One Man Shows Us How Much We Throw Away, And Works To Turn The Tides On Wasting Food

Categories: Inspiration

Here’s the deal:

If you get arrested or ticketed for dumpster diving for food I promise to pay the ticket(s), get media coverage to the issue, and make sure that you are in safe hands. I will even travel to your town to be there in person if it will add to the positive impact of the event.

IMPORTANT: I am not telling you to get arrested and if you go and do something stupid to intentionally get arrested then don’t count on me for help.  Do not get arrested on purpose!  I’ll take your phone call regardless but won’t fight a case that has obvious intent of arrest.  DO NOT make a mess of the dumpster, break any lock or break into anywhere, or vandalize. DO be courteous and respectful to anyone you may come across and leave the dumpster cleaner than you found it.

Dumpster diving is not illegal in most places but trespassing is. The act of digging through garbage is not illegal anywhere that I know of in the USA but if the dumpster is on private property you may have to trespass to get to it.  You are much more likely to get in trouble for trespassing than dumpster diving. If there is no sign advising against entry and the dumpsters are not locked then I say it’s completely fair game. If the dumpsters are easily accessible and have a sign I still say go for it. But if you have to break into anywhere, hop a fence or a wall then I can’t say that I will surely be able to get on board. Definitely reach out to me though.

Like I said I have been in about 1,000 dumpsters across America and I have never been in trouble. I have been asked to leave by employees a couple dozen times though and it’s as simple as that, leaving upon request.  Most employees that have stumbled upon me in their dumpster don’t mind at all though because they think it’s absurd to toss out perfectly good food. I have had the police come a few times and every time I explained what I was doing and walked away with a new friend.

This was one of my run ins with the police in Iowa.  After letting me keep most of the food both of the cops friended me on facebook and we’ve been in touch on occasion since then.  Their police station even shared my story when I got this photo on the news in Wisconsin:


I have it easier than many though as I am pretty fluent with my knowledge and words and am easy on the eyes. A harsh reality of our society is that if I was all shabby looking or looked dangerous I’d probably have been in trouble by now.

Check out Dumpster Diving and the Law at to get more information about legalities and watch Dumpster Diving Across America to see what I’ve seen across America.  For some of the solutions to food waste and hunger check out The Food Waste Fiasco.  The purpose behind my dumpster diving is to show how much perfectly good food is being wasted and put pressure on grocery stores to donate their excess food rather than dumping it.  Grocery stores are protected from liability by The Good Samaritan Food Act and not a single grocery store has ever been sued after donating food to a non-profit according to this University of Arkansas study.  Use #DonateNotDump to tell grocery stores to donate to food rescue programs and let them know they are safe to do so.

If you are a lawyer and would like to help in the case of someone getting ticketed or arrested please email me at or leave your information in the comment section below.

Get out there and dumpster dive my friends!  Feed yourself for free, feed others for free, save food from the landfills, and rest assured  if you get in trouble that your financial woes are on me!  Stand up for all the hungry people out there and bring attention to food waste!

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