I get many positive responses from people about my posts on dumpster diving and many people have reported that they have begun diving themselves. I feel GREAT about this. Not only does dumpster diving make eating raw fruits and veggies affordable for my family and others, it also prevents these items from ending up in a landfill, where they will take a loooong time to decompose.
However, it must be said that dumpster diving has a seemy dark underbelly besides the obvious social stigma of "digging in the trash."
First of all, all of my dumpster diving takes place at a location where there is NO organic produce available. If you can dumpster dive for organics, terrific! But I would venture to guess that most dumpster finds are conventional produce. Conventional produce is laden with pesticides, and has a lower vitamin and mineral content than organic produce because of the growing practices used. At least, i can feel happy that I did not use my dollars to "vote" for these products by purchasing them.
Furthermore, the nutritional quality of the produce which has endured shipping and sitting on the shelf for some time, has declined.
Digging in the dumpster can range from easy clean pickin's to down and dirty diving. Sometimes I have to climb in and get my shoes gooshy. Sometimes they throw plants in potting soil in the dumpster and everything is covered with dirt. Sometimes it rains and everything is soaking wet. There is always a stinky chemical smell, that I hope is the scented trash bags they use to bag up all of the bathroom and office waste. I have never seen any rats or cockroaches. Does this mean they are spraying for them? If so, I hope they are doing it outside the dumpster. Since all of the produce is usually encased in packaging, I feel somewhat safe, but...
Then, of course, there is the obvious time and energy drain of picking through 84 quarts of moldy blueberries just to come up with 25 or so quarts of so-so blueberries.
And then there is the increase in garbage. I am able to compost a large amount of organic waste and recycle plastic containers. If you are not able to compost, expect a significant increase in your trash. As it is, I must throw away all of the styrofoam trays that much of Aldi's produce is packaged in.
However, I do hope that you keep diving, especially if you, like me, cannot otherwise afford to eat a huge quantity of fruit and veggies otherwise.