24.08.2006: we've been dumpster diving in rugby before, last time we were in england, so there was no urge to run around late at night and get knived. we did have a very interesting conversation with a girl working the bread counter at sainsburys though, who told us the amazing life-cycle of sainsburys bread. the first day a loaf is made it sits by the bakery counter for people to buy fresh. on its second day it is sliced and put into a bag and placed on the shelf. if it's survived to its third day then it's marked down in price. on the forth day its only destination is the dumpster. intriguing. and counter to what i previously believed, sainsburys (or this one at least) doesn't use a trash compactor, just one huge dumpster that is accessible to anyone. what the fuck are you waiting for?
it's a shame because it had never occurred to her that she could just take the bread for herself, or that anyone else might want to. i was hoping that she might start.
and just to be complete, there was a sandwhich shop in town with its dumpster clearly visible from the street, that days unused baguettes poking up from it, tempting the rats and dumpster divers alike. or maybe it was just me.
19.08.2006: belgium has been good to us. we've also been good to ourselves, because we made a real effort here. when we arrived in beersel (on the outskirts of brussels) we went straight to the delhaize supermarket to exchange money for food. i know you don't really want to hear about that, but while we were in there we found the trolley (more like a bath on wheels) that was full of the products to be thrown out that day. imagine dumpster diving when you knew exactly what you would be finding - "i'm not leaving til i've got that fucking cheese". in its depths were various pastas, beer (twelve pack of stellar amongst others), flour, washing up powder, bread, and something else really exicting but i can't tell what because of my messy handwriting. on leaving i had a quick check around the side and their bins were easily accessible and unlocked, only not in the day as the canteen looked out over them. unfortunately our campsite was a little too far to go journeying out, and my parents had bought more than we needed anyway.
the next day we explored brussels and just after sundown came across the godiva chocolate factory. the smell alone had me salivating, nevermind the thought of its dumpster. surely a chocolate factory will have edible waste - chocolates dropped, misfigured or damaged? perhaps at the end of the day they empty out the machine to stop it clogging and you could go swimming in the molten chocolate. in my head i'd become charlie and was determined to dive. but walking around the building there was nothing but security cameras and locked gates. this was something somewhat out of our league. anyway, i'd already eaten too many chocolates already, mostly courtesy of a friendly disloyal employee at a chocolatier in the city centre.
the short version of the rest of the story is that we missed the last bus back to beersel and had to walk, but luckily right passed the afor mentioned delhaize supermarket. we sneaked our way across the dark carpack, overhead lighting comfortably non-existent, before realising we had no means with which to see. we had a quick rummage through the dumpsters, but without gloves or light it's no pleasant or easy task. again we left empty handed (except i had a huge bag of comics to carry anyway).
so anyone living in belgium, you know what to do..
16.08.2006: all we saw of the netherlands was our campsite, one of those that tailor to the families with kids who don't actually want to go anywhere. it had everything there and you never needed to leave, ever. so obviously there was a grocery store but not a very big one. infact it could fit all of its food waste into a small bin on the other side of the 'employees only' door, which had been cunningly left open. not cunning at all. but i had a peek and saw a bunch of lemons, maybe a melon, and a few peppers. various yellow produce that would have had to pay for if i'd taken it. so that's no good.
16.08.06: in germany a poor choice of campsite left us miles from any supermarkets (well, poor if the point of this trip is dumpster diving - unfortunately it isn't), so during a brief stop for lunch we ran around behind one of the german supermarkets for a quick scoop. it looked similar to what we found in norway, small wheeley bins with vege, meat and garbage seperated out. it sounds ideal but you'd do as good to dumpster dive compost bins.
we did 'steal' all the left over chocolates from the party in copenhagen, if that counts? only a complete asshole would have thrown them away. but then, only an asshole would throw away most of what we find, right?
11.08.06: back in denmark, home but only for three days more, and we took off for one last sentimental dumpster diving journey. half to check the other iso bin and half to prove a point to our visiting guests, who were interested with nods and smiles but not with their hands and feet.
we prised open the first dumpster and pulled several fresh loaves from an already torn bin bag. the second (and previously unexplored dumpster) was all locked up apart from the farthest hatch. this was indeed the place they hide their unsold and soiled vegetables. there wasn't much food reachable, just many bags of rubbish, so since this was our last time we took the plunge and jumped right in. sounds easy but these dumpsters have roofs and are packed high with garbage. it's like that scene out of star wars but cooler. with the extra reach we managed to pull out a few more plants, all in all:
11.08.06: we're in sweden for around six hours, maybe less, squealing down the motorways between norway and denmark. we stopped a couple of times, gas stations and road side cafes, but the only exciting thing we found was a 'restuarant' that sold vege hamburgers (why ham?). somewhere near malmo we zoomed past a rather large netto distribution centre - salivate over that! of course we couldn't stop, but the thought of it still makes me smile
10.08.06: taking it on the road - dumpster diving on tour!!
we're currently in oslo, norway, and thought we'd check out the local talent. the list of supermarkets we had to visit may give you an idea of norway's suitability for dumpster diving:
i feel this is the general rule, but at meny we couldn't find anything. which was a bit embarrassing, we're supposed to be pro's at this. where were they hiding their waste? to make up for it we rode their tractor (well, kristin did).
the last place we checked was the coop, the single exception to the rule. their bin was full of stuff but unfortunately it was all shockingly out of date. and not even in a funny way. there were 108 eggs (see if you can work out what size boxes they came in), but all dated july 3rd. that's over a month old incase you weren't paying attention. there was also milk, coconut butter (which would have come in handy for the curry we'd just cooked) and extremely bloated packs of salad. those things are dangerous, they're just waiting to explode and spray you with millions of hungry bacteria. they smell too. then there was some fruit that looked okay, about five boxes of peaches, but they were a little too rough to be bothered with. all we took was eight prune yoghurts and one egg which i wanted to throw at a hummer, but one never came so i simply hurled it up the road. it was a fantastically satisfying crack and slide along the tarmac.
next up! somewhere in europe (hopefully)
03.08.06: if anyone wants a new old bike there's a whole ton of them just outside our house. the people who run the block and tell us what to do for the good of the neighbourhood (like taking our peace flag down) decided it was time to chuck out all the unused and dumped bikes in the basement. there's some nice bikes there and it'll be a shame to see them taken away by the police.
the road is 'ved amagerport', just off amagerbrogade. if you need better directions then just drop me an email.
22.07.06: so we thought we'd take grilly out and show him a thing or two, except we were all quite tired (not to mention probably drunk) and we only visited one place. our loot looked a little something like this:
we gave the truck to a lil kid who lives upstairs. i hope his parents don't mind where we found it. we gave it a good clean at least.
16.07.06: while julie works as a janitor (ironically involving dealing with peoples trash, amongst other things) we're limited to weekend excursions only. this isn't ideal because we tend to need food most days of the week. also, saturdays are rubbish for dumpster diving as supermarkets close early and our food has a longer wait before we collect it - fine in the winter, not so good in the summer.
so it had been a blistering hot day and the result was a whole new bin smell experience. the sticky and sweet smell of fruit sweating in the heat. it wasn't too bad, just slightly disconcerting. and slimey. there was plenty of good fruit to go though:
which reminds and saddens me, we had guests over yesterday and i had great plans for serving their children healthy food and drink. whilst in the shop i refused to buy them any kind of soft-drink or "fruit drink", instead we had orange juice and freshly homemade organic lemonade, and what more could a kid want? of course my plan completely fell through. when they arrived the parents were asked what the kids would have (could they not pick themselves?) they said "anything with sugar in". so it was the orange squash. perhaps it was because they were out visiting family and could have a treat, or whatever, i'm sure.
but still, i was crushed. no one even tried my lemonade. now i'm left wishing i'd put less ketamine in it.
you know i wouldn't though, right?
our other accomplishment was another daylight raid on iso (which incidentally isn't even open on a sunday) scoring 70kr (£7 or $14, whatever) of nice bread rolls. a single padlock had been omitted so we had decent dumpster access while punters from the beach walked by. they may have thought us odd, at least until they saw our bikes laden with free food. they just make this too easy. and too fun. we also discovered they have a second dumpster on the other side of the building, also in full view of the passing traffic. that must be the one with all the vegetables we love so much. like i said, they make this too easy. that one is being savoured for another day.
06.07.06: well, we needed bread. and since iso are locking their dumpster at night we decided to do a daylight raid. actually, we didn't really decide as such, we happened to be cycling past on the way back from the beach and the dumpster was wide open, bread free for all. we parked our bikes behind the huge bin (out of view from their office window) and 'bucket brigaded' bread into the basket on my bike. we only managed to get two loaves before someone started coming, noisely with one of those huge silver cages, and apparently they'd been just around the corner the whole time we'd been there. we jumped on our bikes, made a quick get away, and they didn't see nothing.
i don't really condone raiding a shop's dumpster during opening hours, it's just stupid. but it was right thereby the road, ready for the taking, an insane amount of bread. and anyway, i wanted some chasing down the street action. how exciting would that have been? it would have made a good story at least.
taking it to the streets, etc.
