food waste, dumpster diving

A dumpster-diving TikTok user is taking stores to task for what they throw away.

Do you ever think about how we live in a world that is perfectly capable of producing enough food and basic necessities for every human on the planet, and yet there are still millions upon millions who don't have enough?

We do. It's weird and inhumane, but it's reality. There are multiple, somewhat complex reasons for this, of course, which don't justify but do explain it. However, the economics and logistics of making sure everyone has what they need don't need to be understood to recognize extreme, blatant, inexcusable waste.

A TikTok user who goes by @dumpsterdivingfreegan shares videos of what she finds in the dumpsters of grocery stores, and it's completely mind-blowing. Even if you already know that stores waste a lot of food, wait until you see what she finds. It's not just food that's at or near its expiration date, though there is a lot of that. She finds toiletries and household items—sometimes by the case, all brand new—just thrown into the dumpster.

Watch:


@dumpsterdivingfreegan

Reply to @celester The same WF that throws out enough each night to feed a community😔. #dumpsterdiving #freegan #usa #dumpsterdiver #AEHolidayForever

Many of us would question pulling perishables from a dumpster, but if it's cold enough outside and you knew they'd been tossed recently, why not? In a logical world, these foods would only be thrown out because there was something wrong with them, but that does not seem to be the case.

In another video, she said she hasn't bought groceries in two years because she's able to get so much from dumpster diving.

@dumpsterdivingfreegan

Reply to @littlesquish18 yes, and it got SO much worse from there. #dumpsterdiving #freegan #dumpster #capitalism #usa #foodwaste #donatedontdump #fyp

She also says she donates far more than she keeps, and she does leave things behind for other people or homeless people to find. There is always plenty to go around.

She wipes down what she can with disinfectant and hasn't run into any issues with food being bad or anyone in her household getting sick from eating it.

When you see what and how much stores are tossing—perfectly good food that's not even at its best by date yet—it's understandable that she hasn't had to buy groceries. According to Business Insider, grocery stores are responsible for about 10% of the food waste in the United States.

@dumpsterdivingfreegan

Reply to @esotericaa the more I do this the more I don’t trust the system. #dumpsterdiving #freegan #MunchiesWithTubi #capitalism #usa #dobetter #fyp

But it's not just food.

Stores throw away all kinds of merchandise. According to this dumpster diver, many stores have a policy that they throw away cases of product if one item in the case gets broken. She has found cases of wine where just one bottle was broken. And check out this case of perfectly good plants that some people paid good money for:

@dumpsterdivingfreegan

Reply to @neo.spazzy I have found literally hindreds of plants in local store dumpsters🙃 #dumpsterdiving #planttok #paperwhite #freegan #dumpsterdive

And if perfectly good plants being tossed isn't enough to move you, how about toilet paper? That's right. The precious commodity that people were waiting in ridiculous lines for and rationing due to hoarding-induced-scarcity. But not just any toilet paper! The environmentally friendly bamboo kind that costs far more than toilet paper should, tossed into a dumpster for reasons none of us can guess.

@dumpsterdivingfreegan

Reply to @jobare007 yes! & I haven’t paid for to since BEFORE the pandemic for this reason🧍‍♀️#dumpsterdiving #part2 #MakeItCinematic #wholefoods #f

The irony of a store that sells all kinds of eco-friendly items throwing so much into landfills unnecessarily is enough to make your brain explode.

Why don't they donate this stuff instead of throwing it away? Yes. That is the million-dollar question.

Some stores do donate some or most of their overstocked or close-to-due-date items. But as we see here, the habit is not universal, it might vary from location to location, and some stores actually have policies against it for whatever reason. It seems reasonable in the modern world to expect perfectly good items to not end up in landfills when people are in need of them and when our Earth is already dealing with too much trash. It makes no sense.

You probably have dozens of questions for @dumpsterdivingfreegan and she answers tons of them in her videos and comments. I highly recommend perusing her TikTok channel, where she's really an open book about money and dumpster diving. While it's seriously shocking what she finds, it's equally interesting how she lives her life and organizes her finances.

And it will definitely motivate you to find out if stores in your area throw out merchandise and to encourage them to find a more humane and environmentally conscious way to process excess, because the waste in these videos is simply obscene.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Laverne Cox in 2016.

When kids are growing up they love to see themselves in the dolls and action figures. It adds a special little spark to a shopping trip when you hear your child say “it looks just like me.” The beaming smile and joy that exudes from their little faces in that moment is something parents cherish, and Mattel is one manufacturer that has been at the forefront of making that happen. It has created Barbies with freckles, afro puffs, wheelchairs, cochlear implants and more. The company has taken another step toward representation with its first transgender doll.

Laverne Cox, openly transgender Emmy award winning actor and LGBTQ activist, is celebrating her 50th birthday May 29, and Mattel is honoring her with her very own Barbie doll. The doll designed to represent Cox is donned in a red ball gown with a silver bodysuit. It also has accessories like high heels and jewelry to complete the look. Cox told Today, “It’s been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll.” She continued, “I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection.”

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.