14.05.2018 12:34


Food from the trash? Why not

Autor: Alice Šplíchalová | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

For many people it is something unacceptable, for some vegans and vegetarians it is a common way of providing food. That is dumpster diving.

 

Dumpster diving is not for everybody. (Credit: Lewis Family Farm)

I’m standing in Lužánky, the air is already cold, the darkness is starting to fall and I’m looking impatiently for a tiny girl with maroon brown hair. Distinguishing mark? Black clothing accompanied by a pair of bright pink sneakers. I turn when somebody knocks on my shoulder. It is her, Monika. A girl who has been eating food from bins for three years now. But she is not homeless, she only does dumpster diving.

Monika studies tourism at a college. “Thanks to my roommates I found about dumpster diving. All of them were vegans. One evening, when we had a picnic in the park, we talked about cooking. That is when I first heard about dumpster diving,” Monika says as we are heading toward her “favourite” trash can. As we approach it, enthusiasm begins to appear in Monika’s eyes and a typical trash smells in the air. We stop at the sight of the bins, Monika is pulling out a hand sewn bag from a backpack and pulls tobacco, papers and filters out of it. “I always light a cigarette before each trip. At least I have time to see the terrain,” she explains when she notices my confused expression.

She throws away cigarette, pulling her black cap deep into her face, and she blinks at me. It is time. We quietly crawl to the dustbin. Monika opens the first one and swiftly jumps in. Luckily, she doesn’t want me to join her. After half a minute of silent rushing, a hand with a beautiful orange pops up from the bin. We have the first catch! With a huge smile, she gives it to me and rolls back into the bin. My joy is spoiled only by the terrible smell of rubbish. After about ten minutes, Monika climbs out of the bin and closes it. “There is nothing else in this one. Will we try the other or are you too afraid?” she asks.

We almost have both backpacks full when people’s voices start to sound nearby. I am starting to panic. Monika, an experienced searcher, grabs me by the shoulders and suggests that I should go into the dustbin behind her. Voices of strangers are drawing near. There is nothing else but hiding in garbage. We are silent, we almost do not breathe. But when I look around and see used diapers, spoiled food and remnants of someone's dinner, I want to scream. The smell is disgusting. It’s like a nightmare for a person who loves cleaning. But what else I can do if I don’t want to get caught?

Dumpster diving is the acquisition of food from containers at supermarkets. However, the laws in the Czech Republic say that the owner of the waste is his producer until the garbage collection. In this case, the producer is a supermarket. That's why we had to hide, dumpster diving is illegal in our country because you are committing theft. In this case, you may receive a warning or a fine.

After a moment, Monika peeks out of the dustbin. No one anywhere. She is the first to jump out of the bin and still looks around. The air is clean. But when I try to imitate Monika’s graceful jump from the dustbin, my leg hooks into one of the sacks and I, with a loud bang, flip the dustbin. Garbage is everywhere. Monika laughs like a fool and helps me get up. We take our catches and disappear into the night.

We are stopping at her home, opening bags and looking at what we found. “That’s not bad. We have some fruits and vegetables here. But beware, even one capital catch. The bag of rice!” says Monika and evaluates our “purchase”. Remembering my faux pas, she is still laughing loudly. “I have to tell you that I was not the same bumpkin when I was with the girls for the first time. Actually, this has never happened to me. And I must had run from the guard and an angry dog,” recalls Monika, lighting up her celebrating cigarette and relaxing in a chair with a satisfied expression.

 

Klíčová slova: dumpster diving, food, trash

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