05.07.06: i wish we'd been in england two weeks ago. what with caburys recalling over a million chocolate bars. if would have been like easter all over again. i miss having that stockpile of chocolate for whenever i have the craving. "the levels are significantly below the standard that would be any health problem, but we are taking this measure as a precaution". waste as standard procedure and no one gets the chance to make the decision for themselves. but again, my opinion doesn't count because i'm not willing to buy from cadburys-schweppes anyway (note, coca cola only owns their soft drink brands in around a 100 countries, not their chocolate, if that makes a difference).
if we're being quiet it's because julie has to get up at ass o'clock every morning due to work commitments - late night excursions are all out. if it's any consolation we're still cooking with the last lot of dumpster dived food we rescued. the nectarines ripened and are now turning a little soft, but the one surviving aubergine and the peppers are remaining firm. i like that in a vegetable, a little bit of defiance.
01.07.06: this is only a short story, but it's one that illustrates why i love dumpster diving so much. we were in the middle of beautiful summer's day in copenhagen, out and about on a minor cycling mission, and for reasons involving the sun and not wanting to get burnt we stopped at a netto (because matas is scandalous). julie went inside to buy some sun cream and i went round back to see what was going on. she came back with sun cream (a steal at 30kr) and i came back with peaches (technically not a steal, for free). they were an awesome addition to our picnic and perfectly ripe. just face it, dumpster diving in broad day light makes you look cool, especially when you score fresh fruit that hasn't even made it into the bin yet (hurray for lazy employees, we wouldn't have it any other way). since it was a flying visit (i wasn't packing bags or anything, i just wanted lunch) it felt completely safe and reasonable. their actual dumpsters were a bit grim though, full of day old sweaty bananas, strawberries and flies. but still, why go in the front door when it's more fun out back?
later that day i was standing infront of our local watching a guy come out with several bunches of bananas and two large bottles of water. he just spent 60kr on produce that is free. i wanted to go tell him but he'd only think i was an asshole (stupid english). but i'd already started doing the math in my head, every netto bin i've seen recently has on average about 50 bananas (and i promise to you i'm not exagerating here). that's three different nettos on many different occasions. it's like they're banana factories. and how many of these stores are there in copenhagen? fuck it, in the world? there's barely a street in this city that doesn't have one. and if you want to deal in facts there's 362 across denmark (so i guess most of them are in copenhagen then). do they all throw out this many bananas? every fucking day? has the person in charge of supply and demand not noticed? is he kept up at night, waiting for the day that his superiors discover his grave mistake and whip him for every banana he's wasted? or are bananas that worthless and cheap to these companies? who knows what their reasoning is..
30.06.06: here in denmark there's been a major recall on a whole different bunch of ryebreads due to them being baked with too much fungus (go figure), so if you're dumpster diving in denmark be careful. consumers have been told to bin their bread and are being reinmbursed when they send back the empty packaging, so shops are probably doing something similar. either way, i'd still ignore ryebread.
26.06.06: sorry if our lack of activity has disappointed you. i'll try and make it up to you now. we are hardcore really. honests.
so early in the day it had been raining and generally miserable, still hot and humid like a bastard. but in terms of dumpster diving conditions it's the best we've had for a while (this isn't why we haven't been out, even a hurricane wouldn't stop us. except it would, of course).
the first dumpster completely filled us up, we only went to our other favourite stores in hope we'd get some bread or cheese (sigh, more peppers and bananas) it was one of those bins that you need to see to believe. the ones that are just full of nothing but food (oh, and cardboard and stupid wooden crates). it looks like a ton of bananas, easily over a hundred of them all green and yellow, but if you dig deeper there's aubergines and avocados and nectarines and pears. julie suggested that perhaps they get a new crate of vegetables and have no where to store them so simply throw the 'old' ones out. you rarely see aubergines this nice on the shelf.
then i slipped on a banana skin, much to my own amusement. now we're only one step away from being cartoon heroes.
the ever amazing list of free food:
and as for the iso bin - it was still locked. but there was also evidence that people had been in before us (although padlocked down you can lift up the corner of the lid) - the nearest bag had been ripped open a good quantiy of bread taken. i'm now convinced it wasn't our fault that they started locking the dumpster. the last time we saw it "undefended" the lid was left up and all the side portals swung wide open. it's our fault in so far as we didn't clean up after other dumpster divers. at the time i thought we should leave it how we found it, not thinking that it might not have been how the store had left it. we learn from our mistakes and i now we know why you should leave dumpsters in a better condition than you found them. is a store gonna be pissed that someone tidied up for them? i doubt it.
15.06.06: it wasn't the best dumpster diving expedition but you can't complain when you get free food. beggars can't be choosers. well, actually they can.
we first headed to the bread laden iso skip only to find it locked, which is quite worrying. we can but hope it wasn't because we'd been rumbled the last time we were there. there's a good chance it's determined by which person throws the bread out at the end of the day. hopefully. either way all is not lost, because due to bad design you can still open it. the main lid can only be locked on one side so you can lift it up enough to pull bags out or climb in, if you were that way inclined.
not to be out done when we had out dumpster mobile, we carried on to the various stores down the main road. none of them were particularly exciting but between them we took a vaguely respectable amount of food (and plants):
it's just a shame they're not very good. there wasn't much food to take photos of and there wasn't much light to take photos with. i used a flash a couple of times but it's far from being subtle.
it's also nice that we survived the 'external link' cull on the dumpster diving wiki page. i think that makes us official. we get some kind of medal anyway. unlike the guy who got removed and put his site back twenty minutes later. we see these things, you know.
14.06.06: anyone in the seattle area dumpster diving? if so there's a woman looking for you who's interested in going along and interviewing you for a radio programme. we really wanted to help her out but she wanted real seattleans (maybe her budget doesn't allow long distance calls).
we'll break through our confined media yet.
which reminds me, there was a feature about dumpster diving and freeganism on radio 4's costing the earth programme. you can listen to on their site but it's in real format so unfortunately i haven't listened to it myself. let me know if it's worth downloading a real player for.
so here's an interesting question for you, is media coverage of dumpster diving good or bad? if you want to make an environmental/political statement about the food industry or society's disgustingly wasteful nature, then it must be good right? but of course, supermarkets aren't going to stop wasting their food because dumpster diving is making headlines or getting popular, it's only going to increase their resistance to us divers (with their army of trash compactors, locks and surveillance cameras). but then if more people are taking the streets and eating for free then maybe it balances out. if less food is being wasted then i'm a happy diver, even if all the tescos are now out of bounds. as for the food industry, they don't give a shit about the people who aren't willing to pay for their food, only the ones that are. also, increasing society's pluralism is obviously a good thing, but reaching that end comes down to the quality of the media coverage.
my personal opinion? i'm still thinking about it. although it would be super cool to be on the radio digging in bins and making my mamma proud.
13.06.06: so on the hottest day of the year we're determined to prove dumpster diving as an all year round activity. just because your milk is curdled it doesn't mean you can't eat pineapple, right? so off we went at 11pm and it's not even dark yet. that's the kind of summer i'm talking about. i wish i'd worn my shorts, also that my bin gloves were thinner.
the original plan was a quick stop at our new iso, but the bin had been freshly emptied. it was quite eerie seeing such an empty dumpster. don't get me wrong though, it still contained at least five huge bags of bakery related products. this is good but what we needed was veg. we wandered through the backstreets, quietly exploring, and ended up at our favourite haunt. if that's at all the word. they still havn't fixed the light and they're still throwing all their weekend food out on monday. lets hear it for more food than we can possibly carry:
- 5.6kg tomatoes (mixed organic, cherry, beef, etc)
- 0.5kg organic wild tomatoes from around the world
- 1 cucumber
- 3 corgette
- 4kg potatoes
- 6 lemons
- 5 pineapples (five)
- 2 loaves
- 1 special bread (well it looks nice too)
- 8 raisin buns
it was just the two of us carrying all that back to our house. i think we should write the dumpster diving guide to getting fit and losing weight, especially with all those pineapples. although, all it would take is one look in our fridge, at all the cakes, to denounce us as frauds.
perhaps the dumpster diving guide to dealing with 6kg of tomatoes is more in order. it's definately more urgent:
we also met a beggar on our travels. i thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do our good deed for the day. unfortunately he didn't want our bread or pineapples. all he wanted was money. sigh. i mean, who needs money when you can have free food? i was again tempted to direct him behind a certain supermarket where they leave their recycled bottles in an unlocked box (each one worth at least 1kr, about 10p), but thought better of it. it wouldn't take much for the supermarket to notice and start locking their bins.
anyway, i'm off to eat some sweet sweet pineapple.
julie's corner: dumpster diving was good yesterday. it was disappointing about iso though. i was hoping we would find something other than bread and cakes. the bin seemed to have been emptied recently and there was only bread. so we ventured on a new route to the good old netto instead. and we struck gold. there was so much food below the top black bin bags. so much that it was a hassle to carry home. especially since laurence had insisted we were not gonna take the buggy (dumpster mobile). i am gonna insist we not make that mistake again. struggling home with four full bags of food and a box of five pineapples and four kilos of potatoes we met a homeless person asking if we had any change. we didn't have any money on us, but i offered him a pineapple. but he declined. his loss.
