Sunday, 20 August 2017

When Dumpsters Get Locked...

If you are rescuing food from supermarket dumpsters on a regular basis, then you might run into problems when your actions are discovered by staff. Dumpsters may get locked, moved inside the storage area, fenced in or replaced by a press container. Of course this is something we want to avoid and in this article I will share some prevention strategies.

"Welcome" -- *points to store entrance for divers*
Usually, store personnel won't mind dumpster divers if they dive respectfully. This means always leaving the site as clean as or cleaner than you found it, diving after closing time, minimizing noise and limiting exposure (try not to be seen by anybody). If your favorite store is fairly abandoned after opening hours and the dumpsters are used in such a way that it is difficult for staff to find out about what you are doing, you may prefer to dive anonymously. However, when you dive in an area where you can be easily spotted by passers-by, or if dumpsters are small and you collect a lot of stuff from the bins, then you may want to consider trying to arrange a diving agreement.

One way to do this is to ask the store manager for permission first to collect and donate food. You can either agree to collect the food inside the store directly, or to dive with permission. Unfortunately, store managers are often still reluctant to donate food or give permission for divers, and this strategy may backfire because the manager will be on high alert, and may take preventive measures against dumpster diving. However, so far this has not happened to me. What did happen in one case is that the manager turned a blind eye to the diving and even walked past me on many occasions while I was digging for treasures.

When interacting with store personnel, especially managers, make an effort to see their point of view and always respond with kindness, humility and compassion.

1. Remember it is fear, not malice, that motivates managers to resist food rescuers.
2. Fear (like anything else) can best be approached with love and compassion. Not attack, blame or defensiveness.
3. Try to keep the conversation open and take initiative.
4. Be innovative and positive in your approach and communications with personnel, management and law enforcers.
5. Demonstrate your goodwill by sharing your treasures with others, especially those who are less fortunate than you or organizations with little resources who aim to make a difference in the world  (volunteering organizations, animal shelters, homeless people, refugees, organic farms, etc).

Another option is to make your presence known in a subtle way, by leaving a note on the dumpster door (on the outside or inside). You can do this straight away or after a dumpster gets locked.
Here is an example of such a note:

Dear ....,

You have been visited by Food Rescuers. We collect food waste and donate it to farms and people in need, to help prevent climate change.

Your store remains anonymous and we take full responsibility for food safety. We will not donate if there is any health risk.

Please help us by keeping your dumpsters unlocked, or we can pick up directly at the store during opening hours. Please call 93606823 to make arrangements.

Thank you for helping us with our cause. We are always open to answering questions and feel free to get in touch if you would like to learn more.


Trondheim Food Rescue Team

Of course it is very important that you keep your promises and commit to your purpose long-term. Read more about what it takes to live moneyless here.

It may be difficult to know what option works best and it may require you to talk to the manager first, even if just to get a feel for the type of person you are dealing with.

If you have other advice for fellow divers, feel free to post your tips below.

Most of all, don't forget to keep on having fun!

Happy hunting! :)

(click HERE for a reminder of the benefits of dumpster diving; not just for yourself, but also for the store and the rest of the world!)

Show Comments: OR