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Old 03-07-2008, 09:43 AM
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 10,225,966 times
Reputation: 9131


I was intrigued by the feature on Oprah, too. Especially throwing things away that do not spoil -- the 100 one-pound bags of coffee. It may get stale, but it doesn't necessarily spoil. When I think of what I pay for a one-pound bag of coffee!

I might be hesitant to pull some things out of a dump, but it sure piqued my curiosity, as there are several up-scale grocery stores near me, bakeries, a donut shop, pizza restaurants. This will sound odd, but I would have less aversion to opening a bag on the sidewalk -- like the freegans featured in NYC -- than I would rummaging around in a dumpster behind a grocery store.

One of soup kitchens where I used to live, had people who volunteered to make runs to different places at about 9:00 p.m. (closing time) to get food items intended for the trash. Those day-old bagels and baked items made a nice breakfast for others the next morning.

At the school where my friend teaches, she hated seeing the unopened milk and juice cartons going into the trash, so she invested in a cooler, put it by the trash in the cafeteria, and at the end of day, she drops the products off at a Homeless Shelter on her way home. They could accept the unopened cartons when the school cafeteria couldn't re-stock them.

What opened my eyes was the figure shared -- Americans only make up 5% of the world's population, but consume 30% of the resources? That is absolutely unforgivable.
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:55 AM
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,783,990 times
Reputation: 29355
Originally Posted by RDSLOTS View Post
What opened my eyes was the figure shared -- Americans only make up 5% of the world's population, but consume 30% of the resources? That is absolutely unforgivable.
Of course, we're also about 30% of the world's productive output too. So if our resource consumption bothers anyone in the world, they can stop using the goods and services those resources produce. Not to mention that, notwithstanding the conspicuous waste this thread showcases, those resources are turned into products, goods and services more efficiently that nearly anywhere else on Earth. We don't need anyone's forgiveness.
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:42 AM
3,367 posts, read 9,863,452 times
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Originally Posted by Drover View Post
Whereas when it goes to compost, it breaks down to produce methane...

And when it gets processed in our digestive tracts, it breaks down to produce methane (unless you magically don't fart...)

There's just not a lot of avoiding the fact that some portion of food ends up as methane.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but...

Composting does not produce methane (in the natural breaking down process of vegetable matter - as long as it is aerated with oxygen it is not rotting).

In Belgium and other forward-thinking parts of Europe, the methane is pumped off the landfill and used to power the city's public bus system.

Just found this too Waste to Energy - City of Albuquerque (broken link)
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:13 PM
Location: in pa, but missin montana
65 posts, read 267,774 times
Reputation: 31
Default dumpster diving in pa?

Is dumpster diving legal in PA? Does anyone know? If I dived in this state could I get arrested?
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:20 AM
1 posts, read 2,167 times
Reputation: 10
As far as I know, anything that is discarded or thrown away, once it's on the street, it becomes public property and anyone can grab it without breaking any laws. I know this sounds lame, but I always see this on crime dramas like Law & Order, about how they can grab someone's trash (AKA "evidence") without a warrant because it's public property once it's on the street for anyone to grab.
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Old 11-26-2010, 05:42 AM
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,102 posts, read 4,992,344 times
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donating non-prepackaged foods greatly increases the donor's exposure to liability, especially if the donor has deep pockets like, say, a corporate restaurant.

A lot of restaurants around here dump bleach in their food-disposal dumpsters to keep divers and rats out.
This is sad but true, I know publix a publix in fort Myers donated alot of their day old pastery to SWFAS which is a detox facility..
My old boss would donate bread and doughnuts to a local homeless shelter Until one of the homeless guys/gals said he had gotten food poisoning from something he ate that was donated.. (from another source)

That pretty much stopped him from doing that anymore, Some people can ruin even the best intentions of others..
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:49 AM
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,604,245 times
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When I worked at a small mall coffeeshop in Harvard Square (The Garage, it was the Coffee Connection), there was a small group of homeless folks who'd come into the little mall. Near the end of the shift one of them would come in and ask for our old fruit. She was very picky - she wanted only a grapefruit or an orange, and a piece of whatever bread we had left over. We had no problem giving it to her -this was stuff that -would- get thrown out or donated at the end of the day, and she wanted the dignity of asking for it at the front door. We never gave her more than what she expected to get; the other homeless would've just fought over it. She was a pretty neat old lady.

