What are the basic rules a Kiwi dumpster diver should adhere to?
Think of your peers. If you trash the dumpster site, the shop will likely make it harder for everyone. The same goes for getting caught-if you are seen, the shop is more likely to tighten up because it is after all ‘illegal’ and they do have some liability.
Find out when the shop closes, and then leave around two hours for the night manager to finish up and leave.
If you do get caught, be polite and apologise. Often they will just tell you to leave nicely.
The freezer is your friend! Throw almost everything straight in the freezer and slowly work through it all.
If you have too much, share the love, I have been known to leave bags of ciabatta buns on the free table at uni because our freezer was so full it wouldn’t shut.
What happens if you arrive and there’s already someone going through your ‘spot’?
Join in…the more, the merrier. It is often a situation of ‘when it rains, it pours’, so often all of you will get nothing, or you will both have too much to carry. As with kiwi surf breaks, climbing cliffs and swimming holes, some respect should be paid to the locals but most local divers will be happy to share their winnings.
Any tips on what to avoid collecting?
Salmon and cream cheese filo pastries… I’ve thrown up at the gym after knocking back two of those (albeit) delicious bad boys. Also, cooked chickens. Often, they are still warm and are super tempting but don’t give in to their seduction. It will only hurt in the long run.
Generally we stick to things that have their own sealed packaging, because then you can be sure that no cross contamination has occurred.
What’s been your best find when out dumpster diving?
On our best night we scored: ten kilo of free range bacon, two trays of eggs, six bags of bagels, and a couple packs of mixed muffins!
Do you think supermarkets in New Zealand should follow France’s lead and donate their excess food to charity?
Heck yes! Sure, we are hungry students, but there are people who need this food a whole lot more than we do, and it makes me truly sad when we see how much is getting thrown out. Yet kids are still going to school hungry all over the country!