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Dumpster Diving for Food

Updated on January 18, 2019
Annsalo profile image

Wife and mother of 3 trying to make sure my family is ready for anything.


My New Hobby ~ Dumpster Diving For Food

OK, well let me start with saying, please save the "ewws" and "gross". Instead open your mind to a new way to help others!

So to my husbands dismay my latest hobby has been dumpster diving. This started shortly after me finding a subreddit on reddit that was talking about how much food is thrown out each year by stores.

So with my stomach in knots, feeling nervous, I drove up to my first dumpster and hopped out to look in. I was shocked! I immediately told my husband to get out and open our trunk. There were bags and bags of snacks just right on top like they were waiting on me to rescue them from the trash. I loaded our trunk full in about 30 seconds with a bit of an adrenaline rush. We sped away feeling like we had just done something wrong, even though we knew what we did was legal.

The issue was the stereotype we all know about dumpster diving. I felt a bit of shame and a bit of embarrassment. This only lasted for a couple days. The next time we went out we found enough non perishable food that we had to put some in the basement because I ran out of cabinet space.

So then we were left with the dilemma. Do we leave the rest of that food in the dumpsters until we use this all up or do we keep gathering and figure something to do with the food?

My over full cabinets, stocked by a dumpster!
My over full cabinets, stocked by a dumpster! | Source

Dumpster Diving Food to Give Away

Then it happened. I was standing in my kitchen trying to unpack my groceries and I realized, DONATE IT!

I live in a small town with no real food bank so I went to craigslist and posted an ad in the free section. All I had were chips, crackers, bread, and candy. All was less than a few days out of date and by all websites I found (and my belly that enjoyed much of it) the food was still good. I made the post very clear that the food was out of date. I expected maybe one or two replies. When I woke the next morning and checked my email I was surprised. I had 34 emails asking for the food.

We met a local mother of 2 in our town and gave her two trash bags full of snacks. It was great. We found a use for this food that would otherwise have gone to the dump. So now once a week we will meet with one family and give them whatever we can.

You can find all sorts of things. Now that we have been doing this a few years we have figured out you can find:

  • Chips
  • Bread
  • Soda
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Canned soups
  • Canned Meats
  • Entire sealed bags of produce
  • Boxed Crackers

So imagine all the good you could do, especially considering many times this stuff is just sitting on top, clean, and in date.


Not For You?

So grabbing food out the dumpster isn't for you? That's okay, but now I have to ask what is? Have you found your one way to help those in need? If we all look hard enough we can find a way to help those in need. So find your way or find your local dumpster and dive in!

First Dive
First Dive | Source

Have You Ever Dumpster Dived?

See results

Not me, but great example

Update May 2014

Still here and still dumpster diving. Not too long ago my family fell on seriously hard times. During those times we continued to dumpster dive and continued to help ourselves get back to financially stable. Even though we have been struggling we have still found many things that we could still donate. Hopefully one day dumpster diving will become obsolete as businesses decide to do the right thing on their own.

Update April 2015

So we are doing much better financially, and guess what!? Still dumpster diving when we can. I haven't bought dog food in 2 years and my dogs are eating high end blue buffalo most of the time! I have to say it is great saving money and saving the landfills. We are back to donating anything we have extra. It amazes me still how much is thrown out when we have so many people in need!


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