These days, the risk of giving away food is too great in a litigious society. If it's old enough that you wouldn't sell it to your customer tomorrow, then it is too old to legally give to someone else. That's pretty much the function of the throw-away law. If it's good enough to sell to another customer, then it wouldn't go into the trash bin in the first place.

But lots of stores have policies which are just silly. Such as DUnkin Donuts - they require the manager to open a fresh bag of coffee to run tests on all the coffee machines in the shop, a couple times every day. Anything left over from the bag has to be thrown in the trash. Typically they use 1/3 of the coffee in the bag, and throw away 2/3. The amount in those bags (can't remember if they're 5 pounds or 10 pounds, but they're the big ones for store-use only) are enough to give a cup of coffee to everyone at a homeless shelter all day long. At $8/pound that's a lot of waste.

Dunkin Donuts prides itself in fresh bread products, and so of course - no leftovers sold the next day. That means they have to do something with the over 20 pounds of product that doesn't sell, per store, per day. They're supposed to throw it out, because they chose not to sell it the next day, and the law is clear: if it isn't good enough to sell tomorrow, you must discard it.

It IS good enough to sell tomorrow at a discount - but they choose not to, it's their company policy. So it gets wasted.

What they COULD do, is provide a special dumpster. A small one, next to the usual one. One containing ONLY "stuff that's perfectly edible and untouched, but that we won't be selling tomorrow." They could bag it all up - 4 bagels, 2 donuts, and a croissant in this bag, 6 bagels and a coffee roll in that bag - make a bunch of grab-bags for the dumpster divers. Tape the unused ground coffee bags closed, and stick it all in that special dumpster. If no one comes to take it, then the trash people haul it away just like usual.

But this way at least the food has a lower risk of being "defiled" by bad food, spoiled milk, and other garbage. All restaurants could do this, if they really wanted to. Give the dumpster divers, the homeless, the indigent, some method of acquiring the food free, with a lower risk of sickness, and without any liability risk to the restaurant.
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:20 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
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I recently knew of a bakery that made high-end breads. The kinds with goofy grains, that was packaged in brown paper bags with olde english font, and sold for $5-8 a loaf. Every night, the stuff their drivers brought back unsold from the stores went into a dumpster.

They had a chain and lock on it, but the lid was broken, and it was easy to get in and harvest the bread. That solved all problems. If there's litigation, they can shrug and say they keep the dumpster locked, to protect civilization against the lethal ravages of day-old bread.

It was out in an industrial park, so the homeless (and carless) couldn't get there. My wife used to stop by regularly, and if there was bread, she'd pull out a dozen loaves, and distribute them to our more needy friends.
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:38 PM
Location: California
29,580 posts, read 31,900,225 times
Reputation: 24725
Many places around here donate their left over food products to various groups. The problem is there is not always a good way to get food from point A where it originated, to point B, where tons of hungry people are before the food goes bad. And some of the food isn't nutritious anyway, like cookies, cakes and pies.

I have a story; I know of one place that had "bread deliveries" (including cookies, pies and cakes) once a week from a grocery store that is part of a large chain. This "food giveaway" caused lot's off problems and drama for the people it was being delivered to, people who were senior citizens but not POOR or STARVING senior citizens. Some people called for and end to it all, others fought tooth and nail AND EACH OTHER to keep getting their "free stuff". Eventually it was discovered that the deliveries should never have been going there in the first place, but to a food bank in a nearby city. Some years earlier the pick up person got lazy and figured it was easier to take it a few blocks away to a senior center than to drive to the food bank... and it went on for years and years. When it finally ended nobody said a word.
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:19 PM
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,364,337 times
Reputation: 8956
It would be great if every city had a food clearing house where the excess food could go and then be distributed, as needed. Waivers could be signed by whomever needs to sign them saying if they get sick, they will not sue . . .
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