Dumpster diving for food

esh_gaFebruary 7, 2013

Cool story - addressing the waste of 1st world countries food stream.

In environmentally aware, cost-conscious Germany, "foodsharing" is the latest fad, using the Internet to share food recovered from supermarket dumpsters while it is still in good condition.

But the "foodsharing" movement that has sprung up in cities like Cologne and Berlin brings efficiency and technical skills to the table in ways that make it uniquely German.

More than 8,200 people across Germany have registered to share food on the www.foodsharing.de website in just seven weeks of existence, said Berlin organizer Raphael Fellmer.

The website - which has an appropriately recycled-paper look - advises people where there are "baskets" and what is in them: organic sausages in Cologne or spaghetti and Darjeeling tea in Chemnitz. Members can log in or use a Smartphone app to see the address of nearby baskets or a pick-up time and place. They can then rate the transaction like ordinary online retailers.

For people who cannot afford the Internet, Fellmer has set up the first of what he hopes will be many "hot spots" where food can be picked up anonymously: a fridge at a covered market in Berlin's Kreuzberg, where anyone can help themselves to food.

Fellmer is on a three-year-old "money strike": he does not earn or spend a euro and he, his wife and child eat only food that has been rescued from the trash.

The foodsharers' argument that the tons of food wasted in Germany could feed people in poor countries is not as simplistic as it sounds: less waste means less drain on resources in the producer countries and less upward pressure on prices, she said.

"It is not only wasting an apple, but wasting the resources embedded in that apple which may be produced outside of Europe," Bucatariu told Reuters. As well as economic damage there is the cost to the environment of using energy to grow food that ends up in a landfill site, emitting greenhouse gases like methane.

I've got a dozen cans of food that I'm planning to open and dump because they have exceeded the sell by date and my family refuses to eat them. I imagine they are probably just fine ....

But I will recycle the cans.

Here is a link that might be useful: source

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There are Freegan meetings in NYC. Freegan's reclaim a lot of dumped food. In a city this large a lot of places don't send their food to City Harvest or other food reclaimers or harvesters.
Some Freegan's have philosophical approaches others just don't want to waste

Here is a link that might be useful: Group dives

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:52PM
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"The Big Waste" .. foodnetwork. Was really interesting why food is discarded by retail establishments, farms. Americans want "perfect" food, so a chicken with a broken and/or missing wing is not sold but scrapped. The same with farm foods, blemishes ... compost. One field of corn knocked down by storms/winds .. compost.

I don't know how to link to the show, or if there is a way but even the chefs involved were shocked at "the food waste".

This has been going on for some time here in America. Some retail establishments have started padlocking their dumpsters so people can not "dive".

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Before you dump your food with expired sell by dates you should check out just what "sell by dates" are. They are simply the date that the manufactur thinks that the product will taste best if kept in a cool dry location. Has nothing to do with being expired. Those normally have something like "do not use after" dates.

A lot of education is needed on food and other things.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Second Harvest gets anything salvageable, things not shelf worthy or beyond sale date, here. I don't think too much goes to dumpster waste here unless it's truly unsalvageable.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:04PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Coincidentally I was just reading a column over at Dr. Weil's website about food wastage. He says this about sell by dates:

Don't be a slave to "use by" or "sell-by" dates. They are not federally regulated and do not indicate safety, except on infant formula. They are manufacturers' suggestions for peak quality. Most foods can be safely consumed well after their "use by" dates.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wasting too much Food? Drweil.com

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:25PM
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...and a lot of those dates say: "best if used by". No big deal.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Any food in the dumpster at my office building is consumed by raccoons. No waste.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:49PM
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Food waste is one of my pet peeves! I can't stand throwing away anything that can be eaten, used for another meal, made into another dish, and the expiration dates do not scare me off... so many foods are perfectly good well beyond any date printed on the packaging!

Before anything hits the trash, it must go through the dogs first... if they don't want it, or it's not something they'd eat, THEN it's trash... or compost.

When we were children, we were made to eat what was placed before us... because "there are children starving elsewhere in the world". It wasn't until we were older that we learned this was a real problem, and just how rampant starvation is around the globe.