12.06.06: tango's new advert (yes, the take on the sony one that you all sickenly love so much) makes me cry fat tears. i wish we'd been there. i would have made smoothies throughout the night, and when the sun finally rose the next morning we'd be drowning in real fruit juice, not that chemical tango shit. how do they even get away with using fruit in their adverts? isn't that false advertising?
and no i wont link to it. they can stick their viral campaign up their ass.
11.06.06: when we started dumpster diving our biggest quandary was always eggs, if any issue could divide our group that was it. these days we have it sorted, but it continues to be the most common cause of concern from others.
so to this end, our dumpster diving guide to eggs:
you'll find eggs regularly due to their fantastic packaging design (nature knows best as always, or rather evolution does). eggs are easily broken and damn messy when they do, so when they bite the bullet they take the whole ship down with them, along with all their crew mates. these eggs, their only crime was to be layed beside a weakling, they simply picked the wrong friends. they'll be in date and aslong as they havn't been sitting in a warm bin for too long (not likely knowing dumpster divers) are as good as their comrades still sitting on the shelf with a price on their head.
of course there are other reason for eggs to be thrown into the dumpster. they might be old so always check the date. also there might have been a recall (ooh, salmonella outbreak) which is much harder to identify. if this was the case though you'd generally expect to find egg genocide, rather than a minor cull of six. but if in doubt, and you can't find any reason why the poor eggs have been left to their uneaten fate, leave them be. because you never know.
another important point is to not take food that's been covered in egg. that shit is not cool. also be careful when transporting your eggs home. the last thing you want is to spoil your lovely fresh broccoli and aubergine.
when you get your eggs home check them carefully for cracks. a crack is a break and a broken egg is a bad egg. then you should do the rather crude but quick egg test - bad eggs float. this tells you nothing if all your eggs sink but it's still worth doing. if any of them do float then bin them all, it's not worth the risk and it's not like you paid for them anyway.
to be extra safe, the next morning i recommend you scramble them and lay them down over toast for a severe interrogation. spare them no mercy.
so to summarise, when not to take eggs from a dumpster:
- if in doubt
- if they're out of date
- when there are many many eggs (there will be a reason)
- if there is no obvious reason why they've been binned
08.06.06: mobilise!! join us on our maiden voyage with the new dumpster mobile (real name pending). feel the wind rushing through your hair and the excitement as you bear down upon the dumping grounds of the evil capitalist supermarkets and...
get stopped by the police
and not even for a decent reason. they didn't even blink an eyelid at the life-threatening piece of beautiful junk attached to the back of julie's bike. or check to see if both of the brakes were working, rather than hanging limp. they didn't even care that i was packing heat and 10 kilos of pure heroin and was wanted in sixteen countries. all they cared about was my lack of lights. groan. this whole situation had already been foreshadowed as we tried in vain fit lights to the bike before setting off. but nevermind.
it also didn't help that when the nice police man shouted at me from their car i ignored them and kept cycling (at least i didn't speed up). this is the benefit of being english and dumb, you can almost get away with such idiotic behaviour. i mean, they did turn off down a side road. and it's not my fault cop cars look like taxis and i couldn't understand what he'd said (whether that's a lie or not is pure speculation). i pleaded ignorance, claiming that it wasn't my bike (true) and the bike i normally use has lights (half true), which is why i'd been in the country so long and not had this problem before. i wasn't stupid enough to claim i was a tourist. i did get to write in his book though, that was cool. he spelt my name wrong and couldn't understand my address when i tried to pronounce it. no one ever does.
they let me go without the 500kr fine but told me i had to walk with the bike. so lesson learnt but not paid for. another free victory. then five minutes down the road and we passed them again, while cycling. we'd sellotaped the spare red light to the back and i was using my headlight upfront. i presume it was adequate. i also presume this means our dumpster buggy has police approval, twice over.
after this though it didn't feel wise aiming for the føtex. getting caught by the police twice in a row is a far cry from the sensible laurence i'm supposed to be. right? but since we'd already gone so far it would've been a shame to waste the trip. irma it was then, with their low security, easy access and well hidden dumpsters. the bins had a subtle but terrible smell and were primarily filled with dead animal. i counted five whole chickens and enough sausage to make a couple of frankenstein pigs. me pulling aside a chicken and its cellophane wrap ripping is probably my worse dumpster diving experience yet. i'll survive though.
on the way home i did a few investigative detours but found nothing easily accessible. we visited my favourite netto under the cover of darkness, since their security light is still broken. the slackers.
our final tally looks like:
- 5 bananas
- 5 pears
- 250g chesnut mushrooms
- 10 carrots
- an onion
- 3 broccoli florets
- 15 tomatoes (of which five are organic)
- 800g pasta meal things
- 1.2kg gourmet cheese
- 7 tiny chocolate eggs
- earl grey
- tin foil
- lip gloss (to make us beautiful)
- hair spray
- white curtains
- dolby 5.1 digital surrond speakers with sub-woofer
but this isn't where the story ends.
earlier in the day we'd discovered an iso, a rather large supermarket that stocks impressive selections of a wide range of products. one of those. i'd bought an organic cola and whiskey cheddar. out back they have two security cameras (pointing at the ground, ha) and one hell of a dumpster - one of those huge ones you could actually get into and have a party. one day i even might. access is through a series of three square 'trapdoors' along the side. these sheild you and your flashlight from view and give you a comforting sense of security. perfect for dumpster diving.
being in the opposite direction to our other dumpsters, the area is completely deserted apart from the odd passing car. if only we'd found it sooner. inside its hard steel shell we found bags and bags of bread and buns and croissants and cakes and loaves and pasteries. not normal bags, but the ones you can't even carry. the ones that after a minutes worth of excitement ("we're rich!") and distaste ("they threw all of this away?") they just become in the way. underneath them endless mayonnaise and ripped bags of flour and oats (all nicely placed into new bags so as to not make a mess, how thoughtful).
it's bins like these that make me wish i took my camera out dumpster diving. but then if i'm taking photos i'm not taking food. in the end we were limited by what we could carry and what we could fit into the freezer. and we can always go back again tomorrow. we bagged:
- 1litre organic koldskål (lemon and egg yoghurt stuff)
- pack of biscuits for koldskål (very danish)
- 800g mayonaise
- 1kg organic porridge oats
- 270g snack bread (like rivita)
- 1kg fromage frais
- 2 'dream' cakes
- 1 chocolate cake
- 3 rum marzipan cakes
- 6 white seedy buns
- 6 brown buns
- 3 loaves of bread
- another one that looks like a penis
and it's been so longer since these entries have been graced by photographic accompaniment, so quick before emil eats it all:
until next time. vale, etc (don't worry, i can't type that with a straight face)
05.06.06: meet the new member of the team, dumpster mobile #1:
we got us some wheels. the kids carriage appeared in our courtyard a few days ago along with a few other bikes, all well past their use-by date. julie had her eye on it and was determined to fix it up for dumpster diving. just imagine the food we could be pulling in with a truck like that! it's exactly what we needed, unfortunately what it needed was an extra wheel. we checked it out a couple of times and gave up before finally tackling it this evening.
the small girls bike was the obvious solution (complete with donald duck bell which we unfortunately lost with the handle bars). we had to bend the odd bit of metal and use a well fitting cooker hob ring but it's almost a perfect fit. just don't ask how it's secured, be satisfied in knowing that all the fishing wire and tape was also dumpster dived (from netto, we knew it'd come in useful sometime).
the back wheel is flat but at least we managed to put the tyre back on. and the front wheel is only loosely held in place to keep it straight (pending further flash inspiration). and don't mention how it shouldn't be able to turn with three wheels because it manages just peachey. i'd like to paint it black or cover it in bin bags or something, because it'll be horribly visible while trying to hide amongst those dark supermarket corners. a day-glo beacon of green that warns all dumpster diving activity!
the secret origin of the dumpster mobile (a 'making of' photo documentary):
it was also nice to have the local policeman (who lives above us somewhere) come over and watch us trying to fix it to the bike. he was quite helpful, and amusing too when he asked us "you don't have children yet do you?". like we would actually put a child in that thing. not even if they were drunk.
it's just shame we forgot to go dumpster diving on saturday night. it's a holiday monday so the bins wont be refilled until tuesday night. meanwhile we're forced to live on cheap pizza and tofu. the weather gets better every day and so the condition of our dumpstered food will only get worse. this is why we need the dumpster mobile, to get it home speedily for emergency surgery. and eating.
