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Moving soon? Trying to figure out how to move across the country and still be nice to the environment? Well, I'm moving this week so let's see what ideas I've come up with. ...continue reading "How to make your move environmentally friendly"

So, I don't know about you, but I have always been confused about why different food items have different types of dates written on them.  Some say best by.  Others say Sell by.  Then there is the ever helpful use by.  These labels are all different, but in my head I always just sort of lumped them together.  And then I end up ignoring them, because I just use my senses to decide what I can eat.  So I decided to look into these dates a little bit to figure out what those dates mean.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that in the United States the dates are not required by federal food label law, except for infant formula.  The inclusion of dates is mostly for manufacturers and retailers to know when to move product.  So I decided to dig a little deeper and here is what I learned. ...continue reading "Food Label Law: How to tell the difference between date labels"

What is the paleo diet?

The simple answer is it's a diet that emulates what paleolithic man eats.  I like the simple Crossfit answer of eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. There are many websites out there that talk about this in great detail.  Some sites out there are those by Loren Cordain or Robb Wolf. ...continue reading "How to: Using dumpster diving to eat paleo for cheap"

I've been asked many times over the years, how do you know the food you are getting is okay to eat?  After asking myself how they know the food they eat in general is okay to eat, I take a deep breath and try to explain.  Determining food quality is something you should do whether you got it from the fridge, the grocery store, or a restaurant.

While the main point of this article is about food quality no matter the source, remember the following when you are dumpster diving. Only take what you and those you feed will eat.  Assume someone might be coming along after you and they might find those items useful.  Wash your food when you get home no matter the source or cleanliness.  You never know who visited the food while it was in the field. Keep the dumpster area cleaner than you found it so there is no reason for a lock to be put on the dumpster.

...continue reading "How to: What do I take?"

Finding a dumpster diving location can be a tiring job.  Sometimes even if you have one, that source dries up and you need to start all over again.  Persevere and you can find many things that would have cost you $100s in the store.

Chains to look at

I've personally had good luck at Trader Joe's, Aldi's, Shoppers and Safeway.  Trader Joe's is usually a midnight trip since the employees are not happy that you are looking around in their dumpster.  I haven't been in awhile since I like my sleep and the dumpster near me usually has locks on it.  That means I have to go in through the top which isn't nearly as easy.

...continue reading "How to: Finding a dumpster diving location"

Why Should You Compost?

Composting is an excellent solution to dealing with food waste.  Composting helps keep foods out of landfills, thereby decreasing the methane output and pollution, as well as decreasing the sheer amount of items going to landfills.  If you have a garden and/or plants, composting can also help you generate healthy soil for those plants.
...continue reading "How to: Compost Your Food Waste"

Preparation

Dumpster diving is about finding items, but coming prepared in an important step.  Dumpster diving can be a dirty job so come dressed to get dirty.  This means old ratty clothing or maybe some coveralls.  Gloves are also a nice edition to the garb.  If you are diving at night, a headlamp or flashlight is also very important.  It's good to know what you are grabbing, and you always want to see into the dumpster in case there is broken glass or other dangerous items.  The last thing you might want to invest in is a grabber.  Sometimes you don't want to climb into the dumpster (especially if you are in sandals) but you can't reach the item at the bottom of the dumpster.  A grabber can be a useful tool to get those items.

Storage

When you go to the store, usually you are give plastic bags to take home your purchases.  Since you are not in the store, you do not get the benefit.  Come with something to put your items in.  These could be reusable bags, plastic bins, cardboard boxes, or old flower buckets you found in the trash.  I recommend

Flower bucket rescued from dumpster

having a large plastic bin as it holds a decent amount of stuff, is washable in case you got food that was dirty on the outside, and has no holes so if something is leaking, it contains all the mess.  Another item I try to keep on hand are old egg cartons.  Many times, I will see a dozen eggs in the dumpster where one egg is broken and there is egg all over the carton.  It is easiest to grab the good eggs and put them into my own carton that is clean.

I try to leave these items in my car so when I go dumpster diving, I have them with me.  Leaving them in my trunk means no can see them there, even if I always have them.  I of course bring in the bins when they are full, but try to bring them back out to the car when I've put the food away.  It also saves me from having to find a spot in the house to store the bins.

Purchasing

Since you might be wondering what types of things to purchase, I've compiled a list of suggestions from amazon.  These are not items I have personally purchased, but they are like some of the items I have at home.  If you are interested, please select the links below to purchase as it will help pay my costs of producing this blog.
Coveralls:  Dickies Coverall

Bins:  Amazon Tote

Grabber:  Amazon Grabber

Headlamp:  Amazon Headlamp

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.