This week, foodsharing group Wageningen had a screening of DIVE!

Just incase you have not seen it, ”DIVE follows director Jeremy Seifert and his friends as they dumpster dive behind several grocery stores in the Los Angeles area to demonstrate the massive amount of food that is wasted each year in America. After showing that much of the food found in dumpsters is perfectly edible, Seifert confronts the managers of the stores to question why they don’t donate more of it to local food banks, especially in light of the 1996 Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which protects them from liability for such donations. The legality and ethics of dumpster diving are discussed when the stores begin locking up their dumpsters. Finally, Seifert considers the waste created by individual consumers when they throw out food that is only partly bad or just past its expiration date.

I will not say the film was a disappointment, however, it made me realise that there is much to be done by individuals if we are to address foodwaste. The makers of the film therefore came up with the ”EAT TRASH Campaign to End Food Waste” – ”this is part of a growing movement that re-examines the role of food in a society that wastes 1/2 of all that it produces. This is a call to action. the campaign aims to inspire, awaken, challenge, educate, and empower individuals to reduce waste in the home, school, work, and cafeteria. To put pressure on supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and corporations to Save More and Waste Less. To highlight the role of hunger, poverty, and waste in society and take this on as an issue of justice, ethics, morality, and common sense – imagine a world of empty dumpsters, full bellies, and regular people leading sustainable lives.

People in Europe (some) do not see food waste as an issue here, infact, after the movie someone commented ”but this is the United States, its not happening here in Holland”. For sure, food waste occurs on a higher magnitude in the US, where some  165 billion dollars worth of food per year is thrown away in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined. the food waste fiasco

However, statistics for The Netherlands look like this according to the government website

Each year, Dutch consumers throw away approximately € 2.5 billion worth of food. This is equivalent to more than € 155 per person, or around 50 kilos. Food producers, wholesalers, the hospitality industry and supermarkets discard a further € 2 billion in food.

The products consumers throw away most often are:

  • milk and milk products;
  • bread;
  • vegetables;
  • fruit;
  • sauces, oils and fats.

These figures come from the food waste Factsheet 2013.

20% reduction in food waste by 2015

This is a waste of money as well as energy. The transport and processing of waste produces additional CO2 emissions.The government therefore wants to reduce the rate of food wastage by 20% in 2015. Consumers and companies have a major role to play in this. If food producers and consumers throughout the food chain work together, the target can be met. Consumers can be more careful about how much food they buy and use. And producers can sell smaller portions or improve their packaging.

Cooperation between government and industry

In the No Waste Network, the government and the food industry are working on ways to reduce food wastage.The network brings together the agricultural sector, the food industry, supermarkets and the hospitality industry to ask each other questions, discuss issues and forge collaborative partnerships.

I go dumpster diving atleast 5 times in a month, depending what i find. Being a transitioning vegetarian, i can be picky whereby i do not dumpster dive bread or diary or meat. Sometimes i have been lucky, i find a bunch of veggies, while othertimes its all meat 😦

The evening we had the screening of DIVE! was a good one for me. Following the movie, i went home, had a snap dinner of potatoes and veggies, and tried to time the store’s closing time of 10 oçlock so i went real slow on my bike. However, when i  go there, i had company of about 5 other people, students from the university. I tried to warn them there were staff still inside the store (there is a fine of 140euros if caught dumpster diving), but they did not listen until another woman came and warned them, then they scrammed! I tried to kill time by going for a jog around the town, before coming back. The store staff had not left yet, and it was risky approaching the bins, so i got into conversation with another dumpster diver and her friend, the students who had come by car, were nowhere to be seen, so we got talking ,this woman and i. There were 4 of us waiting for the coast to be clear, the other 2 were homeless guys who also came in a van – and i got to learn that they take the food and share it with other homeless people,

The lady told me there is about 20 people that depend on this particular skip, Monday – Friday. Sometimes the guy with the van comes and wants to take everything in the skip and leave nothing for others, and apparently a few words have been exchanged before. She told me about the struggles some people have in this particular area to feed their families, especially the struggles by the homeless guys.

Once the coast was clear (store staff were still chatting in-front of the store but finally packed it in and left), we approached the bins and went shopping. I was in vegetable heaven, packets of ready made salad, green beans, strawberries, we even found a six pack of non alcoholic beer and  the guy who found it gave me a can,  i got broccoli, potatoes, more packs of ready made veggies, mushrooms, i remembered the students might be on their way as well ,so i took what i could and i left the others, hoping silently they would leave some for the students

The food i have can possibly last me until i leave for the holidays, but i might also go one more time this week to see if i can get some more veggies…if not, its no big deal. I also rescued some meat which is currently in our common freezer, if there is a pot luck dinner coming up, i might prepare that then and take it along because i will not be eating that, so…

And now, ladies and gentlemen, and fellow dumpster divers i present to you, food i found i rescued from the bin

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November 27.2014 dumbster diary

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Because i live alone, this food can feed me for atleast a month, lunch and dinner… but first a smoothie from some rescued food

I try to share my dumpster diving spots with as many people as i can, and while i understand that i will not be eating out of the bin for ever, i also applaud efforts by fellow travellers that have kick-started efforts to draw attention to waste, and while i still do not know the magnitude of my actions, together with my mother, we will for 2015 set up the permaculture project for school children where they can learn about food production and how can they be a part of the food they eat

Check out these projects;

1. Rob Greenfield

2. The hunger of the world

3. agro velocities



    • WOW, when are they doing this?
      I had planned to do the same this summer from Holland – Turkey, but i need to do more research and plan
      thanks for sharing their link, i will check it out


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