Dumpster divers fight waste war
Dumpster divers fight waste war

With a third of the world’s food ending up in bins, the practice of ‘‘dumpster diving’’has become a growing movement in Australia.

'''Reporter Clare Negus talks to those who turn someone else’s trash into dinner ...
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Scavenging through bins is not glamorous but for a small section of society it is a way of life.

Bunbury artist Genevieve Daley is part of a growing community of dumpster divers, also known as skip dippers, who scavenge in objection to consumerism as well as to save money.

‘‘Many of us are staunch to the belief that waste is an ethical dilemma,’’ she said.

Ms Daley said it was common practice for the homeless who were not on welfare and were living on the street.

She has known drifters who squat at the old St John of God building to use dumpster diving as their only source of food.

Ms Daley said that with the cost of living on the increase, some people had no choice but to scavenge for their dinner.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that about a third of food produced for human consumption worldwide goes to waste, amounting to more than one billion tonnes a year.

A study, done for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, showed huge amounts of resources used in food production were wasted and the greenhouse gas emissions created producing food were used in vain.

Kevin Opferkuch, one of the directors of the Bunbury Farmers’ Market, said he hated to see produce go to waste and the staff had gone to great lengths to minimise what was ending up in landfill.

The market had an ongoing deal with a local pig farmer who picked up more than 800kg of green waste every day which was mostly made up of broccoli and cauliflower stalks and leaves.

Mr Opferkuch said the market fed ‘‘all kinds of critters’’ with scraps also made available for customers to take home for their animals.

Rigorous quality control standards and high consumer expectations means good food often ends up in bins.

Picking out a damaged mushroom from one of the market’s dumpsters, Mr Opferkuch said the mushroom would still be edible but, because of how it looked, was unsaleable.

Other supermarkets and retailers, however, are less than keen on having people foraging through their bins.

Dumpster divers have been known to run foul of the law and could get in trouble for trespassing, invasion of privacy or theft.

A spokeswoman for Woolworths said it was the policy of most major supermarkets to keep their bins locked because of ‘‘health and safety’’ concerns.

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