Second post in two days, I must be on a roll! Now that I’ve grabbed your attention with the title of this post, I’d like to be a bit self-indulgent and talk about my afternoon (I promise that it will be relevant to waste reduction!)
I thought a leisurely bicycle ride would be a nice way to get active out in some balmy high 70 degree (F) weather today down in south Florida.
So there I am, riding my bicycle down the Cypress Creek Greenway in Coral Springs, and I casually pass what appears to be a plastic bag on the grass next to the path that I’m riding on. Deciding whether I wanted to turn around and throw it out or not, I ended up doing what I thought was right and going back to retrieve the bag. As it turned out, the contents were not trash but actually an unopened juice box and some sealed plastic-ware.
Amazing that what I had thought would be a selfless good deed ended up benefiting me after all. That’s not all, though. As I ventured further (off of the path at this point), I came across the Chabad Jewish Center of Coral Springs. I attend morning Minyan there during the weeks that I’m here, so I am familiar with the organization. As I made another stop to pick up a plastic food container, I was apparently meant to find more than just that.
A happy day for an opportunist like me! This single dollar is no big deal, but it amazes me that someone carelessly lost it. That being said, I have no plans to hang on to it. I will give the dollar to the Chabad donation box. I’m not a believer in fate or divine intervention, but why not? I found it outside of the complex, so it makes sense to me to donate found money to an organization that I support.
My third and final find of the day was found on my way back home. As I was riding along the Greenway again, I found a small highlighter pen that someone attempted to throw in the trash but missed. Good thing I was out riding today! I also felt inspired to do a little bit of cleanup on my ride, finding some recyclables and helping to make the area a little bit nicer on the eyes (and the planet!)
What can one make of all this? I didn’t find anything extraordinary: a juice box, $1, and a highlighter. You could probably spend that dollar and get a juice box and highlighter at your local CVS, no big deal. What is a bigger deal (to me anyway) is that in making an effort to clean up the environment, I was fortunate enough to find those few items. Not because I wanted them necessarily, but I could fulfill a desire to do good in the world.
The richness in the title of this post that I am referring to is a fulfillment in doing good deeds. As the late Arthur Miller said, “Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make profit is without value.” If we give a little bit of ourselves to the world and to each other, there can be a lot of value gained in our efforts. We might even make ourselves happier!
I gained a valuable lesson in my bike ride today, and hope to continue learning new things every day.
This is a growing list of places that individuals can donate their excess or unwanted food to. If your region is not on here and you wish to find out where you can donate your food to, feel free to send a message and I’ll do my best to figure out how to help you help others. After all, why waste?
Here is the information that I would find helpful to know when searching for places to donate to:
- Location where services are needed:
- Type of foods (prepackaged, frozen, non-perishable, canned goods, etc.):
- Total quantity of items:
- Have items reached or surpassed best by/expiration dates:
Additionally, if you know of any places that actively take donations, please reach out to me and I’ll add it to the list!
All Items Except Expired Goods:
Jonestown Outreach Pantry (JOY)
48 W Market St
Jonestown, PA 17038
All food donations, personal care and cleaning products can be taken to the pantry on Mondays and Tuesdays according to the schedule which appears on the JOY Schedule.
The Caring Cupboard
131 N Railroad St
Palmyra, PA 17078
Monday: 8:00 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. NEW HOURS BEGINNING 4/2: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. NEW HOURS BEGINNING 4/2: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Evening hours remain 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00-2 p.m. NEW HOURS BEGINNING 4/2: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Youth Emergency Service
1526 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Any Food Items:
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission
302 N 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Welcome back to an update! Look forward to seeing more in the future!
My 30 day challenge ended over a month ago. I have bought food and products from stores, but not in excess. The freegan challenge posed an interesting struggle (if you could call it that) that required me to utilize the resources that I had acquired through alternate means (mainly dumpster diving) and not spending money on food that I didn’t need to buy. I’ve seen it in others and myself, that we not only buy groceries in excess, but there is a lot of eating out in general.
