Dumpster Diving

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Frita
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Frita »

@EdithKeeler
I love you story of finding books and selling them. Our dollar store tapes up cut items and sells for 25 to 50 cents. They also sell dented cans, past holiday items, and about to expire stuff. I have bought some things from time-to-time, all seem fine.

@Jason
Ugh, imagining being trapped in a dumpster with a bear is enough to give me pause.

In our community the soup kitchen goes to each store to recover this food. Since leaving the BS job, I volunteer (mostly food prep and making desserts, salads, etc.) more there. They encourage volunteers to eat with our clients, which took me a couple years to try and I enjoy it. The food is delicious as there is a real chef/nutritionist cooking. Most days when I go, they send me home with a box of organic baby greens or loaf of wheat or multigrain Oroweat bread. I used to decline as it was expired but gave it a try the last month or so. There has been nothing wrong with the items. In another place, I imagine this stuff would be in the dumpster. (Note: Food insecurity is the highest in the state here. I am continually surprised who I see showing up at the soup kitchen, some homeless but lots of working folks, some of whom I know from elsewhere.)


Colibri
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:26 am
Location: Northern Canada

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Colibri »

Wow, that's a big baby (talking about the bear).

When dumpster diving, it is good to have a personal code of conduct. To each their own but for my part I don't actually go inside the dumpster, instead I bring some tools so I can harvest what I want while keeping my two feet on the ground.
Never compete with other living creatures already busy at the dumpster ( human or bear ).
If it looks bad/rotten, well it is probably bad/rotten. Don't pick it.

I am currently working on setting up a community fridge in my neighbourhood, so maybe, just maybe, less food will end up in the dumpster.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

How does a community fridge work? I am familiar with a free pantry next to the sidewalk but not a fridge. Do you put it in your front yard and plug it in?

Colibri
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:26 am
Location: Northern Canada

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Colibri »

A community fridge is almost always placed in an public building/space so people are free to give or take food from the fridge, ideally 24/7. To put it in your front yard would not be the best option as you probably don't want a bunch of strangers coming to your place. Also, if you live with wild animal in your neighbourhood, you don't want it in your front yard so Ricky the Raccon get a free lunch.

There are various options as for which food can be accepted in the fridge.
I am currently waiting to hear back from my local environment health office to know if they have any objections with the fridge which will have only category 1 and 2 food in it ( hazardous food scale, 1 is low (fruits), 4 is high (raw fish)). That means only raw or frozen vegetables and fruits and commercial bread/pastry. For canned food and such there is the local food bank. Which is very different from a community fridge. Of course, you need people/volunteers to keep the fridge clean and make sure rules are followed.

https://www.hubbub.org.uk/the-community-fridge

The UK has many community fridges and here in Canada, Quebec seems to lead the way with 15 of them.

Colibri
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:26 am
Location: Northern Canada

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Colibri »

In those times of Covid, I was not sure to resume dumpster diving but I finally did.

Nice catch last night : mushrooms, kale, shallots, squash, pear, bell peppers and two pommegranates. There is only vegetables and fruits in that particular dumpster.
Winter is here now and daily temperature are below zero so food keep longer in the dumpster. It is all frozen thought, and then I plunge almost eveyrhting in boiling water for 5 - 10 minutes. Most vegetables and fruits can handle it so far.

My plan is to make vegetarian chili with the bell peppers and mushrooms. Asian style soup with the kale, shallots and some of the mushrooms. Fruit salad with the pear and pommegranate seeds. The squash can wait. I have a lot of shallots and offered some to a friend, will see if she will accept "garbage" food. :oops:

What are your thoughts about Covid and DD ? (I am fortunate enought to live in a region with very low cases)

ertyu
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by ertyu »

My thoughts are that covid is less infectious off of surfaces than it is from the air droplets of an idiot whose mask is under his nose. DD might actually be safer during covid than physically going to the store.

Loner
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Loner »

Nicely done, what a find. I wouldn't worry too, too much. As pointed out by Ertyu, I guess it can't be much worse (in COVID risk), than the food that's actually in the store being touched and coughed onto by customers. Especially if you cook it well. I would be more worried about other risk (contamination with meat, etc.).

In my case, I'm more opportunistic, and I don't regularly or systematically DD, but I passed in front of a bike shop on a bike ride some weeks ago, and I found a bunch of wheels in the trash. I brought back four. One of them was true but had a broken spoke. It's on classifieds. One was tacoed and another one had a broken axle, so I switched the tacoed wheel's axle in the straight one, and sold it for 50$. I also found an old carbon Zipp 404 wheel with a broken spoke. They have straight pull spokes, and I couldn't find one of the right size, so I took a j-bend spoke and unbent it, installed in in the wheel, and sold it for 150 $ (i.e. cheap; it sold itself in minutes). WRT to COVID risk, I just made sure to wash my hands (and the wheels) properly.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Likely safer than grocery shopping in the store, unless you make poor choices regarding diving companions or maybe if there are bats shitting near the dumpster. You might also want to consider getting tetanus booster.

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jennypenny
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Location: Stepford USA

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by jennypenny »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:15 am
You might also want to consider getting tetanus booster.
That's what I was thinking ... your chances of getting a nasty scrape or rodent bite that needs attention are much more likely than getting covid.

That said, I'm cooking, blanching, or peeling everything I buy right now.

