dumpster magic

Shortly after I started this, my flatmate asked: “Do you even buy food anymore?”

I said “yes, of course”, because I didn’t see myself as that hardcore. Neither did I want to be seen like that. Someone who ONLY eats trash. That’s really freaky. That’s kind of….wrong. That’s not me…
But I said it with hesitation. Even though my self-perception was that of an occasional diver, I had to admid that I hardly bought anything during that time. And that I had dificulties passing “my store” without checking its back.

There where things though I thought of buying, just the basics. Oil, bread, chocolate…

Until I wanted to try to not buy food at all. Just get by what I find, collect in nature, or what people are willing to offer.

This lead to some “reflections”:

“They throw out mainly products that go bad fast, so I will be getting mostly dairy. But I’m kind of craving carbohydrates right now.”
–> Soon after I find my first tortellini wave.

“Too bad that cereal stays good forever… I really would like cereal for breakfast though.”
–> I am surprised by three packs of cereal.

“What if I run out of oil?”
–> I find 5 packs of margarine for baking and frying.

“The margarine was a lucky catch, but it doesn’t last forever”
–> I find some butter

“I suppose I will be able to keep frying with alternations of margarine and butter”
–> I find 14! bottles of oil

“Ok, looks like I can actually really live from thrown away products. But I still need to buy the things that I need and are not edible, like flower pots”
–> I find loads of buckets with perfect flowerpod size

“I see now, I get all I need. But what about my cat?”
–> Someone offers catfood via freecycle

“I guess something as specific as grain coffee I will have to make myself. Like dandelion roots or acorns”
–> I find three packs of grain coffee. definitly enough to keep me going till acorn season.

“Ok, let’s test it. I need lemon for my woodruff sirup. Let’s see whether the dumpster will provide”
–> I don’t find lemons, but returnable bottles which I trade in for three euros something. I buy lemons and thus made a surplus of a euro and a few cents.

Now I am waiting for detergent for my laundry. Seems unlikely, but I did find hand soap once… I didn’t keep it because it was spilling. Hm…maybe I shouldn’t have thrown it away…

And there were more stories I didn’t anticipate.

When I found 2 kilos of corn flour, I tried to find out what to do with corn flour, margarine and water only. There would have been the possibility of cookies if only I had a banana. The banana came the folllowing day.

I find some packs of sauce holandaise. The next day I found the corresponding asparagus. Ok, I admit, someone else had taken home the sauce till then, but it would have been a perfect match…

Once I had a guest via couchsurfing. I took him along. It was amazing. We had a bit of everything: dairy, bread flour for rolls in the morning, meat for the rolls, juice and fruit. We were able to dine and have breakast like kings from only that night’s dive.

One week in uni, I was buying food again for some time, I fed myself with snickers bars and kinder maxi king. Relishing the calory bombs I thought that this was actually something one could only do with money. Not that it were a good thing, but still…
The very week I decided to take up the freegan experiment again, I found three packs of snickers the one day and 15 kinder maxi king the other.

It’s funny how it’s all there. And it works the other way around too.

A guy via freecycle was looking for a data cable for an old sony cyber shot and I had it.

I had a tube for drinking from a backpack which I didn’t need and I thought no one else could use, but there was a girl who had the backpack but not the tube and was happy to take it.

And my favorite: I come to the “give and take” market and ask my friends: “I brought my x-ray of my lung, it’s probably really useless, I mean, who could want that, but it’s kind of a pitty to throw it out, afterall…”
Not a minute has passed when a woman passes by, sees a glimps of the x-ray which I, slightly embarresed, had pulled a bit from a plastic bag.
And all over sudden she gets all excited: “Oh, uh, AWESOME! Can I have that?”
I was baffled. Of course she could, but… really, what are the odds?


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