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dumpster diving on a bike

Old 01-15-04, 05:46 PM
  #1  
gqsmoothie
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dumpster diving on a bike

Hey everyone I eat trash- doesn't that sound crazy, well, it's not, you'll see if you take the time to look in a supermarket dumpster.

While commuting around Raleigh NC I pass Food Lion and Winn Dixie grocery stores frequently. It feels great to load up my panniers with ( i got all this today) 4 bags of Fritos(expire tonight at midnight), a bag full of oranges(one was moldy so they toss em all), and a loaf of bread that had a tiny tear in the packaging.

I find dumpstering to be just another way of combating the wastefullness of the U$A.

You all should really check out a dumpster, it's amazing the amount of edible food they toss daily.

GQ
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Old 01-15-04, 06:42 PM
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lol, that's weird
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Old 01-15-04, 06:45 PM
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No thanks
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Old 01-15-04, 06:56 PM
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I think I'll have to politely decline your offer.
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Old 01-15-04, 07:45 PM
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I rather go dumpster diving for bicycles.
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Old 01-15-04, 08:24 PM
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sad sad sad

People go hungry every night and these jack asses are throwing food out. Stuff like that mad. Although i have to admit im not ready to take a dive for food. pehaps you could persaude the manager to let you pick through things before they trash them.
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Old 01-15-04, 08:37 PM
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In Seattle they started letting homeless activists dumpster dive for food a few years ago. For a while (thye may even still be doing it) once a month local chefs would get together and make gourmet meals from it as a fund raiser. I think it is a terrible waste of food. My local QFC doesn't throw anything out they donate all there food to the local food bank.

Now about 20 years ago when I was a poor starving student I knew a guy that was a steward for Amtrak. He told me that by law they were required to throw out all the food on the train at the end of it run. We used to hit the dumpsters for a while you would find steaks and roasts still in there sealed bags. Produce a pleanty you name it it pretty much was there, except dry goods. We ate like kings for a long time until the bastards starting locking the dumpsters.
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Old 01-15-04, 09:24 PM
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Dumpster diving is one of my favorite past times
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Old 01-15-04, 10:01 PM
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If I were really desperate I would do it. Years ago while working at McDonald's as a teenager I noticed all the food thrown out. Every night we would throw out a garbage bag of burgers and other stuff that had sat too long in the bin without being sold. Think the time limit back then was 5 or 6 minutes for burgers.
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Old 01-15-04, 11:10 PM
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Aw man that's disgusting...

Heh I remember diving for passwords, credit card numbers, misc. electronics, etc.

Food dumpsters are especially dirty, I wouldn't want to eat the food after I'm covered in puke and filth after diving in. Especially the dumpsters in NYC.

I did, however, work in a soup kitchen for the homeless at a church. Supermarkets donate said food products that you mentioned would expire that day. A lot of food products have "sell by" dates, which does not automatically translate into "consume by". As a result, they usually have shelf life past the sell by date. Quite a few local places donate it to us and they get a nice write off.

We used to get a couple hundred cans of food, almost 100 lbs of dry pasta, meat, 3-4 garbage bags of bread, doughnuts, whatnot, fruit, every week. Sometimes they'd even donate plates, eating utensils, spices, etc.

The food we made for the homeless was infinitely better than mcdonalds and rivaled most mid-classed restaurants.

I remember my relatives in china were well off but piss poor. Back then, they'd have rice and if they had chicken wing tips (not the wing, but the tip of it, you know what I mean), that'd be a good meal. My cousin said than on more than one occasion, he'd have to share the single wing tip between like 3 people. And these weren't people you'd find scratching out a living in huts. My cousin had a phd in marine biology and 2 other people in his family had degrees in computer science and electrical engineering.

Long story short, he came here, ended up getting a masters in math and now works at a bank calculating interest rates or something like that, makes near a quarter mil a year and he's still stingy as ever just because of what he had grown up with.

It's really sad how much food we throw away, literally hundreds of thousands of tons every day.

I got sick thinking about the hundreds of millions of pounds of good beef that were thrown away because of a 1:500000 chance someone would get mad cow and no one bothered to keep track of where the meat came from.

I mean come on, your chances of dying in a car are probably 100x greater, why don't we go apesh*t about that.
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Old 01-16-04, 03:25 AM
  #11  
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The image of dumpster diving for food is probably worse than the reality. Imagine whole piles of bread and other food still in wrappers and maybe even cans. I don't think our friend here is talking about picking cigarette butts out of mashed potatoes.

