Dumpster Diving

By Eric Roby email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Most of us these days are willing to do what it takes to save a few bucks. But just how far are you willing to go?

There are a growing number of people who are going to what you may consider extremes to not only to get a discount but to get most of their things for free. There is a trade off - a trade off that only you can decide if it's worth it.

Kris Kemp is not homeless. "We're here at a Dumpster at a local produce stand."

He's here to find the best deals around. "If you want to eat for free, this is all you want to do."

Kris is Dumpster diving not out of necessity, but because he wants to. He's part of a growing number of people who go through the trash to save money and to be the ultimate 'recyclers'. "I mean, why buy food when there is so much that is being thrown out?"

The politically correct name is Freegan. You might call them cheapskates, but Kris calls it something else. "I call it the third hand store or meals on wheels."

In the first Dumpster we're off to a good start: a lot of bananas. You might not eat these, but, for Kris, it's a big score. "The way I see it, this is just like shopping. It's got a lid instead of a door. And its totally free; you don't have to stand in line, and you get fruit when it's in it's best state when it's totally ripe."

With people staring in disbelief, Kris pulls out half of a cantaloupe, pineapple tops to plant in his garden. "Whatever I have that is extra, I compost that causes me to have a nice flourishing garden."

With the Dumpster picked clean, Kris loads up his car which only has a drivers seat for extra space. He scored four boxes of bananas and another box of veggies and fruits.

"Every Dumpster is an opportunity. It's just a matter of seizing it," and this next Dumpster is behind a drug store.

Kris strikes garbage gold. "Look, a thing of peanuts, totally good. Ok, it's open. It doesn't matter, totally good almonds here."

Kris is like a kid in a candy store when he finds seven unopened boxes of chocolates. "It's a little warm; it might be melted. Oh, you're being negative. No negativity in the chocolate dumpster ok, Eric."

Kris also finds Pop Tarts, razor blades, a box of tampons, a heating pad, a tape cassette player, skin creme, dental guard, chocolate bars and hair care products. He packs them up, and what he can't use, he will pass out to friends.

But not every Dumpster is good. "You are going to get a little bit dirty."

Kris says he leaves behind anything that doesn't smell good, but he will dig through even maggots to get to good food.

So, has he even gotten sick? "The only time I got sick was when I ate too much chocolate. I found a bunch of chocolate in a certain dumpster. I ate so much chocolate, I started getting headaches which is my own fault, so I over did it."

"Onto the next Dumpster, and it appears Kris has worked up an appetite. He begins eating a banana from our first stop. He checks out a Dumpster behind a bakery. Inside, he finds a loaf of sour dough bread.

This may sound crazy to you; however, for Kris it's a lifestyle. One that even the women he meets need to accept. "It's a nice date. If you want to take your partner on a free date, you just go Dumpster diving."

If you're wondering, yes, Kris is single. But none-the-less passionate about trash. "I think, you just have to change your perception of certain things and eat it and taste it, and you will see it's not garbage."

So, if your not afraid of the stains, the stench or even the stigma, these Dumpsters could contain the best deals around. That is as long as Kris hasn't beaten you to the punch.

Kris is so passionate about Dumpster diving, he has written poetry about it - even a musical. Currently, he's looking for the right people to play the leading roles.

Kris says there is a growing underground community in our area who Dumpster dive. One of his friends, he says, is an engineer who makes six figures, but still Dumpster dives for the thrill of the search.