Why I Dumpster Dive

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the dilemma of whether to keep my Dumpster Diving Map of Pennsylvania online or to take it down. I found the answer by asking a more important question – Why do I dumpster dive?

I started dumpster diving in college as a form of protest against consumerism and how wasteful our society is (40% of food grown in this country is wasted). My protest was the act of not buying food for 3 years in college, and I publicized it by sharing dumpster food with everyone and being interviewed for articles and class projects.

Since then I have moved from State College to dumpster dived Philly and now Pittsburgh. I dumpster dive to survive, I dumpster dive to create awareness and to show people the waste our society has, I dumpster dive to fight consumption and waste. I am disgusted by the amount of food in the trash and I think everyone else should be too.

In the past I have been angrily told things like, “Keep it secret keep it safe.” And occasionally condemned by other divers who dislike the publicity. But I have found my response to those concerns:
I don’t want to live in a country that wastes 40% of it’s food when 1 out of 6 Americans lack a stable food supply.
I don’t want to exploit a system that wastes this much – I want to destroy it.
I want as many people as possible to know how much food is wasted and how good that food is.
I want more people to dive – too much food gets wasted.

I am concerned about dumpsters being shut down and police harassing divers, but I’m more concerned that this wastefulness will continue unimpeded. That our country will continue throwing away so much perfectly edible food and goods. I believe the best way to fight that is to let people see for themselves how wasteful our society is.

So I say – go out and dive! And share with others your finds and your disgust. Be courteous and clean and only dive after close and ideally after midnight. Always leave it cleaner than you found it and be quiet when you’re out there keep it good for all of us.



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