divers.

You win!