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  1. #1
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    Dumpster diving? how many of you do this? fav spots?

    I'm planning on dumpster diving for some extra calories on my upcoming tour. I know many of you will probably frown at this, it sounds gross if you've never done it. From my experience i can usually find bags full of bread from bakeries with no trash mixed in and other pretty sanitary food like whole pizzas still in the box just sitting on top. I always carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer though JIC my hand gets on something gross.

    Some of my favorite places: Starbucks, Natural food stores, pizza places, panera bread (and other bakery/delicatessen type places.) I found a dumpster full of books at Borders the other night.. got some star wars and even JRR tolkein books. mostly crappy romance novels though.

    America has the richest waste in the world. sometimes i can't believe the things people throw away. When I have so much food me and my family can't eat it all I drop it off at homeless shelters, or just pass it out to bums on the street when i'm coming home from a night of dumpster adventures. Oh, and i've never gotten sick. i'm really careful about what i take. sometimes even after i get home with things if i have even a moment of second thought i throw it in the compost.

  2. #2
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malleabis View Post

    Some of my favorite places: Starbucks, Natural food stores, pizza places, panera bread (and other bakery/delicatessen type places.) I found a dumpster full of books at Borders the other night.. got some star wars and even JRR tolkein books. mostly crappy romance novels though.
    My day job in the midst of touring is Starbucks. And I got to say it is probably one of the best places to dumpster dive (except at my store because I take everything and give it to someone that needs it). If you do not mind a little coffee grounds in the food than it is a great place. The best is probably the breakfast sandwiches, that are only kept for 2 days before being thrown away and are individually wrapped making them a great find, with each being 400-500 calories for the road. I take them with me on my rides and they also last all day in my bag not refrigerated and they are still good.

    My hats off to you and your ventures in the dumpster.

  3. #3
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    I really wish that people differentiated between pure trash, typical recyclables (cans, bottles, etc.), and then things other people can use. It is sad that just people can afford to waste, they do when they are so near others that would need it.

    Not really a tourer, though give me 30 years and I'll be there, just wanted to give you a *thumbs up*.

    By the way, books?!? I didn't think a bookstore would toss books; were they brand new?
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    unsold books are supposed to be destroyed

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    This is so interesting. I've heard of it but never done it. How do you choose a store, what time do you go, do you ever get in trouble? Would love to learn more!
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  6. #6
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    I need to supplement my "dumpster diving" with protein from road kill since most of what I find behind supermarkets is carbohydrate - usually over-processed bakery good chock full of trans-fats. I'm really careful about what I collect on the road, leaving anything too maggotty stictly alone. If the blood is still wet or better yet if I actually see the animal run over then I know that the meat will be fresh and last long enough to get to camp. Oh, and I only eat rabbits, deer, and squirrels. No possums, armadillos, or rats!

  7. #7
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I have dumpster dived and it is amazing what is thrown away. Unfortunately dumpsters around here are now often locked or have been replaced by compactors.

    That said I have not done this on tour and don't think it is that great of an option on most tours that I would do. Why? Well for one reason I can't see touring in urban areas. In the tiny towns that I am likely to stop in the pickings would be slim to nonexistent and the little stores are in need of the business. I need the stores too and would find it rude especially in that small town setting to use their ice machine, water, restroom, and root through their trash. What little I need on any given day amounts to a small amount of business to them.

    OTOH: If you are in big towns, I would have no qualms about diving in the dumpster of some soulless xmart or overpriced coffee place. The pickings would be better too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    I need to supplement my "dumpster diving" with protein from road kill since most of what I find behind supermarkets is carbohydrate - usually over-processed bakery good chock full of trans-fats. I'm really careful about what I collect on the road, leaving anything too maggotty stictly alone. If the blood is still wet or better yet if I actually see the animal run over then I know that the meat will be fresh and last long enough to get to camp. Oh, and I only eat rabbits, deer, and squirrels. No possums, armadillos, or rats!
    This is also interesting to me! How do you know that the animal wasn't sick or that there wasn't any contamination say from the intestines being split and fecal matter getting all over the meat? Or just from other things on the road... if I bought a steak and somehow managed to drop it on the road and then a truck ran over it I'm not sure I'd eat it.
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  9. #9
    But I don't like SPAM... BadKarma62's Avatar
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    I do believe that the roadkill idea was a joke. If it wasn't then we need to talk. But I have taken a deer that was crippled by a truck that left it there. I had to put it out of it's misery, broken back, and called the conservation agent and took it home. But squirrels and bunnies, too much of a mess to clean.

