Posted in Dumpster diving, Sustainability

Dumpster diving update

I’ve been dumpster diving since around late December 2014. Places I have gotten discarded food include in an alley (no dumpster, just all in boxes on top of or next to wood pallets) next to a fruit shop in Randwick Shopping Plaza (where Coles is located); three dumpsters at Paddy’s Markets Haymarket; Woolworths Chatswood loading bay; and two dumpsters at the two supermarkets in Springwood.

With Paddy’s, the security people have asked me a few times to stop, but they let me take what I had already taken. I also shop at Paddy’s if I need things that I can’t find in dumpsters. There is one shop at the back (furthest from the main entrance) that sells lower quality stuff at a lower price. The dumpsters are also a great source for getting stuff like lots of leafy greens (I think the most abundant is cauliflower leaves) for chooks and other pets if you have them.

Woolworths Chatswood had their loading bay roller door shut the last two times I went–once during and another time after 10 pm, closing time. There were still workers inside the loading bay (with a grated roller door that you can see through), so I went to Coles to buy food. When I passed buy again as I was leaving, the door was still shut, but a car and workers were no longer there. Before those times, I went there once during the day, but some workers came out, then they called a security guard. As I was riding away on my bike, the security guard called me back. I turned around, and he told me not to go in there because it was private property, and the workers had to clean up if a mess was made. They then closed the loading bay door as I rode off.

Before that kerfuffle, I had been a few times and had gotten stuff out of the dumpsters at night–sometimes after closing time, and at least once before closing time. In addition to fruit and veg, there was also a lot of bread, ready-made meals, boccochini, and meat. Some of the meals were OK, but I don’t eat any of the other stuff.

Another source of discarded food is the North Shore Christian Centre. Every Thursday from 10 am-12 pm, people who have a low income Centrelink card (e.g. health care cards) can buy a minimum of $10 worth of discarded goods that has been sold to them, and then people can get free stuff–up to 3 kinds of fruits, 3 kinds of vegetables, and some bread. I have got stuff from there twice. The first time I went there I was there for over an hour without getting any food, because I had to sign up, so I decided to leave as I had to go do gardening and cleaning for my Grandma. The second time I went, they let me get just free stuff like about a kilogram of walnuts, avocadoes, tomatoes, oranges, apples, and leafy greens. The third time, I bought 2 kg of peanut butter for $10, and free stuff like bananas, grapes, a baby spinach plant, and salad.

People there are friendly. If you feel uncomfortable about the feeling that people might be trying to coerce you into accepting their ways and beliefs, then you may not like going there. However, if you can stomach that, good for you. I’ll give some examples. When I signed up I was asked if I’d like to be contacted about certain things like classes about Christianity, and volunteering. I was also asked what my religious beliefs were. People talked about what church they go to. One gentleman discussed his contribution as a Christian with music while fiddling with what looked like a home-made cigarette.

TL;DR: Paddy’s Markets is an abundant source of discarded food, but security may ask you to leave a few times out of many trips. The fruit and veg store at Randwick near Coles is also good, but it’s probably best to go after hours (I haven’t tried during business hours). North Shore Christian Centre is good, but you need to pay a minimum of $10 before getting free stuff, and may also feel coerced with Christianity. Go towards the end of or after the session at 12 pm, then you will be more likely to grab as much free stuff as you like. Woolworths Chatswood was available for dumpster diving, but isn’t any more.

Still TL;DR: current sources of free food are Paddy’s Markets Haymarket, the fruit and veg store near Coles at Randwick, North Shore Christian Centre, and Springwood supermarkets. I’ve also got tips that other good locations for freegan food are all Aldi stores, Marrickville Metro Woolies, Dulwich Hill IGA, and Bourke St bakery. Many other bakeries toss out heaps of bread and will be happy to give you food or sell it at a reduced price if you go at the end of the day.

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