wednesday november 23, 2005 : daily

story link: dumpster diving,

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Posted to Daily News
November 23, 2005 • 8:57 am | Permalink


  • Daniel B. says:

    I would have no problem eating this stuff. Why should I?
    But my main thought was: Gosh, think about how much MONEY you could save every day! (Which probably means, that i am still too much of a capitalist to fully embrace the ideology behind freeganism...). Plus I still need my regular lump of meat now and again.
    But these people have all my sympathies! Great report, too!

  • Madison says:

    If I was poor i still wouldnt want to join the trashpickers

  • mrmooge88 says:

    I like steak! But if freeganism is what works for you go for it.

  • avi_stetto says:

    I don't understand the incongruity of why they choose to live in such a bastion of capitalism yet only eat and live off of the detrius. Why wouldn't they prefer to move out to the country and grow their own crops and make their own clothes? You know, basically live like the Amish.

  • MasterH8R says:

    Humans didn’t fight their way to the top of the food chain just to become vegans. It’s reverse evolution. We are carnivores by design. Who’s up for New York Strip? I don’t buy that dumpster diving is a demonstration against the system, since all the food is a by-product of the system. I understand the enormous waste created is terrible and poignant, especially on the eve of Thanksgiving, but come on, ‘Freekinism’ is going an awful long way to make a point. It seems that this is just another diversion of hippys with nothing better to do since Jerry Garcia died and the Dead tours ended. Move to an Ohio farm if you want to live off the land. You can really stick to the man then and the good citizens of Gotham can live in capitalist peace. End extremism on both sides of the issues. See you in the moveable middle, we can get more accomplished.

  • conniec says:

    The first time I heard about Freeganism was actually on the show "Wife Swap" last week, where a freegan wife switched places with a woman from a very upscale family. This show is brilliant at bringing together extremes and documenting the subsequent clash of values. Bio and interviews with the two wives here:

    I didn't realize this was a movement; I thought it was just the one family with this philosophy. Boy, we do waste more than we know just by being in this society, don't we?

  • Docket Room says:

    Amanda - you've got a good thing going, just don't screw it up by using footage from Daily Planet TV and regurgitating it as your own discovery, and appearing ignorant at that. We're not stupid.

    "Ploggaerism" is obvious to your audiences.

  • Eddie C. says:

    Side note: did you intentionally white-balance on blue to get Amanda looking like she does today, or were you guys just in a rush?

  • Janine says:

    Yuck. Sorry.

    Thank goodness! Some sensible people with sensible comments!! Pheewwwww!! And what is with the tan Amanda?? It's getting darker and darker. Is it spray on? Do tell!

  • TeraLink says:

    Yeah rick: my thoughts exactly. That IS freegan disgusting.

    TeraLink Was Here!

    P.S. Is there really that much food there?

  • Will Cate says:

    I'm reminded of that great Seinfeld episode where George is caught scarfing down a pastry he retrieved from the trash.

    Bottom line -- these people are eating garbage. That's just gross.

  • If these white middle class types are so concerned about the starving people around the world, why don't they help poor people get access to this stuff instead of stealing it from them? A lot of poor / homeless people *only* have dumpster diving as a means of subsistence.

  • enockss says:

    Wow, just when you thought you've seen it all ! Sadly, the sanitation dept came along before the group could rummage through the bags to pick out their dessert.

  • Jeremiah says:

    Thanks for keeping me informed. What was that guy talking about in the background the whole time?

    I'd like to see the meals that they cook up with these ingredients.

  • He who is says:

    I don't get it. Ending world hunger is an extreme idea. Digging through the garbage to find what you may or may not want to eat is a pretty extreme way to subsist. The benefits of digging through the garbage to subsist, as far as ending world hunger is concerned, seem less than marginal. I'd love to hear what Anderson Digby would have to say about this!

  • stan says:

    Yuppies/Hipsters slummin' it.

