In Spain, unemployment leads to dumpster diving, leads to locked dumpsters

By » Thu, September 27 2012
Madrid Spain A couple of 005 450x354 In Spain, unemployment leads to dumpster diving, leads to locked dumpsters

Romanian scavengers dumpster dive for books to resell which were thrown away in Madrid, Spain, on August 22, 2012 (img by Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP)

I hear all the time that the US is turning socialist. While there are many government-led social programs and policies in place and have been for decades, the US is anything but socialist. It’s a word that gets thrown around to criticize government, and for all intensive porpoises, is pure hyperbole.

Many people would be hard-pressed to identify it. But here’s an example. Girona, a city in Spain, is installing locks on dumpsters to keep the homeless from eating potentially-spoiled food, for their safety.

“When you don’t have enough money,” she said, declining to give her name, “this is what there is.”

The woman, 33, said that she had once worked at the post office but that her unemployment benefits had run out and she was living now on euro 400 a month, about $520. She was squatting with some friends in a building that still had water and electricity, while collecting “a little of everything” from the garbage after stores closed and the streets were dark and quiet.

Such survival tactics are becoming increasingly commonplace here, with an unemployment rate over 50 per cent among young people and more and more households having adults without jobs. So pervasive is the problem of scavenging that one Spanish city has resorted to installing locks on supermarket trash bins as a public health precaution.

Read the whole thing here.

Still, there is something to be gained. Do you know how to dumpster dive? I mean, it’s not a skill most people practice. Or want to practice. Or would do even if they got paid to do it.

Fortunately for us, there are guides. You want to know what the homeless eat? They eat this stuff.

What is safe to eat?

After all, the finding of objects is becoming something of an urban art. Even respectable employed people will sometimes find something tempting sticking out of a Dumpster or standing beside one. Quite a number of people, not all of them of the bohemian type, are willing to brag that they found this or that piece in the trash. But eating from Dumpsters is the thing that separates the dilettanti from the professionals.

Eating safely from the Dumpsters involves three principles: using the senses and common sense to evaluate the condition of the found materials, knowing the Dumpsters of a given area and checking them regularly, and seeking always to answer the question, “Why was this discarded?”

If it sounds too alien, you haven’t been hungry enough.

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One Response

  1. Paracelse September 28 2012 @ 11:45pm

    It’s soon to be the same in France… is there a class or something? I wonder if the socialist government will force people to have a licence to do it.

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