At times, I am sure that what I was doing seemed like a sort of crazy experiment and a bit off-beat to other people. It wouldn’t be wrong to think that, after all. Who in their right mind, when being financially comfortable spending money on groceries and sustenance, would go a month depriving themselves of what ever food they wanted to buy? What choice does one have when they are only allowing themselves to sustain off of an objectively unreliable source of food (i.e. dumpsters, waste bins, etc)?
If you happen to read Hebrew (or trust Google Translate), you can read the following article about my freegan month challenge: https://www.colbonews.co.il/?p=23153
What is interesting and crazy in its own right is that we allow ourselves to be okay with carelessly tossing out leftovers or not saving what could amount to a whole plate of food for a later meal. Often, we could not be bothered to consider saving and reusing those items. We find that not only with the food that we throw out, but the packaging as well. I absolutely abhor seeing prepackaged goods being thrown out. The amount of fossil fuels that were used to create the packaging and to turn the ingredients into a concise measurement means there is even more to waste in the end.
In the end, even though I felt comfortable and well sustained throughout my challenge, I only feel that it was possible to accomplish the challenge through the negligence and carelessness of the stores that wasted all of the food I could find. What really needs to happen is that these markets, shuks, and grocery stores would all have a means of passing off their excess to other purveyors of this food. Could the excess not be sold off to a third-party store to make a fraction of the cost off of each item? There are a small chain of discount grocery stores in south central Pennsylvania called BB’s Grocery Outlet where this model exists and surplus and salvaged goods are given a second chance for way below the standard price expected.
Another idea is to donate the food and products to food banks, shelters, soup kitchens, etc. Organizations can step in to facilitate this process, very much in the way that places like Urban Gleaners reclaims waste-bound food. In the end, we are really just trying to prevent what you see below from happening.
As usual with previous updates, I will of course grace you with more images of food finds. Just because my challenge ended, don’t expect that to let up. After all, you must be incredibly interested in what gets plucked from the trash. I know I sure am!
Until next time, folks!
Just when I thought my updates couldn’t get more sporadic, I am now having to account for FIVE days of my challenge! It has been almost a week, and a small final stretch to get to this point. My one month challenge is coming to an end, and I will have a lot to state about the challenge in my Live wrap-up video.
That’s right. I am going to put out a live video where people can ask questions and I can provide commentary about my challenge throughout the month. I’ll provide more details on that in another post, but it will definitely be broadcast tomorrow at 4:00PM (EST).
During my last several days, I managed to accrue a healthy amount of sustenance.
Not just food, but I’ve also managed to salvage more items from being discarded. Very practical items that could have a whole second life!
I look forward to continuing dumpster diving and living minimally throughout the next few months in Haifa, even if now I will allow myself to buy things. I almost feel that out of habit now, I will just rather go without and find a no-cost solution. That has definitely evolved as a mindset for me lately!
To end this post, here’s a salad that I made out of found food. On the left is a good utilization of food waste, and on the right is just a shameful display of over-production.
There will be an update with an updated analysis of my challenge in further detail. Look for it!
Wow, it’s hard to believe that I’ve already reached 5/6 of the challenge already! So far it’s been a pretty great experience, relying almost entirely on reclaimed food that would have otherwise been wasted.
If there’s anything that I’ve taken away from this challenge, it’s the knowledge that there is far too much waste in our world, and it has gotten to the point that we make enough food waste that could otherwise feed hungry people. Not that I didn’t realize that already, but judging from the fact that I can go for a month just by eating wasted food means a lot. It just further propels the fact that all of the food we waste in the world could potentially feed several thousands of millions of people.
On Monday, 6 November (Day 23), I had the opportunity to meet with one of the directors of Robin Food, an organization based in Haifa that is growing towards opening a “pay-as-you-feel” cafe in the city. The cafe is expected to be opening up in January and I hope to be able to help and support them in any way that I can leading up to that time.
There are several places like this in the UK that have shown that this model can work, and several other areas in the world have emulated this model. It’s called The Real Junk Food Project and it’s been an ongoing and growing model for fighting food waste for a few years now.
Check out this Ted Talk with Adam Smith, the brains and culinary expert behind the Real Junk Food Project.
On Day 24, I was able to take a day trip along the Carmel Coast here in Israel, particularly near Caesarea and the ancient city itself. A nice day for a travel and I even managed to go without cost (since the trip was covered by my program).