  • MasterH8R says:

    The problem of wasted food becomes irrelevant once you address the REAL issue of a country that does not adequately provide for its poor and homeless. Isn’t that the drill down, Drew? By the way, how’s the view from the high ground?

    You shouldn’t be surprised the above reactions are in response to shocking footage of people eating from dumpsters that you provided! The issue of waste really took a back seat to that one don’t you think? The waste issue, if that was your intended social commentary, could have been delivered better, without the ‘divers’. Swing-and-a-miss.

  • flightrisk says:

    You (mis)quote the woman who talked about guerilla gardening and urban foraging and then contend that freegans are dependent on "the system." This system, namely capitalism, in no way supports or provides anything vis-a-vis guerilla gardening (recliming deserted lots and turning them into viable, food producing gardens) or urban foraging (finding edible plants in places like parks).

    It's impossible to cover everything in a three minute video, but folks who self-identify as freegan also work on projects like food not bombs, which provides free meals to hungry folks, and peoples' pantries, where reclaimed food is taken to a centralized location and made availble to the public (much like a grocery store where everything is free).

    why would anyone leave their home to move to ohio (where land still costs money as does trying to grow one's own food)? Evolutionarily speaking, humans have orthodonture more akin to herbavores and the digestive tract as well. As an aside, though the word freegan is derived from free and vegan, not all freegans are necessarily vegan and as was mentioned in the video, freeganism is a lifestyle, not a dietary restriction. Plenty of meat, dairy, and eggs are thrown out daily.

    Stephen Watkins:
    First, you don't know what you're talking about in terms of the economic backgrounds of even the folks profiled in this spot, much less freegans in general. Second, as previously stated, plenty of freegan folk work on other projects which serve to bring notice to how much is wasted or bring wasted food directly to those who need and want it.

    You simply don't know what the f*ck you are talking about.

  • Gary says:

    Wasted food is definitely a serious issue but those people are crazy.

    'You never know what you may find'. Too right: dirty needles, rat poison that someone threw out with the food. The sell-by date may be OK, but was the food kept cool before it was binned?

    No I don't think this will be 'more accepted' in a few years from now :-)

  • GOD says:

    Stephen Watkins wins this thread.

    To the freegans:

    I'm sure Vegans everywhere are thrilled that you are giving mainstream society a picture to put with Veganism in general.

    You can already see the contradiction in ideals (towards the end of the clip) between the woman with the hat and the redhead. The woman with the hat wants everyone to embrace this wonderful garbage-eating lifestyle (acceptance), and the redhead wants less waste.

    "Every little bit" doesn't count in the grand scheme of things. You're like a pimple on face of corporate waste. If you really want to do something, there are other alternatives that don't resort to cheap shock-value.

    "Look at me, I'm eating garbage and getting attention!"

    Ever heard not-for-profit food distribution? Why don't you try volunteering your extra time there? Or, if there are so many freegans, start your own Vegan food distribution and get food donations from these places before they hit the urine-soaked curbs?

    You are seriously misguided. Get a life and grow up. If you want less waste, work toward it -- don't eat it.

  • Michael C. says:

    What shocked me is that NYC does not have an organization like we have here in Phoenix, AZ: Waste Not

    Waste Not picks up excess and close to expired food and distributes it to a network of shelters and food banks. If the real concern is waste then the freegans should copy Waste Not's model.

  • Is that freeganism a sad joke or is America really that far off?
    Don't you have anything better to do? Like save the world or something (like the moon or mars)?

  • Daniel B. says:

    1. Stephen Watkins does indeed win this thread.
    2. God and Michael D. come in close second.

    I've worked in cinemas, restaurants and nursing homes in Germany, and practically ALL of these institutions have a deal with the wellfare army or some organization called "Tafel" - they come around in the evenings, collect the food that would be thrown away and use it for free-meal-services for homeless people. I can't believe there are no such organizations in New York! Is that so???

