Friday, 27 May 2016

Most Frequent Dumpster Finds

After about two years of full-time dumpster diving, I usually know what to expect when I go out for a dive, although there is also always an element of surprise of what exactly I will find, especially when I venture out into new territory (different region, different store or different chain).

Here is what I find most often. I never run out of these!

1. Junk food / candy
Since the dumpster is a reflection of what you find in the store, it is no surprise that junk food, sweets and candy are the most frequently encountered types of dumpster treasure. Cookies, chocolate, bonbons, cakes, ready-meals, etc are all regularly available, usually in large quantities, free of charge. Especially after holidays.

2. Bread
If the store has a bakery, then bread is a daily find. Usually it is neatly packaged in a bag. I also find a lot of loaves, but in addition mostly a lot of pastries and buns. The kind that get sold individually (and is very expensive).

3. Fruits and vegetables
I usually find more fruits than vegetables, but most of the time there are at least some vegetables to be found in the dumpster each day. Most frequently I find bananas, oranges, apples, and mandarins. Also blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pineapples and avocados. Often I also find broccoli, snap peas, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, bell peppers and cauliflower. Less frequently (spring) onions, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, zucchini, kale and spinach. And of course it changes a bit with the seasons.

4. Meat, fish and dairy products
Yoghurts, all kinds of cheese, meat (mainly sausages) and fish (mostly salmon).

5. Fresh herbs
Fresh parsley, coriander, oregano and so on (usually organic) are frequently found in the dumpster, as well as all kinds of flowers. Often they still look reasonably okay and with a bit of TLC and a bit more space they can  do quite well and be enjoyed for a long while.

6. Flour, sugar and salt 
Only thrown out when the package is torn. But who cares? I just transfer it into a plastic container that I find.

Less frequent finds, but if, then a lot:

1. Eggs

2. Coffee
Sometimes the packets are still in their  cardboard transport box.

3. Frozen food
Ice cream, frozen vegetables and berries, pizza, etc. Usually I find these only when packaging has been damaged. Rarely when they are expired. But if they do expire, there is usually a lot of them.

4. Nuts

Rare finds:

These should be cherished and celebrated.

1. Spices / dried herbs

2. Alcoholic beverages
Yes, I have found them on occasion. Mostly beer and one time vodka. I don't drink alcohol myself but they make great gifts for those who like this kind of stuff.

3. Anything canned and in glass containers
Glass containers are the best because you can reuse them after to make your own jam.

4. Vegan 'milk'
Rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk and oat milk. I have found them all on occasion, but it is rare.

5. Cloudberries
A Norwegian delicacy and very expensive because they are handpicked in the mountains. I found these only two times!

6. Supplements
Such as vitamin D and Omega 3. I found two of these recently, which is very useful in Norway.

7. Beans (dried)
Rare but I have found them once.

Things you may not expect to find, which I have found in supermarket dumpsters:

1. A dart board

2. Laundry detergent, shampoo and body wash
I actually find these on a regular basis.

3. Staff clothing
Very useful if you want to dive inconspicuously.

4. Accessories
Yes, I even found these and I know one shop that throws them out each year around Christmas time. Still with labels and price tags.

5. Candles
Especially after Christmas time. Makes sense I guess.

6. A battery charger including rechargeable batteries
This is awesome, because they are needed for your headlight, which is an essential dumpster diving tool. It was thrown away because the pins of the plug were a bit bent (which can probably be fixed very easily).

I hope you enjoyed this list! This is for Norway, but I would love to know if there are differences. So what's in your local dumpster? Let me know in the comments, or send me pictures from what you've found!

(For more tips on diving, and a guide on how to get started, read Dumpster Diving 101).

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