First published on 11 Feb 2013. Updated on 14 Feb 2013.
The skinny on dumpster diving
Why eat out of a bin?
Why not? Skips contain food that has reached its use-by date, day-old bread, and fruit that is just too ugly to sell by supermarket standards. Swallow your pride, and snag a free bun!
But why doesn't it go to charity?
A lot does. Most of the big supermarkets donate safe produce to SecondBite, who redistribute the goods to food programmes. Coles spokesman John Church says: “We’ve diverted 7,500 tonnes of produce from going to landfi ll since 2010.” But there’s always overfl ow, and sometimes a lot.
So is diving illegal?
No! According to Inspector Ian Geddes of Victoria Police, “The owner has relinquished their rights to the goods by throwing them away.” City of Melbourne’s spokesperson says, “From a civil perspective, the issue of a person removing material from a dumpster is between the supermarket and that person.” So, if you’re not trespassing, breaking locks, and the store doesn’t ask you to leave, you’re OK. Although Church says, “It’s not something we encourage – climbing into big heavy bins simply isn’t safe.”
You’ll find plenty of divers through sites like Facebook and Couchsurfing who can give you maps and good times to go. Just search for “freegan”. Been a hot day? Maybe you don’t want that ham/sushi/milk. Use your nose first, mouth second.
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