Every year in America
we throw away 96 BILLION pounds of food.
That's 263 MILLION pounds a day.
11 MILLION pounds an hour.
3,000 pounds a second.
And yet, people in our own country are still going hungry.
A few years ago I was introduced to the idea of dumpster diving. And there was never a second I thought this concept to be absurd. I grew up in a country of abundance and as I became more aware of the world around me, I realized just how much we waste and how little others have. Dumpster diving is my chance to actually take action and not contribute to the waste that's all around me. Even if it does not directly feed someone (other than myself) on one hand, just think of how much space we could save in the landfill if we filtered through what could really be used/eaten and not have to purchase that exact same thing to pile on top of the millions of other things that could have been used. And on the other, just think of how our pockets would be a little fuller too where we could in turn give back MORE to those really in need. It's not that I think I can't afford to eat well, but God has already provided us with so much, why waste my money on something I can always get for free?
My best dumpster find to date was a few summers ago at Aldi. I found a perfectly good paper shredder. I used it for all the other waste that came to my mailbox that year I lived in Nashville. Next to my beloved paper shredder was a brand new kiddie pool in a box that looked like big foot had stepped on it. The box was pretty beat up, but inside contained a kids summer dream! And it kept my feet cool in that nasty Nashville humidity. Unfortunately they discovered our finding and started locking the dumpster gate.
The next summer my roommate and I ventured out to Trader Joe's (the best dumpster to date) and cashed in on dozens of bouquets of flowers. We loaded her trunk and headed to our neighborhood where we dispersed the flowers on all of our neighbors' cars. It was glorious. Our street looked as if a wedding or parade was coming to town. It was the night after Michael Jackdon passed away so Heather and I spread rose pedals on the ground in a big heart and sang an ode to good ole MJ.
My favorite part about the whole thing (for some reason, most people assume I am a vegetarian) is getting to explain that I am not a vegetarian, I'm a freegan. I love to think that I had coined this term, but it's been used by others for years.
Be encouraged, you can make a difference tonight! Check out Dive the Film to find more things you can do.
I love to share my findings and figuring out new recipes with found objects, so the next potluck you invite me to, I can't promise the food was purchased by myself :)