Day 25 was just a regular work day, and has gotten me past the 5/6 point in my challenge. I will always try to continue finding new ways to show how we can better utilize our waste even when it seems we live in a world of it.
Here is some good reclamation over the past several days. Sometimes you even find free literature!
Of course, here’s also a shot of some of the good food that is being thrown away at the supermarkets constantly. Such good bread, such wasted potential!
To cap off, here are some reclaimed foods that I ate over the past several days. When you have hummus, squash, potatoes, bananas, granola, pita bread, yogurt, and pomegranate, there are always a multitude of nutrients you can gain. Tasty things, too!
Eat well and responsibly! Until next post, friends!
The third week is completed with Day 21. I have only one full week left of the challenge. It’s probably a good thing that it will be coming to a close soon. Living a freegan lifestyle doesn’t necessarily afford the body all of the nutrients that it needs to function. Protein sources are difficult to salvage for due to many of those food types suffering from expiration. There could be other ways that I just have not figured out yet. Every now and then I will find a decent haul of nuts, legumes, and/or dairy protein.
Also beans work for protein. Speaking of beans…
I ended up getting plenty of eggplant and bananas for the weekend right before Shabbat started. Also, cakes, beans, and single serving chocolate pieces. Overall, the dollar amount that I saved from the landfill (just prepackaged foods) was 84 shekels ($24 USD). Honestly a decent and well-varied haul. One of my favorite meals that I get from gleaning the urban depositories is baked vegetables, especially eggplant.
Today on Day 22 (5 Nov 2017), I managed to glean a few treats, including some decent hummus, two containers of organic rice milk, and a nice medley of fruits and vegetables. All packaged goods came in at 163 shekels ($46.57 USD).
I can’t complain about this acquisition. It’s sort of a calling to my previous statement about getting the right nutrients. Hummus (chickpeas, really) has differing, valuable nutrients from many of the other foods that I find, as well as rice milk drink.
Remember the table cloth that I found? Well, this is how nice it actually looks on a real table.
Good uses for trash, it turns out!
Welcome back! It seems that making a post for every single day has proven more difficult than I realized. I would like to ensure at the very least I’m only ever missing 3-4 days in a row. I won’t ever skip a day in the chronology, but sometimes one of the days can be so uneventful that it wouldn’t make the most sense to post just for that day alone.
As I post this, today is currently Day 20 (Fri, 3.11.17), so I’m basically two-thirds of the way through my challenge.
Day 17 was a non-work day, which means that my peers and I did something related to our MASA program. This particular Tuesday was a volunteer experience, so we went to Ein Hayam Community Garden, a non-profit community garden in Haifa that is made possible by the help of community volunteers. Experiencing places like this that serve to heighten the sense of self-sustaining methods and community bonding are really a treasure in our world.
They were surely very grateful for us arriving and doing as much as we did, even with the sun setting very early. The owners of the garden provided some bounty for our labor, which was more than I had expected. They also kindly let us take what ever we wanted, so there were some delightful treats to indulge in for awhile.
Day 18 was a rather productive work day of shooting and editing product reviews at the studio. It also became a productive night, as I found a medley of great produce for the next several days.
Not a bad looking haul, but let’s look a little closer at some of the irregular produce we that we find.
The potato on the left is a very oddly shaped specimen, and possibly led to it being thrown out. Also, it seems that commonly-fused produce like these bananas and carrot get thrown out. Supermarkets generally practice throwing away produce that is unattractive, yet it does not speak for how the foods actually taste. It’s always worth asking your local stores and markets not to throw away good food just because it’s ugly!
Also, if reading that doesn’t get you irked, take a look at how many cucumbers got thrown out two days ago!
Here’s just a general glimpse at the freegan foods that I had over the past few days. The pickled items on the top right were gifted freely from my friend’s shawarma, but otherwise all else came from dumpster-reclaimed foods.
I’ll keep you further updated on the last third of my challenge left. Until then, lehitraot!
Shabbat Shalom everyone!
Disclaimer: I really meant to post on Saturday (Day 13), but various Shabbat-like activities got in the way as well as casual coming and going of company. So another multi-day post ensues!