02.06.06: what i love about living in the city is the random walks. any night of the week and you're guaranteed to find endless intriques under sodium lights and a slight drizzle. there's always a new street to get lost down. new graffiti to find, sprayed twenty foot high up the side of building. a church with a huge imposing clock above its door, illuminated to guide the lost, like some kind of anti-lighthouse. then a sandpit and those weird animals on thick metal springs (how many kids must have died on those?) hiding behind an irma instead of their bins. another street and a 'solidarity shop' we found a day too late, we'd just missed the critical mass. an african restuarant with vegetarian food. a scary park that's so dark you can't even see how big it is. it's inhabited soley by two girls making enough noise for a whole class of schoolkids, one of them's on the swings while the other's on her knees. whatever rocks your boat. from above, a house party fills the street with disembodied conversations and trashy music.
you miss one interesting alley (leading to a european looking courtyard) so take the next one. you recognise the stacks of compressed cardboard, piles of milk crates and rows of those silver carriages, whatever they're used for i don't know. all of a sudden you're behind a superbrugsen, infront of five dumpsters and say "cheese", you're on camera.
three of the dumpsters were empty (and stank, always a good sign) but the fourth contained one of those tell-tale white plastic bin bags full of bread. this signifies a bakery and is a dumpster diving equivalent of striking gold. especaily if they have pasteries. it was so full we had to half empty it to lift it out. in the fifth bin was another white bag but buried much deeper. i tried to pull it out but with it being covered in eggs and my hands not being covered by gloves i was slowly losing the battle. what i could see of inside it was red and squishy anyway. we dug out the remaining eggs and a cucmber, cut our loses and ran (for the bus), over my shoulder a big white bin bag of:
- 1 cucumber
- 9 eggs
- 6 ciabattas
- 1 carrot bread
- 3 italian breads
- 2 spanish breads
- 8 buns
22.05.06: 16 days and nothing. in england you might say "not a sausage". a dumpster diving black-out. but what happened? where did we go?
well, we went nowhere. and i guess summer happened. after two disappointing outings we been left feeling thouroughly discourged. not beaten by the supermarkets, defeated by padlocks or compactors. but by the weather. this is the lie i tell myself. perhaps less of a lie more of a cover-up story. a scab.
the real truth might be that i gave up. unable to compete with hippies in vans. unable to deal with piles of yellow broccoli. unable to bear the thought of every future milk carton containing cheese. wouldn't it be less effort to just buy the food instead? just once. or twice, or three times maybe.
what your doctor might probably call "a relapse".
but then the summer also relapsed. but still we shopped. the spark was gone. i mean, could dumpster diving get boring? could it lose its magic? that's kind of what it felt like. apathy, what a terrible way to go.
what we needed was a new adventure. so to irma on our bikes, emil riding shotgun over julie's back wheel. a slight drizzle, but more refreshing than anything, and it felt incredible to be back out prowling for free food. as we cycled along the main road i want to shout "yee-haa". and i almost did.
i'd had my eyes on this irma for ages, and a week before we'd confirmed that the bins were accesible and with potential. this is why after fifteen minutes of cycling only to find empty bins i was a little disappointed. what we did find was an easily opened wooden box of recyclable bottles. if you had a van to pile them in you could score some serious cash for little effort. but of course, such a scheme would only last until the supermarket noticed it the next day and cut off your supply. no fun.
so we left irma determined to come back another day. rape and pillage. etc. we decided that since we were already in that part of town we should probably check out the local shops. or at least, behind the local shops. this was when we met another diver, and she was much nicer than people we've met previously, she was actually willing to talk to us. even understanding none of the conversation you could tell she was more hardcore than us. fresh inspiration, first hand. just what we needed, right?
so ten minutes later we were hiding in the shadows between a gas station and a føtex about to jump the concrete wall beside the spike mounted security gate. new tactics for new territory. emil and julie scrambled over in the dark while i guarded the bikes and played at being the look-out. i crouched against the wall or stood pretending to piss, trying to think of clever things to say if someone questioned me. for those five minutes i could feel my heart beating. doing nothing can be so much fun. something far above hummed and buzzed and it felt like the future. fucking punk. i want to be a ram raider.
the guys came back with bags of bakery bread and promises of endless food, all excited because we'd found the best place ever. rather someone else had found the best place ever and been nice enough to tell us about it. we cycled off triumphant. it's almost enough to make me forget about kvickly, the pioneers of the ten foot high barbed wire topped fence. all to protect some top class food that wants to be eaten.
it's monday so i suggested we stop by my favourite netto on the way home. what have we to lose? a negative amount of courgettes and aubergines? it delivered us a lovely amount of fruit and vege, adding up to one of our best dives yet, at least for morale:
- 16 proper nice buns
- 3 different posh loaves
- 11 carrots
- 6 litres of ice tea (mixed flavours)
- 39 licourice chew things
- 3 packs of super strong mints
- 2 oranges
- 5 eggs
- 8 apples
- 1 cauliflower
- 3 corn on the cob
- 4 aubergines
- 7 courgettes
- 55 bananas
06.05.06: all three locals and all we got is:
- 1kg new potatos
- philadelphia (and quite edible)
- 12 pitta
- 6 bananas
- box of grean beans
- napkins (which i'm sure we'll use)
so, we're not quite sure what we're going to do. we've already been shopping for food twice this week. that's more than i've been in the last two months. we could step up operations and visit more bins, easy for those with christiania bikes and vans, or we could go more regularly. neither seem to likely, especially going every night to find nothing but garbage.
04.05.06: probably the worst excursion ever:
- 20 oranges
no, what actually pissed me off was being beaten to my favourite spot. we're about to walk in when we spot a huge orange camper in the way, behind which there's a mound of netto bags and old people. a moments hesitation is lost when i realise what they're doing. i choke the thought of shouting "oi! you're taking my food!", which is obsecene, they're as equally entitled to it as me. maybe. i mean, they do have a fucking van. at the price of our environment they could go anywhere they want. while we're limited to our three local stores (two tonight because it's too early to risk the netto).
they see us coming and
i shouldn't be so bitter. i'm just hungry, and how can we compete with a van?! it doesn't seem fair. it's just not sporting. with a van blocking the line of sight from the path you could spend all day rummaging through the bins, finding that one last grapefruit that wanted so much to be eaten by me.
02.05.06: i finally made myself sick. not food poisoning in the sense or being sick all over the bathroom floor while at the same time losing precious nutrients from my ass. a delightful image polak would have been proud of, i'm sure. it was more like a pain in my stomach that refused to budge or allow anything to join it. so i ate very little for a couple of days and tried to deduce where it came from. there's two possibilities. it was either the strawberries, which i'd already decided to stop taking on account of the weather, or the stupid indonesian restuarant that filled me up like a blowfish on heat. yes, it's my own fault but if you give me food i eat it.
the pain started during the night after the meal and about 36 hours after the strawberrys, which i'd been eating sparingly for over a day. or maybe i just didn't clean my hands properly after using a public toilet. maybe some gypsy accidently looked at me too vigorously.
the important point though, i wasn't actually sick.
28.04.06: parent education programme, class two. i'll let julie cover this one:
- 5 bunches of spring onions
- 10 eggs
- 10 apples
- 500g strawberrys
- 400g mushrooms
- 2ltr orange yoghurt (although possibly too old)
- 2 small strawberry yoghurts
- 6kg potato (the last lot had gone bad already)
- 1ltr milk
- 31 bread rolls
- five boxes of assorted tasty christmas biscuits
- 21 heavy duty carrier bags
26.04.06: this is only tenously related, but far too cool to not mention. me and emil were walking back from town and passing a superbrugsen (a chain we're yet to dumpster dive from) when i remembered we were significantly low on toilet roll. so we did the good thing and went in to restock. it turns out their current deal involves 64 toilet rolls (four packs of 16 packaged together in clear plastic) for 90kr! that's a monumental amount of ass wipe, and so funny we just had to take it. at the checkout we joke about trying to place it on the conveyor belt and i laugh at the idea of trying to lefthand it. who would suspect someone of trying to shoplift a mass of toilet rolls nearly as high as themselves? the poor shop worker flustered and struggled trying to scan the ridiculous purchase and the only barcode he could get to work was on a pack of 16 rolls. he didn't seem to notice. we left the shop having paid 40kr for all 64 rolls. they're not cheap nasty ones either, this is quality paper. and at that price they may as well be free.