When I was a teen working at a burger/pizza resturaunt, I found a homeless guy picking through our trash for food. I told him to come back the next day too. From that time forward, we kept all the clean, good food that would normally have gone into the trash separate and we put it in a special spot for him - all tidy in bags in a special box. This was stuff like burgers that sat under the heat lamp for more than 10 minutes or pizza that had onions and the customer complained "I didn't want onions, nya nya nya"; stuff like that.

We would have done more, but the boss man was not so sympathetic.
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Old 01-16-04, 07:57 AM
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It depends where you dive. Nice bakeries and restaurants, you can actually go in there and ask and they'll give it to you.

Other places just throw it out in the same dumpster as everything else. Meaning you're gonna have to dig through the torn bags (no one seems to understand that dragging the bags across concrete will tear them) of rotting cabbage, that brown puke water that's a combination of veggie water, hog fat, animal guts and blood, and god knows what else is in there.

Not to mention the cost of food is severely offset by the cost of medical care when you get shanked by a 4" crack needle...
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Old 01-16-04, 08:50 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by slvoid
It depends where you dive. Nice bakeries and restaurants, you can actually go in there and ask and they'll give it to you.

Other places just throw it out in the same dumpster as everything else. Meaning you're gonna have to dig through the torn bags (no one seems to understand that dragging the bags across concrete will tear them) of rotting cabbage, that brown puke water that's a combination of veggie water, hog fat, animal guts and blood, and god knows what else is in there.

Not to mention the cost of food is severely offset by the cost of medical care when you get shanked by a 4" crack needle...
This is a good point. I'm not afraid of the sealed, fresh food in a dumpster, if you wash the packaging carefully. But the idea of getting a gash from a sharp object or part of the dumpster brings to mind the risk of serious infection.

Not trying to scare anyone, just think it's wise to be careful.

Overall, it's a crime that food is thrown out. Give it to me, I'll eat it!
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Old 01-16-04, 09:38 AM
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I'm all for dumpster diving. I'm vegan by choice, but if I were in a bind I wouldn't be so choosy. I guess that would make me a freegan.
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Old 01-16-04, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by gonesh9
I guess that would make me a freegan.
I believe that is the term they use here. We have some who choose to dive, as they think it is unethical to waste perfectly good food. They are fairly frequently interviewed in the local media.

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Old 01-16-04, 12:41 PM
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Alrighty, it's not like I'm digging through bags of blood and rotten food. Nope, last night, there was a cardboard box full of produce that had been slightly damaged. A person everynight goes through the produce area and picks out all of the stuff with a slight bruise, tear, etc. Then they put it nicely in the dumpster. With the temperature in the 40s last night, the food stays good. In the afternoons in the summer the food can go nasty in a few hours in the direct sun.
As far as dumpsters being dirty-well the ones that I get my grub outta are clean.

Midweastmtnbiker, forum rider, paige, and most especially slvoid- get outta your middle class(just assuming), trained behavior and look in the damn dumpster of a supermarket before you say it's "disgusting" or some other lame comment. I can guarantee(well, maybe not guarantee but you get the point) you that I eat more healthy food than you all who go to some trendy Whole Foods or something and pay $4 for a quart of strawberries(just an ex.)

I hope this wasn't to attacking, but quit make assumptions.
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Old 01-16-04, 12:53 PM
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Well, why not?

If the bin is reasonably clean, and you can get past the stigma, what the heck.
Preventing good food from being wasted and nourishing yourself
without expending cash is a good thing, as long as they don't arrest
you for vagrancy or something.
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Old 01-16-04, 01:17 PM
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Yeah, they have those kids down in Bloomington (College town- go figure). Here in Indy, people only do it because they need to.
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Old 01-16-04, 02:25 PM
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I live across the street from a place called, "The Lord's Diner", here in Wichita. The deal is, anyone can get one free meal a day there. I have been there twice when money was scarce. It's not bad food, very bland, but not bad at all. They get a lot of their food donated and they do a great job on very little, too bad we couldn't turn the government into a volunteer organization.
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Old 01-16-04, 02:38 PM
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I guess I'll share todays find at school.

There was about 5 minutes left in the lunch period and these girls came in with a full pizza, me knowing they couldnt eat it all I kept an eye on them. Just as I expected, when the bell rang they threw 5 of 8 slices away(still in the box) so me and my friends all enjoyed great warm pizza.

There's something so gratifying about finding and eating food that would otherwise be wasted.
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Old 01-16-04, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Davek
I guess I'll share todays find at school.

There was about 5 minutes left in the lunch period and these girls came in with a full pizza, me knowing they couldnt eat it all I kept an eye on them. Just as I expected, when the bell rang they threw 5 of 8 slices away(still in the box) so me and my friends all enjoyed great warm pizza.

