Monday, January 08, 2007

Dumpster Diving

I was at my friend Tim's house on Saturday night for his birthday. Tim is well-known amongst my group of friends as being an avid dumpster diver.

Dumpster diving is the action of rummaging through garbage, refuse or dumpsters to get valuable (or atleast, valuable to the diver) items. Some people do it spontaneously, some people plan and some people actually do their grocery shopping this way.

Tim is one of those people. Most things he pulls from boxes or bags (ie never touched other garbage in the dump) and gives it a good wash when he gets home (if it's fresh fruits/vegetables). Some grocery chains throw out food that is within a few days of being expired, so it is still good to eat. And sometimes, you hit the jackpot. In fact, on this particular evening, we all enjoyed a case of wine Tim pulled from Trader Joe's. It might sound gross, but Tim is adament that he's "never gotten sick from dumpster food."

And he's eaten sushi from it, too.

While he doesn't do it all the time, he and his friends offered a few key tips:
1) choose dumpsters from high-end groceries and bakeries that are located a fair distance away from metro stops. Homeless people tend to congregate around the metro (it's warmer) and hence, the pickings are slim.

2) Go after 11pm when stores are done throwing things out for the night.

3) Check your local laws. In California, police can't pick you up for taking garbage (hello, it's garbage!) but some states can. In Tim's case, he knows all the beat cops :)

4) Wash wash wash!

In reality, while I don't know if I would do it with food, who hasn't walked by the berm, seen that chair with the crooked arm and taken it home? I know I have (heck, I got one of my favorite college easy chairs that way!)

Anyway, that was today's brief look into counter-culture.

Ahhh! Life in the city!


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