24.04.06: the other side of the weekend, predictable in its unpredictability:
- 1.5kg organic potatoes
- 21 plums
- 200g grated mozzerella
- 1ltr thick yoghurt (with egg apparently)
- 1.5kg onions
- 2 mini twix
- pack of radishes
- 8 apples
- an orange
- 3 lemons
- a bunch of aspargus
- 1 unidentified fruit
- 2 packs of baby leaf salad
- 1.5kg washing powder
- 8 flowers
i don't think we left much behind. when we urgently started to pack up i had been rummaging through a bag largely compromised of rubbish and meat products. there might have been good stuff in there, maybe even more cheese, but probably not. to the side (and directly under the security camera - clearly a trap) was a curious box of mixed food. as if someone had left it there for collection later. julie confirmed that a lot of it was bad, so again, probably no great loss.
i fucking loved twix
oh, and it's probably papaya.
22.04.06: the plan always was to go out tonight, saturdays can be good but are often mixed. but then if i was working a supermarket on saturdays i wouldn't bother cleaning out properly either. but then the other days wouldn't be any different - that black bag behind the dumpster covered in 'danger global warming' tape, that would be the one containing my food.
i wouldn't last a week working in a supermarket.
but i digress. as it was just julie and i, with my broken arm, we took a bike for support. it came in useful and i'm not sure why we haven't used them before. handle bars aren't only for stearing.
we walked all the way to aldi to find a mass of vegetables too far gone. yellow brocolli and brown cabbage, nothing exactly edible apart from some apples. it pissed me off, but then julie pointed out that it's how it should be - the bad food in the bin. i'm still disgruntled though, because i know it's the aldi employees being slackers and not binning the food when they should. day old broccoli is never that bad. the other possibility is that aldi's food is just shit.
nothing to be too excited about:
- 750g peas (yet to be seen)
- 1kg new potatoes
- 16 jam and icing pasteries (super awesome)
- 4 kinder chocolate bars
- 1ltr milk
- 1ltr peach melba yoghurt
- 15 bananas (like you can have enough)
- 29 apples
- 6 tomatoes
- 500g strawberries
- 1 broccoli
that isn't quite what i said.
21.04.06: small but well formed, and not that small at all:
- 45 bananas
- 6kg potatoes
- 500g strawberries
- camping stool
- another faulty exercise ball
on the way out julie was demonstrating our newly acquired stool as a scruffy old dude cycled past us, staring all the way. it was too funny. i fought the urge to follow him to see if he was diving too. i think the chances he was were quite slim.
which makes me think, it must be so obvious what we're doing while walking out of that carpark. picture us loaded down with netto bags, grinning at all our free food. maybe we should start wearing cunning disguises, the legendary racoon suit or maybe even a tuxedo. i was going to say we could dress up like netto employees, but the second half of this sentence would have been far too rude.
julie's corner: we really need to learn that when a gymball is in the bin it is because it is broken. i inflated it last night and put gaffatape over the hole. this morning it was lying completely flat in the living room. it didn't work. i don't know what we would do with one anyway, it's not like we would use it for exercise. then we would be well on our way to turn into the people next door if we actually used it for what it is suppose to be used for.
18.04.06: two causes for celebration - the restarting of our dumpster diving escapades and our first encounter with fellow danish dumpster divers.
both our stops had bins brimming with thrown out food, the aldi bin was even overflowing. my suspcion that the first shopping day after easter would result in the binning of mass amounts of food was correct. but unfortunately emil's prediction that the the food would be too old was too. at aldi, below a layer of nasty lettuces was an even nastier layer of strawberries. a full bin and all we took was a bag of porridge.
then to my favourite supermarket, the one that never throws out anything after closing on saturday, which results in the most rewarding mondays. in this case tuesday. we could barely even be bothered to dig through the dumpsters substrata of carrots, strawberries and grapefruits. i'm glad i did though (and very carefully due to my broken arm) - an aubergine!
it was about then that a couple rode in on bicycles, out of the darkness and right up to our bins (well, i say our bins..) we were all defensive smiles, mildly worried about potential hassle, when we suddenly realised who they were. dumpter divers. i got zero of the conversation, apart from the quote two paragraphs above and the part about our blog, me grumbling that no they can't google anything to find it, i've been banned. but if you are that couple and you managed to find this site then you can email email@example.com if you feel like swapping specifics. i know a rather easy irma you might like, if that'll tempt you ;]
our final haul was:
- 1kg porridge oats
- 500g special k
- an organic lemons
- 800g mushrooms (as white as your ass and ten times fresher)
- 5kg carrots
- 100g mini chocolate eggs
- 900g strawberry jam
- 900g raspberry jam
- 2ltr milk
- 250g butter
- 3 large loaves
- 20 buns
- toast bread
- dill plant
- 3 avocado
- an aubergine
- a mango
- honey melon
- 8 strawberries (yes, you can get bored of strawberries)
- 7 apples
- 9 grapefruits
- spicy rice snacks
- rice cakes (awesome hippy food!)
- haribo fried eggs (for emil)
- 4 rolls sellotape
- rosmary plant
- 6 daisy plants
- 6 primroses
- a tree or bush of some description i wont give you
16.04.06: the quiet after the storm. our previous dumpster diving frenzy has been followed by what could be called 'a dark time', if you'd be that way inclined. emil has been in scotland, vastly inebriated and living of pizza, curry and beer, while me and julie have been up in the mountains of norway. our nearest dumpsterable spot was a beautiful ensemble of bins behind a kiwi, but situated too far down the mountain to be considerable. as much as julie's parents approve of us diving i doubt they'd be happy to navigate the snow covered roads in the middle of the night for it. perhaps we could have 'borrowed' a snow scooter but i had enough trouble with snow as it was.
back in copenhagen were met by the easter weekend and an effective double sunday. the shops are closed and their bins full of two day old trash - not my style. hopefully tuesday night will be the yin of this yang, the bins shall overflow with a whole weekends worth of perfectly edible but out of date food. you'd think this would be thrown out friday/saturday, but from our experience i've noticed mondays are by far the better day. and it's easily explainable through employee disloyalty and slackness.
the other problem is my arm, which you wont find in a dumpster any time soon (unless it does actually fall off) due to it's state of being broken. i can hold the torch or the dumpster lid, but that's the limit of my use. and i doubt i could manage to carry more than two carrier bags - a crate is out of the question, as is a backpack.
thank fuck for freezers.
08.04.06: oh, the chocolate and egg joy of easter and chocolate eggs:
- too much chocolate to even count (over 900g) from mixed bags/eggs
- 2 packs of chocolate marzipan eggs
- 17 eggs (12 organic, 5 otherwise)
- 6 reels of fishing wire
- 3 portions of mashed potato (not that i'm eating that shit)
- 3 lemons
- 10 onions
- 11 leeks
- 400g cheese (whoop)
- 3 big bunches o' celery
- 500g rivita stuff (2 boxes)
- 800g pitta
- 1 semi cooked baguette
- 6 plums
- 2kg carrots
- 2kg potatoes
- 4 oranges
- 1 kg of sugar
- 3 boxes of tomatoes
- 3 boxes of cherry tomatoes
- 70 grams of 70% cocoa chocolate from new guinea
- 9 bananas
- 2 cauliflowers
- one big fucking bowl of strawberries (milkshakeit!)
- big bag of nasty bubble gum sweets. like what you got in trading cards when you were young
- a weird kitchen set including a grater!!
- black cloth for a table or something
breakfast the next morning was fun, with scrambled eggs and leek, bread, homemade grilled cheese and tomatos. plus some strange strawberry thing i made:
i love breakfast, it's my favourite meal of the morning
julie's corner: we took martin out dumpsterdiving tonight. even though we had been drinking and have we had said we would never go dumpster diving again after having been drinking. but it was fine. we found so much stuff. and thanks to whoever who invented easter chocolate and decided on it to be hollow so it can easily be broken in the supermarket and has to be thrown out. i also found the bag at netto that had "stuff" in it, instead of food. in netto they sell a whole lot of crap and we finally found some of it. there was a whole lot of broken plates and cups, but at least we found the grater thingy which is great. and lets not forget the fishingline, which we will most likely need.
