Chef Ditches Day Job To Become A Full-Time 'Dumpster Diver'
A chef who started 'dumpster diving' in commercial waste bins six months ago has netted goodies worth more than £16,000 ($19,700) so far.
April Smith, 35, claims she has saved £3,250 ($4,000) on food bills and has acquired beauty products and household items worth another £16,250 ($20,000), by diving into giant dumpsters used by businesses such as supermarkets, and turning other people's trash into treasure. That's one word for it.
Currently taking a year-long break from her 20-year career in the restaurant business and living back at home with her parents in Illinois, USA, singleton April took up the controversial activity after watching back-to-back online videos of influential dumpster divers at work.
Admitting she was terrified at first, she is now so hooked she gets withdrawals if she skips a day, and is left wondering what goods she has missed. She said: "I'm lucky because I live close to a tonne of stores, so I rarely drive more than 10 miles for a dive. At first, I was really nervous, then I gave it a go, thinking, 'What's the worst thing that can happen to me?'
In her first dive she came back with beauty products worth £812 ($1,000), and since then she hasn't looked back.
While dumpster diving is not illegal in Illinois, the authorities do not encourage it. April has not encountered any problems so far. She went on: "I think some people frown upon it, but I don't think I'm doing any harm and I haven't had any trouble, as I'm always discreet."
April drives her haul home in a big truck but, to protect her territory, she is secretive about precisely where she dives and when. This really is the bin-dipping equivalent to road traffic police lurking on the motorway.
She continued: "I usually give most of the stuff I get away. I donated a lot of the make-up from that first haul to a women's shelter 20 miles away. It makes me angry that stores throw good stuff away instead of donating it, and I thought maybe the women at the shelter would appreciate having something nice."
Raised in a family that never wasted anything, as both her parents had grown
up in households which were cash poor, they passed on their values to April,
who cannot stand seeing perfectly good produce being thrown away.
She continued: "Growing up, nothing in our home ever went to waste. It makes my soul sick when I see how much stuff people throw away, especially because I've visited countries where poverty is everywhere."
Having noticed a number of followers from the Philippines on her social media channels, April is planning a trip there next month with a selection of products she's rescued from dumpsters to give away to people she meets.
She said: "I suppose I'm thinking of them as goodie bags. I'll be taking make-up that the stores here have just thrown away. All women like to feel beautiful and so that will be my gift to the women I meet when I'm travelling over there.
"I can't wait to see their faces light up."
Follow April on Instagram at @dumpstircrazy
Featured Image Credit: PA Real Life