Woman Dumpster Dives for All Her Food and Hasn't Been Grocery Shopping for a Year

A woman has revealed that she has not been grocery shopping in more than a year, because she gets all her food from dumpster diving.

The woman describes herself as a "freegan"—defined by the Oxford online dictionary as "a person who rejects consumerism and seeks to help the environment by reducing waste, especially by retrieving and using discarded food and other goods"—and has posted numerous videos about her hauls to TikTok.

In one clip shared to her account Dumpster Diving Freegan, which has been watched more than 1 million times, she claims she has not needed to go grocery shopping in 16 months and calls for a change to America's throwaway culture.

In one of her latest videos, posted on Thursday, she talked viewers through all her meals for the day, captioning the clip: "Before anyone asks, yes all of this was found in America's trash. Yes I did wash everything and check for recalls."

She said in the video, which can be viewed here: "This is what I ate yesterday as someone who dumpster dives for all my groceries.

"Breakfast: hazelnut super coffee with caramel macchiato creamer. The Keurig, Keurig creamer and Keurig cup tower were all found in various store's dumpsters. I paid for the straw and cup a few years ago. Sesame seed bagel with whipped butter. The Black and Decker toaster was found in a residential dumpster."

Although it is not clear which Keurig coffee maker she has, a similar machine on the company's website is on sale for $59.99.

She continued filming throughout the day, saying: "Lunch: organic romaine lettuce and organic spring mix salad. Grocery stores literally throw out perfectly usable food. My cutting board, salad bowl set, and knife were also found in store dumpsters. I added cherry tomatoes, don't they look beautiful? And red onion. I always grab these salad packets from premade salad mixes to use for my own toppings.

"I made a pork roast wrapped in bacon with potatoes and veggies over the weekend, going to heat some up. The crock pot was free from my brother's roommate.

"Snacks: a vitamin C shot, because health? Five small tangerines. Some Dove dark chocolate and a Kind bar as a snack."

Over footage of frozen blueberries, strawberries and coconut water, she said: "Dinner: more salad and a smoothie with vanilla protein powder. Again, all my food came from America's waste. Lastly I made banana bread and had a big slice."

This clip has amassed close to 130,000 views since Wednesday.

In her most popular video—the "16 months" clip posted in mid-July—she outlined what she had picked up from a single haul.

"Here's a secret. I haven't bought groceries in 16 months. And it's all because of dumpster diving. I went grocery shopping tonight and here's what I found," she said.

She films a table piled with food, from fresh fruit to health supplements, including some groceries that are still frozen.

The best item was a 2-pound family-size pack of shrimp, which would have cost $14.49, she said. In total she claimed she had picked up food worth $126.07, before tax.

Other items in the haul included parmesan cheese, cranberry juice, a sourdough loaf and tomatoes.

Over the past few months she has saved a tidy sum, she said. "I've literally saved enough money to put 20 per cent down on a home, I've never gotten sick, and I've eaten more organic food since doing this."

She later responded to negative remarks left in the TikTok comments—without revealing which state she dives in.

She said: "I have never gotten sick from doing this. I do not grab warm or opened items. I always check for recalls. Stores often throw out cases of food simply because they do not have space to store it. Most items I find are in boxes and are relatively clean, I do not take dirty things.


I haven’t bought groceries in over 16 months thanks to dumpster diving ♻️ #dumpsterdiving #dumpsterdiver #zerowaste #donatedontdump #free #fypシ

♬ original sound - Dumpster Diving Freegan

"I have done this for over 16 months and know how to determine if items are usable or not. I do not need money, I am not broke at all. I choose to do this because it works for me. No one is forcing you to dive or even consider it, this is an interesting look into the life of a Freegan. Food is good for weeks, if not months after its best-by date. The exception to this is infant formula.

"I do not feed children any dumpster diver food. I will only feed people who know where it comes from. There are many people who do this to survive and I do not want them shamed in this comment section. Dumpster diving is legal. Unless there is a 'no trespassing sign,' or your city has specifically outlaws it, you can dive in the U.S.

"I donate more to my local food bank than I keep, however I only donated packaged items as they are the safest. I do not donate produce or [meat] / [dairy]."

In another clip, she said: "I hope this is a good way to educate on the amount of food waste in America."

Some TikTokers praised her for shining a light on the practices of retailers.

Lo said: "I used to work at Target and we would throw pounds and pounds of food away every single day. It was often in date and totally safe."

Greta lamented: "It's crazy how much perfectly good food gets thrown out while some people can't even afford to eat."

Shar wrote: "It's incredible the amount of waste retailers throw out when there are people living on the streets. I wish we could do this in Australia good on you."

Other commenters were concerned. Alex said: "I could never personally do this with frozen meat / fruit, I'd be way too scared to get sick."

Charlieburt07 asked: "Why do you think this stuff was in the garbage."

Christina warned: "Be careful with produce! We only tossed produce at my store that had been dumped on the floor / all over the cashier belt."

Newsweek has reached out to Dumpster Diving Freegan for comment.

File photo of a grocery basket.
File photo of a grocery basket. A woman has revealed how she lives as a "freegan," dumpster diving for food and kitchen equipment. Nodar Chernishev/Getty Images