06.04.06: i'm a dumpster diver, i have the jam stains on my jacket to prove it:
- 1kg nesquick chocolate powder
- 1ltr chocolate milk
- 200g chocolate eggs
- 260g cinammon biscuits
- 7 eggs (from a pack of 15)
- 1 bag of coffee
- 0.4kg cheese (0.3kg of it was, er.. less than good)
- 5kg carrots
- 4 boxes green beans
- 16 white buns
- 2 unsliced loaves of bread
- 30 (mostly green) bananas
the eggs were completely disgusting. i could tell a few of them were okay and put the whole box into it's own bag (it's good job dumpsters are full of spare bags for such occasions). once at home i had to seperate them all out and now there's albumen everywhere. still, now i can have eggy in a basket for breakfast like every good revolutionary.
and coffee! oh, sweet coffee. they throw bags out when they rip so every so often you'll find coffee all over everything and everywhere. when it's wet it looks like shit. actual shit. we used to avoid dumpsters like this, but really they're probably the best ones. they smell good too.
i had to excavate for the bananas, but we'd run out of them this very morning. and for the first time in two months.
and the nesquick is amazing. the great thing about dumpsters is you don't have to boycott from them. i figure taking nestle from the trash is fair game. i hate to admit it but it's great to be able to eat and drink that crap again, as sick as it is. can you get bored of chocolate milk?
if only we could find kit kats.
04.04.06: after a few beers in christiania we decided to finally visit the christianshavn netto under the cover of darkness. there's no bins around the netto but there is a small walled enclosure to the side that contains a few dumpsters and the usual stacks of arla crates - unlocked and wide open. so we walk in and quitely close the door behind us, giving us privacy to rummage around for as long as we want. it could have been the perfect dumpstering spot, had it actually been where the netto stores their bins. it was just a load of soggy cardboard and wine bottles (which got me super excited until juliepointed out you don't get money from recycling them). we left for home empty handed.
02.04.06: this business is less exciting in the rain, when it's damp and soggy and your gloves stick to your clammy hands. some idiot leaves a dumpster open and you can't tell what's weeping or what's covered in shampoo or what's just leaking. another dumpster smells of something strange and you only realise it's coffee after it's too late. it's wet and all the vegetables are buried at the bottom, below heavy carrier bags and i'm running out of words to describe what rains does to stuff. i'm finding it hard to be ecstatic by so much milk. it's unrelated but my torch is shorting out and i can hardly see anything.
perhaps we need to abolish the rule about going out while drunk, we'd have better stories to tell.
oh, and we got too much bread:
- 20 large oranges
- cherry tomatos
- 36 wholemeal buns
- 1 white sandwich bread
- 1 wholemeal sandwich bread
- 1 rye bread high in omega3
- 1 large rye bread
- 3 peppers
- 5ltr organic milk
- 200g cottage cheese
- 1ltr chocolate milk
- 2 onions
01.04.06: it was only a matter of time before i started taking other people's left overs. it was though, wasn't it? when the woman sitting next to me in the cafe left without finishing her pot of jasmine tea, and i took it, i couldn't believe i hadn't acted like this before. you couldn't even misconstrue it as stealing.
the other thing i did was try to claim money from the recycling reciepts we found. my plan was flawless. i take a bag of bottles and the two most valuable receipts into netto. i recycle the bottles, take the new receipt with the old two to the checkout and smile. if there's a problem i say i'm english and i'm stupid and i was confused and i'm terribly terribly sorry.
so i made my way to the back of the store, looking in people's baskets and being a right pompous fuck about how stupid they were for buying bananas, and all i found was an out of order machine. my plan was in tatters, or maybe i was over-reacting. this makes little difference to the plan, it just ain't so slick no more. i picked the longest queue because of the checkout girl - i know her english is worse than the other employees so would hopefully avoid any complicated questions. despite this, when she finally swipes my reciepts the machine gives a gutteral ping. she looks confused and she looks at me. she asks where i got them and i falter a little, but not too much, "the other netto". so she tells me to go there and i feel like an idiot because this isn't the netto whose bin we found them in.
not a total failure. not quite yet
julie's corner: tommy came all the way from england to visit us in rainy copenhagen so we had to cook something nice for him. i decided on a fruit salad with bananas, apples, pears, pineapple, kiwi, mango, orange and nuts (from laurence's mum, not from the bin). we put all the fruit salad in those chocolate covered ice cream cones with squirty cream on top on a a plate from "storskrall" in the courtyard. all from the wonderful bins. as laurence would say: photo evidence coming up:
29.03.06: back in copenhagen with avengence, and a previously empty fridge now full with:
- 2 smashed up but quality large easter eggs (800g)
- strong apple cordial
- 3 avocado
- 3 plums
- 1ltr milk
- 1kg white grapes
- 1.5kg tomatos
- 1.5kg green beans
- 2 peppers
- 7 oranges
- 17 pears
- long half-baked baquette
- 3 half-baked garlic breads
- 6 chocolate/waffle icecream cones
- 2 boxes of rocket
- 26 bananas
- 1 cauliflower
- 11 kiwis
- 99kr of unripped recycling reciepts
and masses of chocolate! i waved at the security camera while i pulled it from the dumpster, a gigantic smile hidden behind my scarf. i hope they're not baiting us with the positioning of the dumpster infront of the camera. at least we left the dumpster closed, unlike the previous person. and they were no diver either, no one would leave that shit behind, not even a freegan. you'd take it for your friends right?
unfortunately the bin was also full of chicken. masses and masses of dead bird. also many loose apples that i just couldn't be bothered to deal with (there will always be more). one of the other bins was full of cat food. it makes me wish we'd taken that kitten when we had the chance (er no, not from the bin).
28.03.06: me and julie spent the weekend in middle england, and obviously we had to go taste the english dumpsters (something i should have done years ago). we visited a rather nice kwiksave, a pathetic lidl, and our local haunt netto. but not quite in that order.
we headed straight for the netto (of course) but their dumpster stank of who knows what evils. it was barely a good introduction to dumpster diving for my vaguely willing friends. on another day this dumpster might be perfect, tucked away nicely around the back of the store and with a surprising lack of security and surveillance.
just across the road is a multi-storey carpark that's home to a nice selection of bins from the shopping centre it serves. here is where we found the juice, and they'd even left the lights on for us so we could see what we were doing. we then proceeded to carry a huge clear plastic bin bag around town containing:
- 9 broccoli
- 1 bottle orange juice
- 4 oranges
- 7 large potatos
- 3 packs of onion bhajis
- a few good carrots
lidl was the only other supermarket anywhere near my house and you'd think they wouldn't give two fucks about their bins. we trekked all the way down there to find absolutely nothing. not even a bad smell. although we did meet two guys coming back the hill carrying a construction barrier. there's your anti-social behaviour. then ben, again brandishing the bourbon, shouting at them to "put that back! they might need that!", while breaking into a run and covering his head. the big drunk irresponsible wuss.
we took a shortcut across a field and got our shoes all covered in mud. and then passing the local gun shop i had to fight my urge to check their bins. it would have been funny. and i'd love to know what they actually sell these days. i imagine air guns and stuffed rabbits.
my parents weren't too impressed with all the trash we bought home and most of it went into the compost bin - still better than where we found it. photo documentary courtesy of corey:
the other great thing about my short stay in england was my nan had bought kitkats. i wont buy nestle, but i just feel rude if i tell my nan i can't eat her kitkats because they're unethical. when i tried to explain this too her (while munching the kitkat down) she just laughed. it's weird because a few nights previously i'd had a killer kitkat craving.
27.03.06: so i turn to page 68 of evasion and re-read the last paragraph again very carefully:
our first ambitious project was "dump-umentary", a video document of the local dumpster scene. we began filming, honorably enough, with a b&w 8mm-camera dumpstered at the local thrift store. we toured the area's finest dumpsters and recorded some impressive dives.
sigh, it appears there isn't an original bone in our bodies.
24.03.06: there's a new direction i want to take this in, or rather manifest it in. so here is my new brainchild, let's turn this into a documentary. inspired by marc singer and morgan spurlock (we can even call it "dumpster dive me") we propose to eat nothing but dumpster dived food for a month. i wont go into details now but we've worked it all out and it looks good on paper. all we need is a documentary maker (be it a film student or bored professional) or someone with equipment they're willing to lend us. i doubt we can provide board but we can sure feed you for your efforts, obviously.
i'm pretty serious about this. we're pretty serious about it. so if you know anyone who might be interested in helping us out or collaborating then please let us know.
23.03.06: so, a vagina appeared in one of the freshly warmed frozen bread rolls that we found a while ago. is this a sign that we have been blessed by the virgin mary? or should i just shut the fuck up incase the church decides to investigate (or sue).
21.03.06: anyway, just to prove i'm making good use of that durum wheat flour, here's our pasta assembly line:
and incase you're worried that we don't eat enough fruit, here's our fruit bowls (which excludes the mangos and lemons):
and for dinner we're having mashed potato (with onions, of course) with green beans and fried mushrooms.
