Dumpster Update: 2/15/2019

Hey there!

Happy Valentine's Day! Woo-hoo, discount candy coming soon! Zoe and I want to make it out to a local CVS or Safeway to dig for all those bargain candies in the dumpster after they've been cleared from clearance.

It’s been a while— you can blame that on the onslaught off midterms, PSets, sickness, and rain that hit us these past couple weeks. Even though it’s been hard to document our dumpster dives, they certainly still happen. Don’t worry, we have our priorities straight.

The quality in this post’s pictures is noticeably better thanks to a friend with great photography skills and a good camera! Kelly is writing a paper on freeganism and wanted to see a dumpster dive first hand. (She had a wonderful experience, and so could YOU! Shameless plug: email edithpan@stanford.edu to join us on a dumpster dive!) She also informed me that Professor Richard Nevle, director of Stanford’s Earth Systems Department, has heard of stanforddumpsters.com’s operations!!! Could this potentially be our first celebrity reader?!?!

1.A bag full of dining hall plates, some of them with full, uneaten meals still plated on top.

Yes, sadly this sort of laziness and disregard exists even within the student body of one of the “world’s finest institutions”— which honestly makes me doubt our status. It isn’t even an uncommon problem. With every dumpster dive, we find at least half a dozen dining hall wares. The aggregate effect of this laziness is an annual $100,000 cost to the dining hall to replace the amount of ware that is thrown away every year, the waste of perfectly usable consumer goods (and their subsequent addition to our landfills), and all the resources put into $100,000 worth of new dining ware.

The dining hall is, literally, less than 100 steps from our dorm. This specific dumpster was, LITERALLY, less than 20 steps from the dining hall. Also, the person had rotting, days (weeks? month?) old food left over on some of the plates in the stack. I’m comfortable breathing dumpster air, and the contents of this bag grossed me out. Really, though, the most disgusting thing about this find is the arrogance, laziness, and disrespect of this person to nonchalantly through away things that were never theirs to begin with.

This stack of plates goes 8 deep. Look at that nearly untouched meal!!! Sigh.
This stack of plates goes 8 deep. Look at that nearly untouched meal!!! Sigh.

2. A fully functional hand vacuum.

The owner took the time to nicely coil its charger before throwing it away. This situation makes me chuckle (and then cry for the future of our planet in the face of voracious consumerism) because had the previous owner of this hand vacuum put in the very minimal effort of asking if any of his hall mates wanted a free hand vacuum, the answer would have undoubtedly been a resounding yes. In fact, everyone who lives in Roble Hall has access to a dorm-wide email listserv. How long does it take to type “Does anyone want a free vacuum?” or “DAWA vacuum.” Probably less time than it takes to walk down to the dumpster with your hand vacuum, meticulously wind the charger cable, and toss it in.

3. Snacks


Many of our hall mates had concerns about hygiene and expiration we first brought snacks back into the dorm. However, seeing the delectables we bring back week after week has slowly eroded their resolve. Most of the food we bring back is clean, a long while from going bad, and often still sealed. Humans don’t need automated processing, sterile packaging, and expiration dates to tell them whether something was safe to eat or not. We have sight, touch, smell, and — if all sensory tests have found the food satisfactory— taste. Do you really want to live in a world where you only feel comfortable eating food that has been stamped with some arbitrary date by some gargantuan food processing company? Or do you want to pinch, sniff, and lick with liberty?!

Lots of love,


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