WORD UP | trash food

Do you remember the times when food was free and checking your bank account didn't give you a panic attack? Well, I do.

No, I am not talking about a dream or some strange self-governing utopian community. I am talking about the times me and my flatmates were dumpster diving. This dirty love affair (pun intended) started on one cold November night with a pack of carrots, potatoes and avocados. The real dumpster feasts started a few months later though. When we all moved to our new flat, we also set up a lovely routine - going to the Netto supermarket together. Only that is was at night; and the main reason was to dive into two containers and dig out the stuff that was supposed to end up rotting somewhere on a huge junkyard.

And man, did we have a lot of cool stuff. Apart from the fruit and veggies that were usually even fresher than the ones sold at Tesco's in the Czech Rep, we also got the following: Fresh pastry. Oats. Frozen pizzas, ice cream, vegetable mixes. Insane amount of fresh tulips and orchids (which are still alive till now). Washing liquids. A velvet jumpsuit. Wasabi peanuts. Chocolate cookies. Cinnamon rolls. Candles and flower pots. Calvin Klein socks. Milk, regular and from soy, yogurts, cheese. Hams and frozen meat. (of course I didn't eat that) All from that from quite a small supermarket, each and every night.

Until one night my flatmates came back from their dumpster shift (yes, we did have shifts) and brought the horrid news - THEY LOCKED IT. And our source of free food was gone. We still occasionally stopped by in a local bakery but it wasn't the same anymore. Paying for food again felt (and still does) awful.

But it's not only about saving money. It's mostly about the ecology part - it was really heartbreaking to see how much they would throw away each day and knowing that the stuff kept under the lock would just deteriorate there and end up polluting the nature was the worst. All the adventure ended on 16th May and life just goes on.

While some might find this trash-involving fun disgusting, I am not ashamed of doing so. Yes, there were multiple times I touched something extremely unpleasant. Yes, it is illegal in some countries. There were times we met the supermarket workers and it was very awkward. But we also got a lot of great stuff for free, stuff we'd never be able to afford in Denmark. We had fresh flowers almost every week and made our flat look really nice. And we weren't the only ones, it was actually quite a trendy thing to do in our semester; and I've been participating in many afterparty dumpster diving quests.

So, now to the main point of the article. If you live in a country where such food hunting is completely legal, go out after the closing time and check out your nearest supermarket or bakery. You might find some cool stuff waiting for you there. And you'll help out with keeping the planet nicer, yay!

And as you can see from all the pics, all the dirty job sure is worth it, don't you think?


  1. when I was about to move to Glasgow my plan was to live from DD..but I didn't started yet cuz I have no 'dumpster buddy'..I should really start though, and I am much more motivated to do it after this article + after feeling miserable everytime I pay so much for very small amount of food..

    1. be careful though - i think it's illegal in the UK : /

  2. It's so true though! I did that sometimes on my first year of studies in Denmark, when I was constantly broke and unemployed. I had a couple of Lithuanian buddies, who used to do it and would brag about their late-night finds next day in class and seeing the huge amounts of tropical fruits at their place, well... I never imagined myself doing something like that, but oh man, I've been digging through trash also and I've gotten pretty cool stuff. Not to mention - it was actually fun! But to be honest, after living a while in Shanghai, China (food is actually expensive and I don't mean the fast food, I'm taking about healthy natural foods) and spending the summer at home in Estonia, I've been pleasantly surprised, that the food compared to these two countries is actually cheaper in Denmark. And the quality is wayyy better. Not to mention the special offers they have for things like 2 weeks before expiration (in Estonia it's usually few days over the expiration date, when you get like 20% off the initial price :D )


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