    A friend of mine did pick up a raccoon for the skin once, but it wasn't done with it yet!!!! Almost wrecked his truck when it came to. Talk about the fur flyin!!!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by avatarworf View Post
    Or just from other things on the road... if I bought a steak and somehow managed to drop it on the road and then a truck ran over it I'm not sure I'd eat it.
    The six-second rule applies.
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  11. #11
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    On our VW trip we used the shortwave radio found on top of the pile of our apartment complex dumpster. In that same dumpster I found a box of used books I traded to a bookstore for some Lonely Planet guidebooks we needed.

    While digging through the dumpster at our local bike shop (for a bike box to ship a bike sold on Ebay) I found piles of the current month cycling magazines with the UPC cut off.

    Back when we lived in a big apartment complex I remember that the end of the month when people were moving out the dumpster would be full of unbelievable stuff.
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  12. #12
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    You've heard of vegetarians (don't eat meat) and vegans (don't eat any animal products)... well, there are also freegans, who eat only free food --much of what comes from dumpsters.

    I have great admiration for all of these. I, personally, have a hard time with arbitrary dietary restrictions. To mix aphorisms: you mustn't look a free lunch in the mouth.

    I am a regular dumpster diver, but I specialize in bike parts and the like. The dumpsters I frequent don't usually have anything (still) edible.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadKarma62 View Post
    I do believe that the roadkill idea was a joke. If it wasn't then we need to talk. But I have taken a deer that was crippled by a truck that left it there. I had to put it out of it's misery, broken back, and called the conservation agent and took it home. But squirrels and bunnies, too much of a mess to clean.

    A friend of mine did pick up a raccoon for the skin once, but it wasn't done with it yet!!!! Almost wrecked his truck when it came to. Talk about the fur flyin!!!
    I don't know... was it a joke? I have heard people talk about it seriously and I'm pretty sure I've seen mention of it on touring sites before.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  14. #14
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    I come from post-war Europe where food was scarce and often rationed. It is indeed sickening to see how much food is wasted in our society.

    I'd rather see someone eat unwanted food than have it end up rotting in a landfill site.

  15. #15
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    Look, don't you think that eating decomposing road kill or competing with rats for food in dumpsters is unsafe? Here's the potpourri of nasties you can pick up from the habit - any one of them guaranteed to ruin your tour:

    http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodborne/

    Don't be foolish.

    Oh, and my post was indeed a joke. Putting down a deer and then eating it seems reasonable though.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by z415 View Post
    By the way, books?!? I didn't think a bookstore would toss books; were they brand new?
    they were brand new with the front covers ripped off, magazines too. They mail the covers back to the supplier to get credit for them. Cover art usually pisses me off anyway, because then my imagination is filled with someone else's idea of what the characters look like.

    bokerfest: my freezer is full of about 3 shopping bags of those brekfast sammiches! turkey bacon w/ multigrain bun, mmmm. the florentines are good too.

    cyclesafe: I don't have the knowledge to do the road kill thing yet... I wouldn't know how to skin/clean etc. but this is something i'll def look into. I've heard many stories of people getting deer from the side of the road. mmm.

    Avatarwolf: Personally i always go at night.. usually 11 or 12 so I can get the fresh stuff that the people have just thrown out at the end of the night. and i like to avoid confrontation too. That being said i've been to a lot of dumpsters that are right next to bars and people usually come out and see me, no one has ever said anything to me though. They usually walk quickly in the other direction, or hop in to thier cars asap, hehe. I'm sure people think "oh crap, he's so desperate he's eating from the trash! he might rob me!" hehe. It's the bum disguise.

    how I choose a place... i'm kind of a curious person so when i first started i just checked in every dumpster to see what kinda stuff they have. I think It matters more on the type of people that close the store than the business itself.. for example.. some starbucks do mix their coffee grinds in with the food they throw out. but the place i always go to now always uses a separate bag for food at the end of the night, so i don't have to deal with dirty food. Probably how the manager likes it or something, works for me! Just check out any place though.. personally i'll never try to get food out of a buffet dumpster again... tons of edible food, tons! but it's always all grossly mixed up with half eaten pieces and drinks... ewww.