20.03.06: someone saw us tonight. people regularly see us but they're just passing by, no one cares. but unfortunately this was a local resident. our nearest shop is below a bunch of apartments which it shares its courtyard with. so when we're rummaging through their bins the balconies of maybe twenty flats are looming down us. i normally give them a check when we walk in (like we own the place), but with my eyesite i'd be lucky to see anything anyway. i watched him watching us while we pulled bananas from the bin. there was little else in there. then as we left he shouted at us to not mess with the containers. not that i even knew he was talking us at the time.
in retrospect we probably just looked like a couple of bums. had we walked halfway across the carpark, stopped when we saw him and then walked out, we would have looked more suspicious. at least he knew what we were doing and could see (if he wanted to) that we didn't make any mess. perhaps other people who eat from these bins are less discreet. anyway, it's only a problem if enough people complain to the supermarket and they deem it worthwhile doing something about. although to be honest there is little they could do which would cause them less trouble. locking the bins is just asking for it, while putting them in their compound would be extra effort for the staff every day.
next time i'm dressing up in a giant rat suit. that'll scare the fuckers.
at the other store we had no other trouble, and found enough to return home straight away. actually, too much:
- 3 pineapples
- 21 oranges
- 34 bananas
- 2kg organic onions
- 6kg potatos
- 8 tomatos
- 0.5kg mushrooms (and these are fine)
- 1kg green beans
i havn't bitten my nails for ages. is it because my hands always feel dirty?
julie's corner: as laurence have already mentioned, a man saw us today. when we left he yelled at us saying he didn't want any rats there. like if we would make a mess. so if netto start locking there bins we would know why. there was another man there as well, but he didn't give a shit about us at all. i wonder if we were too greedy about the potatoes? i mean, six kilos, and we actually did have potatoes at home. we'd better make good use of them. and there were really heavy. i think i am gonna have pinapples and fresh orange juice for breakfast.
19.03.06: me and julie are walking down the main road in amager with four buldging carrier backs and a bread basket. we smell of detergent but we're packing:
- toast bread
- 4kg durum flour (for pasta!!!)
- 25 sesame buns
- 400g coleslaw
- 3 tubs of potato salad
- 0.5kg mushrooms
- 4 thebirkes (danish almond croissants things)
- 28 clementine oranges
- 1ltr of milk
- 4 tomatoes
- carrots (not enough to shout about)
- a broccoli
- 31 apples
- 1 banana
the second shop had thrown out a whole bunch of cleaning products, which i promptly got all over me. fucking detergent. covered in it were peppers, bananas and egg boxes. all that lovely food gone forever, it nearly ruined my excitement at finding the durum wheat flour (italian no less). our homemade pasta is now going to be amazing. i can't see us ever running out of it.
some of the bags at our regulars were already ripped open. i presumed this meant someone had already been through them, but there was plenty of good food which hadn't been taken. so it's all inconclusive. it'd be cool to leave a message for other divers, but then i wouldn't want to risk the shop employees seeing it.
we also found a toilet at one of the nettos, just beside their bins. it was so strange, and quite dirty, but i had to use it if not just for the novelty.
and right now i'm eating a toastie with that danish cheese. it's brutal. and once you get the smell on you it never washes off. vile.
17.03.06: we scored some good food the other day but we lacked vegetables, and we need vegetables right? so last night we went out again. the wind had dropped and the moon was fantastic - full, hazy and sporting a large halo. it glowed at us from just above the top of the buildings. you'd be forgiven for thinking it was leading us the way.
from a smelly dumpster we took:
- 2 peppers
- 1ltr milk
- 2 oranges
- 6 lemons (of many many lemons)
- 500g grapes
- 3.2kg tomatoes
- more pretty flowers (tulips)
we continue to have freshly squeezed orange juice every day, now with a hint of lemon. sexy no?
16.03.06: it turns out our blog isn't as original as i'd originally thought. lance has been doing this much longer than we have and his finds are amazing. check out all those tins! i wish we could find tins, we're seriously missing out on the necessary beans and pulses. and how did he manage to carry all that stuff? he must have used a wheelbarrow (er, or car perhaps?). anyway, nice one.
15.03.06: homemade pasta in dumpster dived sundried tomato and creme fraiche sauce with dumpster dived sweet peppers and brocolli, topped with dumpster dived cheese and rocket:
and a small but perfectly formed collection of food:
- box of cheese snacks
- 5 packs of microwave popcorn
- toast bread
- 10 buns
- 0.6kg strong danish cheese (and fuck me it smells)
- 13 apples
- 20 oranges
julie also made a banana cake last night which is fucking incredible, especially with fromage frais (still good after a week in our fridge). we used sugar and an egg that wasn't dumpstered but we're kosher on the rest.
that's right, we still havn't found sugar, salt, pepper, garlic or any other kinds of useful herby or spicey condiments.
13.03.06: we've adopted a labeling system in our fridge so we can distinguish between bought and dumpstered food. the amusing thing is that the crosses go on the food we paid for, not the free food. this wasn't decided upon, it just happened.
dumpster dived pudding no.2:
apple and strawberry (remember them?) tart served with squirty cream and creme fraiche. yes both.
and the cheese i made with the milk and lemon from the other day is more like a meat substitue than cheese. i mixed in some paprika, coriander and garam masala just as the milk boiled. it was pretty crazy.
last night me and emil got bored and went to check out a few supermarkets further down amagerbrogade. these are the ones we saw while searching for bakeries. none of the bins were accessible though, so we took our revenge on a few places that we know deliver the goods:
- 1.5kg carrots
- 2kg organic potatos
- 3 cucumber
- 4 litres organic milk (something was spilt on them, there were loads)
- an aubergine
- 2kg flour
- 48 heavy duty netto carrier bags
- 250ml whipping cream
- 2 bages of white bread rolls
- pack of rocket
- 14 bananas
- 125g radish
- 3 bunches of roses
- 20kr worth of recycling reciepts (about $4)
- some french cheese (normandy, to be exact) that we're too scared to try
most of these supermarkets are closed on a sunday, so saturday or monday nights are the best times for diving as there will be two days worth of food to throw out (which day exactly seems depend on how slack the staff are). the list above may look like a lot but we were being very selective. it probably isn't even a third of what we could have taken.
12.03.06: okay, i think we need a new rule. one that stops us from going dumpster diving after too many beers. drink diving (if you'll excuse the pun) is stupid for most reasons. you take bad food, you're too loud and and you're clumsy.
yes, i confess it was me who let the wine bottle fall from the dumpster and smash into annoyingly shaped pieces that scattered all over the car park's tarmac. the mess was cleaned up before we left, obviously, but it was frustrating as hell.
we're also starting to rummage more. those big clear plastic bags have all kinds of general store rubbish in, but they contain more food as well. some of our best finds have been found hidden away in the bin bags. it takes much longer though.
anyway, last night's findings:
- 500g butter
- 1kg tomatoes (enough to make soup?)
- 1.3kg new potatos
- 28 perfect bananas (which we've put in a seperate room)
- 10 pears
- 1 ltr banana & pear yoghurt
- 2 peppers (actually i binned these)
- 1.5kg frozen semi-baked bread
- 1kg frozen broccoli mix
- frozen rice mix
- 6 ltr milk (a mix of skimmed and semi-skimmed)
10.03.06: after our dinner of homemade chips, sprouts and broccoli avec cucumber salad i was troubling to find a decent pudding. but then it hit me - i can have strawberries and cream! and it's all from the dumpster. infact, everything i've eaten today was salvaged out of the bin. go me.
but then we made meringue:
using sugar which we'd bought, but nevermind.
i also took a trip inside a supermarket to jot down the prices of all the food we'd found. from my list i calculated the value of yesterdays raid and it comes in at a whopping 260kr (about £26 or $50). that's also taking into account the special offers and ignoring the non-edible crap.
09.03.06: this is the first time that it's ever happened, and it's definately a turning point. one of us said that the fridge was getting empty and instead of suggesting we go shopping, they said we needed to go dumpster diving. so it was:
- 25 bananas (yes we eat this many)
- 6 large oranges
- 3 large mangos
- fresh dil
- 4 organic eggs (from a pack of 10, but we broke all but one)
- chop sticks and chinese boards
- 400g emmental
- feta cheese (and these are posh cheeses btw)
- 2 litres milk
- 3 organic broccoli
- toast bread
- rye bread
- 6 wholemeal buns
- 200g hazelnuts
- mixed berry cordial
- 500g frozen strawberries
- cucumber salad
- 4 cd cases
- 1/2 bottle of parafin (that emil wanted)
we first hit an aldi only to find the bins vacant but for a tub of cucumber salad. oh, fucking great. just what we need - food which takes more carbohydrate to eat than you actually gain from it (that's celery but nevermind). determined to fill the afor mentioned empty fridge we headed for our next usual target. it was also pretty disappointing apart from three mangos, mozzarella and toasting bread. the biggest find was ironically at our nearest and dearest netto. someone was busy in the car park so we hung around for a while outside. it's best to avoid the potential confrontation, but i'm think that us hanging around looks more suspicious than us just waltzing in like we own the damn place. i think a wise tactic would be a quick walk around the block.
what loot though! again there was a stupid amount of bananas, and only we took a small fraction of them. i'm going to have to start taking my camera out else you wont believe us. i think they're trying to distract us with the bananas though. what, do they think were monkeys or something? we also finally took eggs, a box of ten was suitably mashed up apart from four. but like i said i broke all but one of them. from these lessons we learn. we're also psyched about the cheese and bread. free toasties all round!
i also want to mention that we rarely (re)throw anything away. almost all of what we take we use. and we always leave food for other potential divers (yes, they throw away that much food), because there are a few in our area.