  • ChrisM70 says:

    A few things:

    1. A very interesting and thought-provoking story for the Thanksgiving break. Great Job!

    2. Do the freegans eat garbage to draw attention, or are they eating from dumpsters because they have no other option? I must admit that I do have a lot of respect for people willing to step outside "the system" and at least the freegans are making a non-violent statement that perhaps will make some people think twice about their excessive consumption.

    3. It seems to me that it would be much more productive (and more sanitary) to start a group and/or work with charities that could collect the leftovers from restaurants, stores, etc., and store it properly, and get the food to people who want (or need) it.

    4. It would be a shame if the freegans not only brought attention to food waste, but also to group food poisoning.

  • Leonard says:

    Always fun to go into a holiday break with a little controversy. Enjoy a couple of days off guys. You've earned it.

    Happy November 24th to those of us not of the Thanksgiving persuasion.

  • Gary says:

    Also I meant to say, this is definitely a Rocketboom classic.

  • Alex H. says:

    OK, this is all old hat to someone like me. I have bee slightly supplementing my food with stuff from the dumpster for years.
    Here are the facts as I have come to know them
    #1 I have never ever met anyone who has gotten sick from eating food from a dumpster. I find I am far more picky of what I eat from the dumpster than from the store and it pays off
    #2 it is quite possible to set up programs getting food from restaurants but some place will refuse and often (as seen in the video) the food was a grocery store which don't ever (I believe for legal reasons) give out food that has gone "bad".
    #3 Freeganism ideally is a temporary movement, surly in a perfect world no one would live off of freeganism but some people have the social conscience not to let food go to waste (remember the starving children in [insert your fav starving 3rd world country]). By lowering the demand of food you can then lower the price allowing more food to feed more people. even going vegetarian can greatly reduce the amount of waste you produce in the process through which you get your food (think of how inefficient it is to grow food to feed animals that you then eat. For every calorie of beef you eat the cow needed to eat 8 calories to produce that for you)
    #4 America isn't that bad off, as freegans very rarely dumper dive (or as we call it in Madison Wisconsin, "Dumpstering") out of necessity. This is a choice. A choice to reduce waste in a horribly inefficient food gathering system that soon won't be able to support the world (hasn't anyone read about the pentagon's contingency plan for war over food and water they expect to occur within the next 50 years?)

    And a good documentary on this practice (although not explicitly on dumpster diving) is "the Gleaners and I" by Director Agnes Varda. nice french film if you don't mind subtitles.

    And for everyone who thinks this practice is disgusting, I am pretty sure there are more contagions on your money than there is in dumpstered food.

  • ron says:


    Those guys are very ... original ... and their case should be adressed ;)

    No one would say that the problem of waste, mostly a by-product of our economy of consumption, isn't a real and critical issue that should be addressed. Thanks for the interesting comments on that.

    Ok, Amanda and Drew did not choose the right example to speak about this issue.

    But is it the point of RB ? I mean, here RB made what it does the best: showing us unexpected things (funny or not) AND/OR reminded us about serious issues (here, the waste issue). Why would they deal only about strange things OR very serious matters. Why should they be serious and in-depth (Chad Chesterfield represents) or only funny, or taking the angle you like (hi Kate Wingle)?

    Guys, it's up to you to analyse the stuff provided by RB, and take the most of it. In 3 minutes, given the number of comments, RB brought 2 great topics. Why reproaching that to RB? Don't say that RB is bad, just stick at thinking about what they give you (serious things, not so serious ones ... or both at the same time), or just enjoy it when it's funny. Please, stop asking them to be that or that.

    BTW: daniel b.(Germany) and John Netherlands are on the right way ... in France, the same king of stuff happens (restaurants giving to our equivalent of the Slavation Army). Think about it: the Old Europe have an edge ...