This past weekend marks two weeks into my freegan challenge. That’s basically half way, so I find that it would be apropos to touch base on my feelings about the challenge as of now. If you don’t care to bother with it, you can feel free to skip to the latter part of the post.
I can safely say that so far, I’m satisfied with what I have gained from doing this (aside from wasted food, of course). As far as physical acquisitions go, I have accumulated large amounts of food, ranging from produce, yogurt, eggs, crackers, candy, granola bars, and various other goodies. Non-food assets have included furniture pieces, clothing, tapestries, and so much more. So it is definitely possible to enjoy saving money on a freegan lifestyle.
The challenge really is when I’m out in the commercial world faced with the thought of buying a falafel from a local stand, or possibly wanting to buy some fresh, specific groceries at a supermarket. However, I feel that I usually find enough variation at some point to keep the challenge interesting. It’s certainly not an ideal way to live, but it’s definitely possible in an urban area and a part of town where there are a sprawling amount of shuks and supermarkets.
Day 13 was not much of a day for hauling groceries tossed away with reckless abandon. It was Friday night, and that night we hosted Shabbat dinner. So that was possible for me to contribute a salad of mixed greens, vegetables and dressing (all found from the trash), along with stuffed peppers using lentils*, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and squash. The lentils were bought long before I started the challenge, and I’ve exhausted my supply until my challenge ends.
Day 14 was a bit of a slow-paced, relaxing day. For the weekend we hosted a friend at my apartment, so we enjoyed the leisurely Shabbat day by playing Dungeons and Dragons (kindly mastered by my roommate Bryan) and eating food from the day before (not to mention candy and snacks from the Day 12 haul).
Day 15 was the official half-way point of my challenge. The usual foods I had eaten throughout the day were mashed bananas in the morning, various fruits and vegetables throughout the afternoon (mixed with beet paste and shakshuka that I still have at work), and roasted vegetables in the evening. It was a decent day mainly consisting of shooting videos for product reviews at the studio I’m working at right now.
The haul for the day was considerably small, but not without merit. Plenty of potatoes and other good fruits and vegetables made up the spoils.
Also, I will show off what kinds of things float at the top of dumpsters. Bread, fruits and vegetables tossed away with reckless abandon. When you thought it couldn’t be worse, there’s carelessly tossed aside food that would be better donated before hitting the trash.
Day 16 (Monday, 30 Oct) was another slough at work. I had my own foods prepared and snacks at work (and munched on a few vegetables from my co-worker’s tray where he got shawarma), and left fairly early. I had mostly roasted vegetables and fruits throughout the day for consumption.
The dive for the day was a considerably varied plunder, edging out to about 209 shekels (about $60 USD). Nothing to balk at, considering that they threw out eggs, rice cakes, lotions, spices, snacks, and a nice table cloth that I may end up using!
Happy living! If you have excess, share it with others. Don’t let it go bad and throw it out!
I’m sticking to my claim of posting daily again during my challenge!
Today was a relatively low-key day, again working from home and keeping to minimalism. That being said, I decided that after my challenge ends in mid-November, I will be going on a few days’ trip to Cyprus for very little expense. I will continue an extension of my challenge there, keeping to a minimalist lifestyle.
Here are a few things that I found prior nights that I seem to have found uses for. Remember the plastic shelf? Makes a perfect shoe rack. Also, a tapestry for my bedroom and a fitted sheet for a bed. I obviously washed the last two items.
Some things that I ate today, as per usual.
Also, there must have been some very discounted candy, because chocolate was aplenty at one store. Over 20 bars worth, it seems. Plenty of bananas, peppers, salads, and nourishing chocolate. Not counting unpacked produce, the findings come out to about 425 shekels, which is about $120 USD. So little value placed in mass production causes such waste. We must utilize everything we are given, even if the fruit or vegetables in our stores are misshapen or ugly.
Friday, the 13th day, will be difficult due to the lack of findings on Shabbat, but I believe I have enough to manage. It will be interesting to cook something from my findings for everyone, as that is what is expected from me anyway.
If I don’t update on Friday due to the holiday, expect a Saturday update. That will be my mid-way post through my challenge. Keep fighting waste!