French Protester Dumpster Dives Across Europe

Frenchman protests food waste by dumpster diver

A French protester is dumpster diving his way across Europe to protest food waste.

A Frenchman fed up with Europe’s amount of food waste has been trying to make a point by dumpster diving his way across the E.U. to show people just how much they’ve been throwing away.

According to The Local, when Baptiste Dubanchet decided to undertake the 3,000-mile bicycle ride from Paris to Warsaw, he figured he’d be able to feed himself on food thrown away by supermarkets, bakeries, and restaurants along his route. Even so, he says he was stunned to see how much “perfectly good” food was actually available to him through the dumpsters.

“I really didn’t think we were wasting as much as we are,” he said. “Even when you know about it, it’s still surprising to open a garbage can and find so many potatoes, so much fruit, yogurt, sometimes 500-liter or 1000-liter bins are filled with things that are still good enough to eat.”

Dubanchet, who has a master’s degree in sustainable development, has actually been asking stores and bakeries for their discarded food, rather than surreptitiously raiding dumpsters. But that has caused some problems of its own, as many store employees rebuff his advances and say the food being thrown away is inedible.

So far, he says, Germany has been the easiest place to find food, while the Czech Republic was the most difficult.

Dubanchet says he chose to undertake his project this year to coincide with Europe’s “Year Against Food Waste,” part of the European Parliament’s effort to halve food waste in the E.U. by 2025 through a combination of food labeling changes and increased emphasis on sustainable production.

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“The project has been a way for me to protest,” Dubanchet said. “If we produced less, food would become more precious to us.”