    Have a happy Thanksgiving all ... especially you, Drew and Amanda ... I'm heading South, from snow to the sun of Miami, in desperate hope of having the tan of Amanda ;)

    Life is good. Enjoy.

  • Anson says:

    I don't know where they find these dumpsters but the last time I looked into my trash, there was nothing that was edible...


    I was taught early on that there's a 5 second rule... and certainly ANYTHING IN THE TRASH IS TRASH...

    What we got here is some amish who discovered urban life and they need to go... and where did these Freegan people get access to computers if they just moved from the amish country?? Gees

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • danny says:

    What a bunch of fucking losers. Have some self-respect. Reminds me of those vain fools that are now cutting off limbs and fingers that are perfectly fine just for the hell of it. You ought to run a blurb about that one. Thats a pretty popular act these days in your city, or so I have read.


  • Topher says:

    Everybody take a good look into your garbage cans. How much is bio degradable? How much is recyclable? How much is plastic or colored cardboard? Take a good, hard look at your own trash before you start dishing it.

  • Marlie says:


  • BrianJ says:

    To the Rocketboom crew:

    Keep up the good work folks!

    Congratulations on your vlog about dumpster diving in NYC.

    I say, good luck to the dumpster divers for highlighting such a crazy situation.

  • jos says:

    The US is living well above it's capacities. Every day the US gets loans from all over the world for about 3 billion dollars. Every day. So it might be a good plan to economize somewhere?
    Rocketboom keep up the good work!

  • Brad says:

    ewww... ewwww... can i say that again? EWWWW!!!!!

  • The Ted says:

    Nice....I guess.

    I wouldn't pick out of the trash for food unless I had none. Few of those people looked like they were in poverty and needed to be digging in the trash.

    But those are their lives and they choose how to live them....even if they do refuse to pay for anything.

  • was that you on the "restaurant" tv show the other day? i could've sworn.

  • mat in paris says:

    I agree with Alex H. Eat everything within the time limit on the packaging and you'll never eat delicious, smelly cheese.

    Make cheese, not war.

  • javiersc says:

    En méxico pasa de manera similar, cuando le regalas algo que ya no quieres a alguien, este se siente menospreciado, pero si lo coloco por separado en una bolsa limpia y sin mezlclarlo con productos perecederos u organicos en mi basura, en menos de 30 minutos a desaparecido del frente de mi casa, quien lo hace se siente inteligente, al pensar que yo soy un desperdiciado por haberlo arrojado a la basura, en resumen hago lo mismo pero al parecer así no ofendo a nadie.
    Crees que las personas encargadas de tirar esta comida tomen algo para su beneficio antes de pasar las bolsa de basura a su casa?

  • Foiljr says:

    Amanda what I love is that you both bring so many things to the table. People's reactions to stories are wonderful! Have to say this is another gem. Great job! Just not for me :) I guess I am a sheep to the capitalistic machine if I wont go that far. But tell me is freegen the way to go for you?

  • Foiljr says:

    Amanda what I love is that you both bring so many things to the table. People's reactions to stories are wonderful! Have to say this is another gem. Great job! Just not for me :) I guess I am a sheep to the capitalistic machine if I wont go that far. But tell me is freegen the way to go for you?

  • Foiljr says:

    Amanda what I love is that you both bring so many things to the table. People's reactions to stories are wonderful! Have to say this is another gem. Great job! Just not for me :) I guess I am a sheep to the capitalistic machine if I wont go that far. But tell me is freegen the way to go for you?

  • The Warden says:

    Rather than standing as an indictment of capitalism, all this wasted food speaks to greatness of our economic system.

    These freegans might have a case to make if the millions of starving people they cite lived under capitalistic systems. But they don't.

    The answer is more capitalism, not less. What other system can produce in such abundance?

    Further, the concern about hunger in America is grossly overstated. Anyone in the US can get a meal and a shower through local churches, charitable organizations and government homeless shelters.

    We live in the greatest, most charitable country on earth.

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