film food social justice waste

Dive! – living off America’s waste

About ten years ago I visited some friends in Wheaton, Illinois who lived very well out of the dumpsters. There were seven or eight of them living in one house, and they would divide up and decide who was going to check which supermarkets, and then do a little tour of all the best spots. The night I joined them they were planning a dinner party, and we came back with salmon, new potatoes and green beans, with plenty of pastries for breakfast.

In the course of explorations in one of the bins, the police showed up. They took everyone’s names and since I was foreign, I ended up in the back of the patrol car for further questions. It’s the only time I’ve ever been in any trouble with the police, but since what we were doing wasn’t illegal, they sent us away with nothing but a rebuke for my friends. “Is this how you treat your guest from England? Take them dumpster diving? Shame on you!”

I was reminded of this incident by the trailer for Dive!, a film about freeganism and food waste in America.


  1. Food ‘donations’ (the food left over at the end of the day at some cafes and restaurants that would otherwise have been thrown away) and dumpster diving, allowed me to volunteer for 15 months while starting a global awareness and education youth and schools program. Having spent a lot of time in many developing countries learning resourcefulness, resilience and a no waste lifestyle, it is not the dumpster divers who should be embarrassed but the policeman (and society) who sees waste as something we do and not be ashamed of it…

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