Dumpster divers

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Dumpster diving is looking for goods, and possibly food, in dumpsters. In many Western countries it is possible to find perfectly good food, right in front of supermarkets, or a bit more hidden away. On Trustroots you can join almost 10,000 dumpster divers.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Bring a bottle of water, to wash your hands when you dive into bags of fruits and vegetables
  • Always make sure you don't make a mess (i.e. open and close bags nicely)
  • In the unlikely case you did not manage to find a couch and need to sleep on the street: Look for recycling bins to get cardboard for sleeping in
  • When walking in big cities there's always something to dive, be it an abandoned skateboard, or someone putting their whole household on the street.
  • Consider when people will be moving in/out of apartments. For instance, in a city with a lot of university students, the first of the month near the start or end of the school term is a great time to go dumpster diving. Notice when students are moving out of dorms and what day the school's graduation is. Graduating seniors often trash especially nice stuff, since they will not be returning the following year.
  • Dumpster diving may be illegal in certain places, but enforcement is rare. In either case you may want to keep an eye out for police or unsympathetic property owners


away valuable goodies, so the dumpster it is!

  • Boston on September 1st is flooded with abandoned stuff from student apartments and dorms. Go across the river to check out the Cambridge universities as well.
  • Nashville has many universities and plenty of full dumpsters at the end of spring semester. Vanderbilt University dorms are an especially good place to look.
  • London is good - check out the up market food outlets such as 'Pret'.
  • Denmark got www.gratismad.com with maps of different parts of the country and the freegans.forumup.dk/ forum.
  • Aalborg got a map of places to dive here: Skraldekort Aalborg Blue is good. Yellow is less good or there are some obstacle. Red needs checking up on. Green are cool places to check out which are not diving spots.
  • Oslo is definitely up there with Amsterdam. People here have too much money and can't be bothered with using time to give

It's also worth remembering that dumpster diving and / or sleeping rough may be illegal. It's worth checking before you reach a place if you're really stuck for somewhere to sleep. Sleeping somewhere more public might be safer, but you may end up in trouble with the authorities, while somewhere more secluded might be more dangerous. If you're really stuck try finding a homeless shelter or somewhere else you might be able to sleep in safety.

  • Fast food chains have a policy towards dumping all prepared foods when closing, therefore it is possible to find sealed and untainted foods in some of the top bags. Though some have policies against takign the trash out after dark, so you will not find much.
  • Some Restaurants are obligated to dump the time specials (breakfast) after the shift is done making it possible to find bread and others that may last longer and might be stored for future needs.
  • Most bakers throw away perfectly good bread and other baked goods simply because it is too close to it's experation date, and this food is usually good to eat for at least another day or two.


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