  17. #17
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    Dumpsters near the dorms at the end of college semesters. Loads of free stuff being thrown away by lucky wasteful *******s. Once found an Al Merrick surfboard, and wetsuit with 300$ in the pocket. Learned to surf, and payed my rent. Cant beat that with a stick

    bin diving since age 10.

  18. #18
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    Roadkill might have been a joke in this post but not for some people. See what you can look up with free wifi? We are going back to the bikes tomorrow, honest...

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2123420_eat-roadkill.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/ja...ritishidentity - the roadkill recipe book!
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  19. #19
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm kinda grossed out.

    I do agree that we toss out a lot of very usable and/or fixable things, so I have no problems dumpster diving for objects. I draw the line at food though. Why?

    1) The better option is to convince food providers to donate their leftover products to local charities. This ensures that the food gets used, isn't spoiled, and encourages the businesses to be good citizens.
    2) There is only so much that a visual inspection can tell you about the quality of food. Spoilage is a real problem and potential health risk.
    3) Dumpster diving for food is not going to alter societal behavior or make a measurable impact on community habits. It might make you feel better but ultimately it is not a workable solution.
    4) As far as touring goes, getting a balanced diet is critical. Not sure how you can do that if you leave your dining choices to the whims of fate rather than selecting items in a store - especially when traveling in areas where stores are few and far between.
    5) Similar to staeph1, I think it's better that you try to give the locals a little bit of business when you visit their areas. It makes a better impression overall.

    By the way, while your actions are most likely legal in all cases, you still might get stopped and questioned (and potentially harassed) in some communities. Things like grease theft are becoming a problem, so if someone sees you rooting around the dumpster there's always a chance that someone, possibly even law enforcement, is going to get curious. So if you insist on doing it, just be prepared.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by avatarworf View Post
    I don't know... was it a joke? I have heard people talk about it seriously and I'm pretty sure I've seen mention of it on touring sites before.
    I am thinking this entire thread is a joke or either this thread is from posting of homeless people
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    I am thinking this entire thread is a joke or either this thread is from posting of homeless people
    Stan, I know it might be challenging, but could you attempt something approaching basic English literacy when espousing your judgemental opinions? Kthanx!

    yours,
    DC dumpsterdiver

  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    I am thinking this entire thread is a joke or either this thread is from posting of homeless people
    Dirt Rag magazine had a touring article last year that promoted dumpster diving, so it's probably legit. Also, dumpster diving comes up frequently on Living Car-free.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    My main beef with freeganism is that people who call themselves freegans are not usually the people who can't afford to buy food elsewhere. My city has a lot of genuinely poor and homeless people who have to scrounge to get enough to eat. Taking food out of a dumpster is literally taking food out of the mouth of someone who can't afford to buy any.
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  24. #24
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    This is far from a joke. The waste in this country is a disgrace. Still I don't really see it as a big help on tour.

    My Dad noticed that all of the stock of entire brands were being thrown out at the local grocery when a different chain bought the store out. He was financially fairly well off, but couldn't bear to see the waste. We were talking lots of brand new stock in sealed containers.

    He collected it, hauled it home on a bike with a huge basket, and redistributed much of it to folks who could use it. He found that after the big change was done they still threw out things like a whole case of shampoo because one bottle leaked over the others, or a case of cherries because the corner of the case was crushed, or stuff that was just out of date. It was way more stuff than one family could dream of using.

    Once he called me and asked if I wanted Ice cream . I filled my truck bed with ice cream in half gallons as well as boxes of bars. I loaded my freezer with what I wanted and told the local kids to come and get it. The truck was empty quick

    After quite a few years of his diving I asked about it and he said he was retired. He was in his later 70's then (He still rode, but didn't dive any more).

  25. #25
    Hooked on Touring
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    Thrift stores is ski towns like Aspen and Jackson.

    When the ski areas close in April they are deluged with more stuff than they can handle. (A lot of it high quality and/or hardly used) Inside the store the prices are rock bottom. Outside the store the dumpsters are full of stuff other thrift stores would sell.

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