My dumpster diving map

I found all this bread in the garbage bins behind a nearby organic store around ten days ago. It was all “expired” but it was all perfectly fine. I took it home and threw it in the freezer. My roommates and I have been de-thawing it and eating it ever since.

This is just one little bit of the still-good food thrown out because of mostly arbitrary “best before” or “expiry” dates. I find this to be one of the most frustrating (if personally beneficial) things to see. Not only are so many resources (land, fertilizers, pesticides, cost of shipping, labor hours) completely wasted as a result, but the food just rots in a landfill while people in the real world are hungry. Needless to say, it’s an incredibly inefficient system

I think “dumpster diving” is great for a lot of reasons. It reduces waste, which in turn reduces the need to produce (and consume) new products. It fills bellies that otherwise might not be filled. Also: free food!

The world’s constantly evolving and hopefully one day dumpster diving won’t be a thing anymore. I think as more and more people become aware of the issue things will change for the better and a more efficient system of food distribution will emerge. In the meantime, however, there is a lot of food going to waste in dumpsters across the world, so I’ve begun work on a map that indicates the location of dumpsters that consistently produce good food (and other things too – second hand store dumpsters are often good for housewares).

I think a lot of people are interested in dumpster diving but don’t know where to go, how to do it, or are afraid to try. My hope is that this map will encourage dumpster diving and help to normalize the act itself.

Anyways, check it out if you’re interested (I know dumpster diving isn’t for everyone!), or if you’re like me and just like maps 🙂

Tuesday evening finds

I went out last night and found some decent stuff. First off was this frenetic looking poster that I came across in an alley. I didn’t take it but it’s kind of cool. I feel like the style is familiar somehow.

I saw this old chair on the side of the road. It was in pretty good condition but it was kind of far from home so I didn’t take it. As well, even though my bedbug radar didn’t really go off I get paranoid taking stuff like this as I’d hate to give my roommates bedbugs. Hopefully someone else took the chance!

I found this stuff in the bags above. I didn’t really frame this picture too well, but I found a few plants that need loving, some rusty but effective looking pruners, wire cutters (under some melamine patching stuff), a measuring tape, shower rod, and a length of rope. There’s also a smoke detector that looks unopened. Oh yeah, some lead pellets too, for a small gun I’m guessing.

I kept a couple of the plants. I left one of the potted ones outside my place this morning and it was gone by the time I got back from work. The bigger one I trimmed a bit and put with water in a sturdy glass coffee pot I found on Monday. It seems to be doing fine, though I’m not sure if that’s a long-term solution or not. I’m sure my mom will be happy to help me with that!

The rest of the stuff I put in the broken basket and left by a Bixi (communal bicycle) terminal. I figure it’ll get some good exposure there and a lot of the stuff will be taken to good homes. Bixi stations are one of my favorite places to put things like this.

Down the street I found all this stuff in another black plastic bag. The clay pot I stashed in the alley. The juice container I put with the stuff above. The canned food was all “expired” since around 2006. It doesn’t really matter though, as some canned food has been known to be consumable even after 100 years, assuming the can stays in good shape of course.

I stashed the food in a phone booth. It’s a pretty good place to put things, as it’s protected from the elements and these days only poor people (like me) ever use payphones. This phone booth was on Papineau (a busy and less well-to-do street, at least in this part of town), so my hope is that this food gets picked up sooner rather than later.

I saw these nice wooden chairs. They may have needed reupholstering, but the wood itself was pretty gorgeous. They were far from home and I don’t really have the space anyways, so I didn’t take them. Hopefully someone else did.

I checked out my “dumpster diving” place on Cartier/Mont-Royal and found these avocados. I left a few that were a bit far gone, but still went back with like ten definitely edible organic avocados.

Getting darker now. You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see what I found in here!

Definitely dark now. This is the last place I went to.

Inside one of those bags was a cordless drill. I took this home and took the battery that was left inside the drill out. It’s a bit corroded near the connections, so I’m not sure if that battery will ever work (although I should probably research that). However, there was another battery that came in the case. I put that on the charger overnight and I tried it out when I got back earlier today… and it worked! It’s really clean and doesn’t look like it was used very often. I’m happy about this find, as these things are pretty handy and are also expensive enough.

Anyways, check back tomorrow to see what I found in those bags!

Baking with garbage

The other day on the corner of Mont-Royal and Cartier I came across this box of apples on the side of the road. A local grocery puts the older produce on the curb about once a week. It’s nice because it gives people a chance to easily take the stuff before it’s hauled off. Still wasteful, but way better and way more thoughtful than the “garbage prisons” that the more corporate grocers tend to make where there’s no hope in hell that you can get in.

Anyways, I took maybe half this box. The apples were all fairly wrinkly, and in the past I’ve often thrown out apples that looked like these ones did. However,  I’m trying to take my food a little less for granted and I knew the apples were fine. The man bringing out the trash assured me they were good too, so that settled it.

Anyways, with some inspiration from my roommate’s apple crisp I decided to make one myself! Using this recipe off, I ended up making a pretty good crisp.

It doesn’t look like much, but I assure you it tasted really good! Maybe next time I’ll put a bit on a plate with some ice cream and photograph it like that. Regardless, three of the ingredients in the recipe (apples, sugar (found a couple of weeks ago) and butter (found yesterday) were salvaged from the trash.

It was a good learning experience all around. I’ve never made an apple crisp before, and learned that wrinkly apples are still pretty tasty!