Brooklyn hipsters have found a new way of filling their bellies that would probably turn your stomach — rummaging for and then feasting on expensive food that grocery chains toss in the trash.
“Doing this saves me hundreds of dollars a month on groceries,” said Dumpster-diving college student Ashley Fields, 23, of Bushwick, who fills her fridge each week with produce, sandwiches, coffee and even sushi that she gathers from the garbage in Manhattan.
The food they find — including prepared sushi, prepared salads and fresh bread — isn’t thrown out because it’s gone bad but because stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods simply can’t sell it if it’s still left on the shelf at the end of the day, say Fields and her trash-chowing pals.
So while the average New Yorker might shell out $7 for a large salad at Starbucks during the day, just hours later, Fields and a growing population of educated and working hipsters are getting the same, although leftover, salads for free.
Fields, a theater major originally from St. Louis, Mo., didn’t even get her hands dirty when she took a Post reporter on a tour-de-Dumpster of four produce chains down Third Avenue last week.
Most of the fresh, still-packaged goods were separated from other, less appetizing garbage into their own trash bags, as if Mom herself had readied a personal care package for them.
“You never know what’s going to be in these bags on any given night,” said Fields, who makes $500 to $600 a week at a theater job while going to school and has been scrounging for food since the beginning of summer.
“Like tonight, I found a bunch of great, healthy breakfast sandwiches. They’re totally fine”
Upper West Side Trader Joe’s manager Mason Bly said a lot of his store’s leftover food is donated to charities such as City Harvest, which collects unused goodies from businesses.
But for items not meeting City Harvest’s standards, the grub ends up with people like Fields.
“They dig through everything,” Bly told The Post of the Dumpster divers. “They know what they’re doing. We’ve had to change our trash-disposal policies to prevent them from doing it, but they still manage to get into everything.”
And he means everything. On Wednesday, Fields single-handedly scrounged more than $160 worth of fresh groceries from stores such as Starbucks, Gristedes and D’Agostino. Her 42-item haul included plastic-wrapped sandwiches worth $10 a pop, cookies, fruit bowls, expensive salads and even a five-pack of Izze sparkling sodas, which sell for $3.50 a bottle.
Dumpster-diving is getting popular. Thousands of New Yorkers have formed trashy groups through social Web sites such as Meetup and regularly pounce on grocers’ refuse.
Fields and her pals aren’t part of the “freegan” movement, in which environmentalists live off throwaway food as a political statement against corporate waste and big agri-business.
These Dumpster divers are just in it for cheap food.
“I’m not a freegan. It’s just a really easy way to save money on groceries,” Fields said.
“All that money is going into my pocket, and I’m actually eating pretty well.
“This generation isn’t homeless, filthy or even impoverished — just thrifty with an iron stomach,” Fields said.
Read more: http://trade.cc/afjIf you enjoy the content at iBankCoin, please follow us on Twitter