Wednesday, January 11, 2012


In high school I had what one would call an "interesting" group of people I'd spend time with.
They would do "interesting" things.
Dumpster dive
yes...dumpster dive.
And the things they would find while diving 
such as a case of MSG (put out by McCormick Spices)
chips sealed in the bag, just past date...
or soda that the label was torn and couldn't be sold that way.
So I felt nostalgic when Netflix recommended a newer documentary called Dive!

I watched it.
Well, it was an hour long and if I had made a drinking game out of the times they had "filler shots" I would have been wearing a lampshade within the first 10 minutes (not that I have any tolerance, but you get what I'm talking about.) 
So out of an hour long documentary, you could have distilled about 30 minutes of content, which I will say was pretty good.  
Basically, they focused of Trader Joe's.
They seem to have a picky clientele, so when cans are damaged, veggies bruised, or one day before expiration, they all go in the dumpster.
And at night, they dive in to see what they can get.
A man fed his family of four entirely off of dumpster food (well 3 including a pregnant wife and then a family of four)
He bought freezers to contain it, and his wife spoke of her rush to preserve items in order to use it all.
Then he saw what he could do to help others.
He coordinated with groceries and food banks and shelters.
He got in a disagreement with Trader Joe's.
He researched how much food goes into landfills (insert about 15 minutes of bulldozers pushing trash around a dump.)
He researched farm waste and found it to be about 50%.
Yikes, that's a lot.
Then a few days later I caught a food network special about their chefs using only discarded food to cook a gourmet meal in order to bring awareness to food waste.
The food the places in both shows that was found wasted appalled me.
Even my husband, a notoriously picky (although on the rebound) eater said that all that pseudo trash was a waste.
I explained that often I go to the farmer's market during the season and will ask them for seconds for the next week.  They are cheaper, they are still good, and it reduces that waste stream...
Just try it...often they are happy getting rid of those seconds.  Also, I found that if I go to the end of the market (final half hour or so) I am much more likely to get the farmer (especially since I go each week) begging me to take things that won't keep until the next day when the market goes to another area.  They know I will find a way to use it.  They know it's appreciated, and they know that I will buy firsts of this and that.  
But diving
"Man, I'm to old for that stuff."


  1. Your blog about the documentary "Dive" encouraged me to watch the documentary, which I am doing now as I comment! When my sons were younger we lived in Nebraska City, the oldest of my sons began working at a local grocery store. The owner would sell me the fruit produce at $.10 a pound he would otherwise be required to throwout. He really hated throwing out good food because it could still be eaten so I would bring it home and freeze it for desserts. It was great!

  2. I saw that advertised on Netflix and thought it looked interesting. I do wonder how they find the comfort zone for meat. How do they know when it has been in the dumpster too long and has gone sour or bad?


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