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bag of bagels found in the dumpster

I've been busy this week and only made it to the dumpster a couple of times.  I didn't get a whole lot, but a quick trip to the Shoppers dumpster yielded me a bag of bagels.  With a 10 minutes stop, I was able to grab a whole bag of these goodies which yielded me 25 bagels.  Since I don't eat gluten, these will be a nice gift to my family the next time I visit.  I packaged them up in a few gallon freezer bags I collected from a different trip and they are in the freezer waiting to be consumed.

Before you start dumpster diving, make sure you know the laws about dumpster diving.  As explained by freegan.info, dumpster diving was deemed to be legal in an 1988 supreme court ruling.  That said, if the dumpster has "No Trespassing" signs, is behind a locked fence, or locked itself, then you can get in trouble for trespassing. Know the laws specific to your area as certain municipalities may have stricter laws that could get you in hot water.

But the dumpster has a lock

If you see a lock on a dumpster, don't just assume it is locked.  I've been to many dumpsters that has a lock on the sides, but the top is perfectly accessible.  I've also been to dumpsters that have had locks on them, but they are not locked.  As long as you are see no "No Tresspassing" signs and the dumpster is not actually locked, it is fair game.

Keep the dumpster clean and try not to be invasive.  If someone asks you to move along, do so.  These are the best ways to keep from getting in trouble.  Clean up after yourself.  As I've been dumpster diving, I've been asked more than once, "You are cleaning up this mess right?" of which I always do.  I've had people tell me to get lost, and I've had people help me find things.  It all depends on who you come across, but try not to be confrontational if you want success.

label for food recall

Pork Rinds & Snacks, LLC, a Spartanburg, S.C. establishment, is recalling pork skin products that may be contaminated with Salmonella.  The products being recalled are:

  • WALLACE’S OLD FASHIONED FRIED PORK SKINS FLAVORED WITH Salsa & Sour Cream SEASONING CHICHARRONES
  • WALLACE’S OLD FASHIONED FRIED PORK SKINS FLAVORED WITH SALSA & SOUR CREAM SEASONING CHICHARRONES
  • COUNTRY TIME Old Fashioned Fried PORK SKINS CHICHARRONES SALSA & SOUR CREAM FLAVOR

These products are available at various retailers in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

No confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions have been found due to consumption of these products.  Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

If you are looking for food today, be careful to avoid these products.

Labels for recalled meat
Look out for these labels when searching for the recalled meat

Atlas Meat Company, a Fort Collins, Colo. establishment, is recalling pork sausage products due to misbranding according to the FSIS.  The products may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is not declared on the product label.

The FSIS has recalled the following products: Atlas Meat Pork Breakfast Sausage and Atlas Meat Pork Italian Sausage.  These items are available at various retailers in Colorado and Wyoming.  If MSG isn't a problem for you, go check your dumpster for these items as they are likely still good, but cannot be sold.

As someone who likes to eat, I think about food a lot.  And especially food waste.  Food is lost or wasted all along the chain from farm production to consumers throwing out unfinished food.  As a dumpster diver, I am going to focus on retail waste.

When you go to the grocery store, you see plenty of food, indicating that you can take as much as you want.  But what happens to the stuff that nobody wants?  What happens when the extra goes bad?  What happens when an employee drops a box of eggs or olive oil?  All of those items are thrown into the dumpster.  All of those situations lead to still perfectly good and edible products ending up in the dumpster.

Food waste inside the dumpster
Although much found in dumpsters is actual trash, you also find some things that are edible and useful, like the watermelon visible on the top.

While some grocery stores work with homeless shelters and set aside some dumpster-bound products, this is not the norm.  Often, one day you will find boxes full of one product (like eggs, or broccoli) and the next day boxes of a different product.

According to the EPA and USDA, 95% of food waste generated goes to landfills.  In the landfill, food waste makes up about 14% of all waste. Food is a major contributor to methane production, which is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2.  If 31% of food produced is wasted, and 95% of that ends up in a landfill, that equates to about 33 million tons of food waste going to landfills in the US every year.  Although we hear about food waste going to land fills and contributing to methane production and therefore pollution, many people do not realize that this is what happens with all of the food wasted from grocery stores.  All of the unbought food goes straight to the landfill, unless someone pulls it from the dumpster first.

Dumpster diving is one way that we can decrease the amount of food waste and pollution caused by retailers.  For all those gardeners or small livestock farmers out there who don't want to eat the dumpster food themselves, go talk to your local grocer to try to collect that waste, or collect it yourself from the dumpster, to use in either a compost pile or to feed your animals.  Many grocery stores do not care what happens to their products once they enter the dumpster and some are even willing to help you out.