Today it’s a young white guy, who gives me about thirty Lara bars. We introduce ourselves, but don’t shake hands – laughing that we have vegetable scraps on them – and share the loot. A little impractical, but I have to take the baby’s breath shoved in the trash. As I discover later on, the Valentine’s shipment must have arrived today, as everywhere was throwing bags of roses, daisies, and baby’s breath in the trash.
I checked three organic grocers tonight and one chain grocery store. I found more bread that I could carry, at least twenty loaves of french bread, tons of yogurt I didn’t want, honeydew melons, enough cookies to feed a Kindergarten class for a month, ditto on the granola bars, many many organic salad dressings, packages upon packages of rice noodles, instant soup bowls, dried cashews, crackers, cereal, granola, salsa, salad, a wide variety of produce, and much, much more.
Even with all of that, it’s a bit disheartening to realize that the trash that’s available to be picked through is probably only about a tenth to a quarter of what’s actually thrown away.
Figuring that more dumpster divers mean less profits, many stores make a point of destroying everything before they chuck it. Entire bags of empty milk and rice milk containers, sushi that’s all been mashed together, flowers that have been cut up, and packages of crackers and cereal that have been sliced open. It’s hard not to be upset when you see the knife slit up the side of what you thought was one hundred pristine packages of wheat thins.
The last stop tonight had the most stuff. An employee couldn’t be bothered to slice open every individual almond cookie or granola bar package, and there was more than I could carry. I looked at my backpack on the sidewalk, already full. I had brought with me two plastic bags for overflow, thinking I could carry them on my handlebars. I shoved in as many granola bars as I could, but then I had to make some choices. Do I really need two tubs of peach salsa? Do I really need buns and bread? Do I really need daises and baby breath?
After two incidents of bags breaking in the middle of the road, me and my comedy of errors finally managed to cycle home. You’d think our western obsession with plastic bags would mean there would be one around when one needed one – i.e. when one is standing in the middle of an intersection with instant soup bowls and salad dressing bottles rolling in all directions. Not so.
But I made it, and I’ve got enough snacks to last … forever?