07.03.06: julie's birthday raid:
- 26 bananas
- 8 apples
- 5 oranges
- a large rye bread
- a large potato rye bread
- natural yoghurt
- creme fraiche
- fromage frais
- squirty cream (rachel's favourite food, we took it for fun)
- minestrone cup-a-soup
- two tubs of italian cheery tomatoes (on the vine)
- grød rice
- 6 icing and jam pastries (some things are meant to be in the bin)
the egg debate also rages on. we found a box of 15 eggs that were in date. if an egg sinks to the bottom of a pan then it's a good egg, and if you cook it properly (which we surely would) then it would kill any salmonela (apparently bad eggs are relatively common in denmark, relatively). we've checked a few places on the internet and people seem to think it's about as safe as eating them off the shelves. if they've been thrown out because there's one or more broken (and covered in albumen and yolk) they're not going to be any worse are they. are they?
06.03.06: a run down of the danish supermarkets in vague order of quality (on this blog we like lists apparently):
- irma / city irma
- kvickly (although i've never actually been in one)
- netto / døgn netto
- fakta / quick fakta (which is smaller not quicker)
if you're looking for an easy dive always go for the cheapest supermarkets. you may have noticed the majority of our food is found behind nettos and aldis. i was going to suggest that perhaps it's because their food is less desirable that they are unconcerned by the threat of scavengers, or perhaps it is their lower profit margins that makes them care less for policing the bins.
having said that, last time i was behind netto i noticed they have a security camera trained on the bins. i can almost guarantee you that it isn't active though, or that they don't even bother checking it.
05.03.06: not wanting to sound preachy, but..
to those of you who still eat ready-meals (those at the back, you know who you are), you know not the joy of food. the satisfaction earned from cooking with pasta and cheese that you have made yourself. the pleasure of creating a feast for your friends from nothing but rescued base ingredients.
anyway, last night's dive:
- 2 bunches of bananas
- bag of organic carrots
- pack of digestive biscuits
- sundried tomatoes
- 1kg brussel sprouts
- 6 tubs of shredded radish (cos that's exactly what we need)
- 2 ltr organic milk
- femina magazine (don't even ask)
- tomatoes on the vine
- normal tomatoes
we also learnt not to place new bananas beside old bananas. we were taught this in biology, now we know why.
04.03.06: it's true though, dumpster diving becomes addictive very quickly. right now there is food out there waiting for you to take it. it could be yours for nothing. and it could be anything. be it fresh peppers, pizza, chocolate cake, milk (which always brings remarkable joy), sprouts or three weeks worth of potatos. if you don't go out now it'll be gone forever. and you just contributed to society's waste by not reclaiming it. also it might even have been bread. you never know until you've looked. and there is the magic, like all the excitement of opening a kinder surprise (which are full of trash you don't really want as well, i suppose). chocolate, a surprise, and a toy!
david choe is my newest new hero. chances are that if you know graffiti you know him already, he's good right? but the trailer for harry kim's documentary 'dirty hands' is now out there and i beg you to watch it.
02.03.06: if you live in a less fruitful area of town (or a more paranoid and security obsessed country) you might think we're a bit spoiled with our abundance of plentiful dumpsters. these cornucopia's of free food. so please forgive us for not being satisfied.
what we really need is decent bread.
to this end we went scouring the neighbourhood's bakeries (all the way down bloody amagerbrogade) for one which may fulfil our needs. finding these places should be easy during the day and unless you actually start routing around in bins (or someone is tailing you) you don't even look suspicious. every single bakery we know of (and a few we hadn't seen before) have their bins locked safely away in their courtyards. it's a total bummer, because i know exactly how much bread they hold. the poshest bakery is also the most annoying, the dumpsters are in clear view but just behind steel bars. a bike rack and some fancy brickwork would make it easy to scale the wall, but breaking and entering isn't on the list of convictions i desire. also it's a matter of etiquette, right?
now i'm left wishing we'd taken the flour and yeast when we had the chance.
28.02.06: it hasn't been a month and we're getting too good at this:
- 2.5kg potato
- 2ltr skimmed milk
- 1ltr yoghurt
- 3 lemons (all we need to make cheese)
- 0.25ltr cream
- 7 tomatos
- 5 peppers
- 15 sweet peppers
- 2 loaves of bread
- bag of flour
- 250g rocket
27.02.06: returning to our favourite spot tonight, this asshole suddenly started revving his engine. it scared the shit out of me. i just hope he wasn't an employee at the supermarket and saw what we were doing. it would suck if they decided to start locking their bins to stop us. suck for them especially.
anyway, since my headlight is now in town i have two hands with which to dig and grab with. it doesn't mean you get more or better food but it does make it easier to rummage. we took two bags of shopping which include:
- 2ltr yoghurt
- 3 peppers
- 5 sweet peppers
- 6 apples
- 3 sharron fruits
- cherry tomatos
- porridge oats
- bag of carrots
- philedelphia cheese
- three lots of daphodils
free soup anyone?
26.02.06: you'll notice your parents are never too keen on you eating out of bins. in a bid to solve this problem (while still remaining as honest as you can when your parents read your blog) i took them out with me. we were drinking in a pub next to our local supermarket, and i just couldn't resist. once they saw quite how much food is wasted (on a daily basis) they felt a bit better about it, enough to eat some of it themselves at least:
- 5kg potatos
- clementine oranges
- 4 peppers
- even more bananas
- and brocolli
- ten eggs
- 4 apples
i still got warned to very careful, but then there will always be doubt.
24.02.06: we were walking home from drinking in town and toby wanted me to take him dumpster diving. on arriving home we discovered that our bounty (taken from behind netto) had been covered in detergent or shampoo. this is seriously not cool. i spent twenty minutes washing everything three times, trying to get the slippy shit off every thing and every surface and my gloves really stink as well. a dedicated pair of gloves is definately going to be necessary. despite the annoyance we still took:
- 2ltr milk
- more bananas
- sausages (that toby ate)
- bag of pasta
22.02.06: last night we went our for drinks at the amager hotel and introduced our other housemate to container raiding, grabbing rather too many bananas (it was hard to tell quite how many there were in the bag, also we were drunk). witness it second hand:
we also took:
- many bananas
- 2 cauliflower
- 2 brocolli
21.02.06: wasting perfectly good food should be a crime. and supermarkets already owe us plenty for their crimes against the environment, agriculture and local economies. they throw out edible food everyday. this is food which should instead be given to people who actually need it, the hungry and the homeless.
that isn't us exactly, but since the food is being binned the only reasonable thing to do is retrieve it (er, reclaim it.. if you will). plus it saves us stacks of cash and we can eat like minor kings (and queens).
what we should be doing is distributing it to people who need it more than us. but until then i'm off to make broccoli soup and banana milkshake.
20.02.06: last night we had the urge for free food and prowled the neighbourhood looking for fresh supermarket dumpsters. is their an art to container raiding? our local spot smelt bad and was full of shit so we were searching for pastures new. the first few places we tried were dry or out of bounds. we'd found our way to the amager police station so went in to ask them for directions to the large 'qvickly' (despite it being shut). you can tell this store hides a magical bounty, but behind thick steel bars and tight under security cameras. the waste is frustrating. we finally found our joy behind aldi, once we'd discovered how to get around the back. they have two dumpsters full of freshly binned food. and the blonde guy messing with his bike didn't seem to care to much either. here's our load, a veritable feast:
- 3 brocolli
- 8 tubs of potato salad
- tomatos on the vine
- 4 large oranges
- 10 bread rolls
- 2 peppers
- chocolate (with strawberry bits)
- 3 plants
17.02.06: i figure we went for the bins too early. netto closes at 8pm, and we gave them an hour to clear up and throw stuff out. when we got there the lights were still on but we looked around anyway. not only did we not find any food, we didn't even find any bins..
15.02.06: we went container raiding (or skipping) tonight. emil and sofie found out where the food is thrown out at netto and going there tonight proved to be very spray! we got a whole plastic bag of food, including:
- pizza (but with ham)
- (sort of) fresh pasta
- apple sauce