I'm so happy to see countries trying to eliminate waste, and alleviate need at the same time. There's no valid reason for the amount of food that's wasted on a daily basis... none. Not when so many people literally go to bed without dinner every night, or don't have enough to adequately feed their family.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:54PM
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sorry to tell you this boys and girl but 40% is the amount of food waste pretty much in most countries.
the reasons may be different but the 40% figure is same in India to.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Many years ago - when liability, time and money weren't major issues, we used to give away many packaged/canned goods and beverages that were near, or past expiration.

When trespassers/dumpster divers and "some" employees started raiding our dumpsters, we fenced them in and locked them.

Due to much better inventory management, we sell off the vast majority of food items cheaply well before the expiration and/or give them to customers as a reward for their business.

Many of our relatives get free food and beverages once or twice a week from a couple of church run food/beverages/goods distribution points. Much of the food is expired and many of the packages are damaged.

We recently gave them thousands of promotional samples that didn't sell well.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:02AM
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Unfortunately, law suits are one of the reasons more businesses don't donate excess foods. I know here in my county Publix used to give meats, dairy products and other items on the expired dates, to food banks and kitchens. One of the beneficiaries of the kitchen got sick and sued Publix. Previously the shelters would just pick the merchandise up in their cars or trucks as Publix expected them to be knowledgeable enough to take the products straight to a refrigerator. Now, in order for Publix to give them meats or anything else needing refrigeration, the recipient has to have a refrigerated vehicle to pick the goods up in............not all homeless shelters, food banks and kitchens can afford that. There was also a law suit years ago regarding dented cans that had been donated by a business. Someone got sick and a law suit ensued. What is that old saying about "biting the hand that feeds you".

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:39AM
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"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished".

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:58AM
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david52 Zone 6

Our local Safeway has recently put some bins in the rear of the store where really-soon-to-expire packaged foods, damaged wrapping, and discontinued lines are sold at 1/2 price.

There are jars of gefilte fish in those bins that have been there 6+ months.

Cattle ranching, elk hunting country - not so big on gefilte fish.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:45AM
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One of the grocery stores my niece worked at had a store policy to help eliminate expired dairy products. If a customer found an expired dairy product, they'd give them a fresh product for free.

Unfortunately some of the customers would try hiding nearly expired products in other areas, then cashing them in a few days later after they expired.

I don't think they have that policy anymore.

Stores are getting better and better at matching supply to demand (many are on the lean side), so they generally have fewer expired products.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:02PM
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Years ago, late 70s, a buddy and I stopped after work in the a.m. at a couple large grocers and 'dove' for dumped feed items. we were feeding a few hogs. we would usually fill a 1/2 ton p/u truck. A bright idea was to suggest to the manager we would pick it up regularly and if he would just set it on a pallet it would be better than crawling in his dumpsters. wrong, he said we had to stop because of liabilty issues. There was nothing wrong with the food, we would snack on some items on the way home!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Even though free, what comes out of the dumpster is the same demineralized junk that is in the store.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:02PM
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So true... which is why it's nice to be able to harvest your own foods and store them.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:19PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

Restaurant waste is a different matter, but I don't think as much is wasted from farms.

I remember as a kid we would drive to various types of farms, potatoes for instance. There would be a line of farmers pickup trucks, mostly pig or cattle farmers, and all the potatoes with blemishes or cuts that weren't pretty enough to sell in the supermarkets were sold cheap as feed. We pulled under the door, it dumped an entire load into our truck, I remember it was 10 dollars a load for the potatoes.

Then we would go home, back the pickup truck to the fence and us kids were responsible for kicking and throwing all the vegetables into the pigs' area.

The dairy cattle had to have the potatoes put through a slicer but the pigs would get them whole, and we could leave a load of potatoes in with the pigs because they would just root them up later and eat them. The cattle would only get a few bucketfuls.

There was also lots of leafy greens and beets, I guess lettuce that was wilted or holes from bugs. But the lineup of farmers at these places for cheap supplementary feed, I'm pretty sure none of it went to waste.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:31PM
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