There's something so gratifying about finding and eating food that would otherwise be wasted.
Hee hee. Now that is a legitimate dive!
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Old 01-16-04, 07:20 PM
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A few points here.
1. It is a legal issue for most establishments. I know, my parents were in the food industry and I worked it for 27 years of my life. W used to be very easy going about food thrown out - place it in separate bags, keep it on the side of the dumpsters so as not to get contaminated, etc. We knew the needy would come around later in the night. But then it started, legally, even though you have thrown something out, you are still responsible. So, if someone gets sick, hurt, whatever, you get sewed. So we had to start making sure that all food was truly – trashed. In other words we put it all in the dumpsters without bags. The trash pickup hated it, we hated it, I especially hated it because I would have to clean those dumpsters every week.
2. I was in whole foods 10 minutes before closing, went to the bakery area and saw quite a bit of bread there. I asked what they did when they had so much left over. They stated, "we throw it out". I couldn’t believe it – throw out bread you just baked off that morning? I asked – what about wrapping it up in plastic like you would anyway when someone purchases it, and offer it at 30-50% off as day olds, (my families shop did this with donuts and buns)? They said it was policy and asked if I would buy it? I said I would and then asked at what time did they throw all this out – "30 minutes after closing every night." When I am hungry or riding by on my commute, you know where to get a good snack,
3. I ask stores, diners, etc. why they don’t donate the left-overs. It is the same story over and over – legally they are still responsible. I know this from when we used to cater and do parties, But we usually took the chance and drove by the shelter on the way back from a job if there was substantial food left over. Granted, you just have to use good judgement, basically asking yourself, "would I eat this in a few more hours and not worry?" If it was a hot day and its cream, fish, meats, etc… it went in the can… but then there are more days when you really can make a difference to others.

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Old 01-16-04, 07:41 PM
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Haha for someone who's family makes $18,000 a year, if you think I'm middle class, you're living in the wrong place man.

As for you, gqsmoothie, I think you're making a lot more assumptions than I am. When I was younger, I used to dive around for stuff too and like I said, it depends a lot on where you go. Behind supemarkets and restaurants here, it's pretty disgusting. I've actually seen the dumpsters around here. I can't say for where you are but you ask ANYONE in NYC about the juice that runs out of the thousands of garbage trucks around here, it's the same stuff in the dumpster.

I find it's utterly stupid that you would choose to attack being safe than sorry. That's like saying, "round here where I live, there are no cars on the road and you always fall on your side, you're all morons for advocating helmets."

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Old 01-16-04, 08:31 PM
  #24  
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GQ, more power to ya and all the others who actually think about how much we waste in the US. As for standards in cleanliness and food service standards, I think a few of you need to take your bikes on a little trip south of the border for a few months, then come back and tell me what is 'gross' and what you can live with. Also, you'll have (or should have) a different outlook on what and how you consume, yourself.

Seems like a lot of you have mentioned being a part of programs some time or another that take this unnessesary waste and make good use out of it. Cool. I had a good experience with an organization called Food Not Bombs which did the same thing, took just-expired produce and turned it into great vegetarian meals for the homeless and hungry. www.foodnotbombs.org There may be a group in your area.
I think a lot of this wasting from bakeries and groceries has to do with them responding to our consumer habits. We overlook produce that isn't shining bright or has a bruise or scar, so they know they cannot sell the stuff. Also the bit about liability on selling or giving away 'old' food is another one. If we weren't so sue-happy in the US, I think things would be a lot different. Sure, they might be different in bad ways, like more people would be stepping into uncovered manholes and all that, but hey, watch where your going!

I am glad people are thinking about waste issues. I wish more people would. The way these companies package our food is rediculous and should not be supported. In my opinion it should be outlawed. I think companies that use plastics in their packaging should have to pay for recycling programs and should be taxed if the packaging is not recyclable. Oh man, this turned into quite the rant.

I support dumpster diving. But sure, use common sense, if you can ask for the stuff before it goes in the trash, of course it is better that way. And leave the syrupy stanky bins for the rats, roaches, and bacteria, they need to eat too.

Peace

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Old 01-16-04, 10:04 PM
  #25  
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Yea, some bakeries will hand it over if you ask at the end of the day, some will put it in a bag and throw it out front instead of in a dumpster.

When I worked at the soup kitchen, the "just-expired" produce was actually just expired from the sell-by date, not the consume by date. Which means the food's still perfectly good, lots of times we'd just sit down and eat with the homeless, hell we cooked the food, at least we know it's good unlike some restaurants.
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