Colibri
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:26 am
Location: Northern Canada

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Colibri »

Yes, rodent, bats shit or cuts... I didn't think about those potential hazards, thanks. If I limit my DD to winter season that should take car of bats shit ( they are hibernating or gone south). As for the rodent, the dumpster seems rodent proof and pretty clean. I will pay attention next time if I can see animal tracks in the snow going to the dumpster. I dive by myself.
I also wear many layers of clothing to keep warm and heavy gloves, I think the risk of cuts is fairly low. Got a tetanus shot 8 years ago, I think it was good for 10 years... will need to check this soon, thanks for the reminder.

My biggest fear is a social one, what if someone comes and ask me what I am doing ? Or just the thoughts that people see me doing what I am doing... societal norms saying you are not suppose to get your food in a dumpster (and if you do it is shameful) is pretty hard wired. I am having fun doing this but my mind is not 100% clear of shame/fear/whatever in this time of extreme sanitization paranoïa. (I am not saying you are paranoid jennypenny, I don't know anything about your reality).

@Loner, Wow, you also got a good score. It demonstrates how useful it can be to have bike fixing skills !

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Colibri wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:39 pm
My biggest fear is a social one, what if someone comes and ask me what I am doing ?
I am not an expert but I would explain what you are doing and assure them you won't leave a mess. Don't come off as a weirdo or a threat or a criminal. Be prepared to say "yes sir" and walk away if the dumpster owner, the police, or a busybody tells you to leave. It may be helpful to know local laws if they are on your side but I wouldn't argue even if you are in the right.

There used to be a good dumpster diving subreddit years ago with info on this kind of thing. Not sure of the name.

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Ego
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Ego »

One of the sellers at the swap meet has gradually become the king of dumpster divers. This past weekend a group of us stood in front of his stall as he unloaded his van and discussed our various theories on how he gains access to the dumpsters. He somehow gets his hands on stuff from an unbelievable assortment of industrial sites, biotech manufacturers, custom electronics fabricators and military contractors. He always has the best half-used specialty 3M products and seems to get switches, gauges, tools, precision fasteners and dismantled control panels from crazy devices. Somehow he fit the dismantled pieces of an industrial CNC milling machine into his van on Sunday and we tried to figure out if it was all there. Half the fun of buying from him is trying to learn about what the heck it is you are buying.

This week I bought a box full of various books from him. He managed to get access to the dumpster of an industrial certification institute. The books are their 2021 certification manuals that have not yet been released. They each have a slight crease across the front cover as if they were the top copy in a stack that was banded together.

One of guys thought maybe he is a night security guard with access to gated facilities. Another thought he is good at picking locks and knows which dumpsters are not watched by security. He is an outgoing, friendly guy so he may just social engineer relationships with those doing the dumping. I don't know. After scoring with the books I decided I am going to pay more attention to him and will report here what he brings.
Last edited by Ego on Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Loner
Posts: 165
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Loner »

Yeah, I'd just be honest about it. If you explain the idea behind it (prevent food waste, etc.) with a big smile, you might still be considered somewhat eccentric, but you should be fine. At worse, I guess they'd wag a finger at you, tell you not to come back, and leave it at that. OTOH, if you're shifty and you avoid their eyes while you explain in a trembling voice that you dropped your glasses in the container, that's when things could get strange. Transparence is the best policy.

Coming from a small town, though, I can understand the Colibri-feeds-herself-in-a-dumpster concern. In the event that the word goes around, I suppose there's only twos ways to deal with it (which can be used concurrently): embrace one's weirdness and to hell with the rest; explain one's motivation to other people in a persuasive, irresistible manner. In any event, the popular wisdom is right on this. Some people will disparage you whatever you do, so you might as well act with brazen nonchalance.

Loner
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Loner »

Ego wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:42 pm
One of guys thought maybe he is a night security guard with access to gated facilities. Another thought he is good at picking locks and knows which dumpsters are not watched by security.
Some guy I met around here, also the outgoing-friendly type, simply goes to stores and says "Hey, I collect trash for recycling the metal, if you have some stuff to get rid of, here's my number." He keeps the nice stuff, and indeed sells the rest for recycling. He got an electric bike that way (it had a slight defect that I forgot about), and also, IIRC, a Marinoni bike (slightly scratched). Some other stuff as well but I forgot. I sure as hell would be interested in knowing how your guy gets his stuff. If he doesn't go through official channels, he's pretty daring. Risk pays :lol:

7Wannabe5
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

If you were insanely social and also a good pick-up cook, you could just go door to door in residential areas dressed in a chef’s hat and apron, offering to cook up anything going to waste in fridge or pantry.

catpepper
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by catpepper »

My parents are pretty poor, so they've been dumpster diving for decades. I grew up eating dumpster fruits and veggies. There's really a ton of wastage out there. My favourite item from the dumpster that my dad brought home was a pair of technics speakers that seem like it was made in the 80s or 90s. It sounded awesome that I still kept them till today.

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Ego
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Ego »

Loner wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:53 pm
I sure as hell would be interested in knowing how your guy gets his stuff. If he doesn't go through official channels, he's pretty daring. Risk pays :lol:
Your post prompted me to google the organization from which the books came. Satellite view on Google Maps shows it is as a vanilla industrial park with no fences and what looks like three blue rolling recycle bins in the back alley. Hah! Simple as pie. It is way too far for me to travel regularly but good to know.

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Laura Ingalls »

@Ego very interesting about the CNC equipment. I have a couple people in my extended family that would love to get their mitts on something like that.

Loner
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Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Loner »

Amazing. Guess I'll have to go have a look in industrial parks, then.

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