|photo by Lawrence Smith/FairfaxNZ|
0ne man's Waste is another’s dinner, and it’s not just about dumpster diving, writes Shabnam Dastgheib.
AFTER SEVEN years of not paying for food, tools or art supplies, 63-year-old Martin Adlington has freeganism down to a fine art.
He finds wine, biscuits, eggs, cheese, and bread and dips in a typical haul from a typical dive in a typical supermarket dumpster. He goes only when he feels like it and often finds enough to donate to large, hungry families in Auckland.
This month, World Bank senior economist Jose Cuesta targeted retailers and consumers to find a
solution to the world’s staggering food waste. A United Nations- backed campaign Think Eat Save
estimates that in industrialized nations 300 million tonnes of food fit for consumption is wasted by retailers and consumers each year.
Wellington volunteer organisation Kaibosh “rescues” food and redistributes it to charity organisations. General manager Matt Dagger said the organisation took the food only with permission from the retailers and there were strict health procedures in place.In the past 12 months they had rescued 120 tonnes (equal to 342,000 meals) of food. “There's a lot of food that is being wasted while there’s a lot of people who are hungry,” Dagger said.
This is where freegans come in: they use up some of the food which would otherwise be wasted
and they shun the consumerism which they believe has led to poverty and inequality.
There is a lot more to the movement than just dumpster- diving - though it is most commonly associated with digging around in the trash - because most don't do it out of financial necessity.
MARTIN ADLINGTON’S FREE-FOOD DIARY
Martin has spent virtually no money on food, tools or ar supplies for the last seven years. His biggest expenses are insurance, rates and healthcare which come out of his savings from years of self-employment but everything else is almost free.
Breakfast: I make a coffee out of coffee I have found in the trash. Sometimes I find a sealed kilo bag. For breakfast I often eat bacon that I have found and eggs from the skips. They shrink-wrap the eggs in trays of 30 so if one breaks, they throw the rest away and I find those. I eat that with lebanese flatbreads I often find in the skips.
Morning tea: Might be some biscuits if I've been lucky enough to find them.
Lunch: I often find a lot of dips in the skip, pesto and pate. I find cheeses like feta and ricotta. When you see the expiry date, it’s often still in a week's time. It's insanity on an industrial scale. I eat the dips and cheeses with vegetables and bread I have found, or the trimmings of vegetables from grocery stores.
Pre-dinner: I have a beer which I make myself or wine if I find some. Other freegans find juices which are fermentable and make wine from these.
Dinner: tonight snapper and gurnard are on the menu. Last night it was flounder with vegetables. There isn't often fish, but there has been a run of it lately.
The other week I filled my entire freezer with meat - some of it yet to expire in a few day's time.
Sometimes I find and eat roadkill. Pretty much every road trip I find something - turkey or pheasant -it might have only broken its neck: and be very recently dead.
After dinner: I'll go out in the van and go out in the skips. I don't go out every night but feel like it or l’m low on things I will. Sometimes if l find quite a lot of food, I will donate things to big families I know in Auckland. There are kids going hungry so they are happy to get the stuff.