On a particularly hot afternoon, halfway through a 1,000-mile bike ride, Rob Greenfield was thirsty. Upon arriving into a town — he doesn’t remember where — he found a grocery store. Instead of going inside for a tasty beverage, he went to the back and found his target: the store’s dumpster.
He jumped in, waded around and had a stroke of luck; fresh-pressed juice still packed in ice was there waiting for him. It was the perfect find for a parched bicyclist, but for Greenfield it was also perfectly illustrative of the problem he was trying to bring attention to: food waste.
“Ice cold juice fresh from the dumpster,” he quips. “That’s actually standard, though. It’s so abundant that every time you go out, you’re going to generally have an amazing haul [from grocery store dumpsters].”
During that ride, Greenfield vowed to only eat food that was otherwise going to waste. While that meant regularly jumping into dumpsters (Greenfield says he’s done that a few thousand times by now), it wasn’t particularly difficult to find ready-to-eat food at his disposal. And that’s a big problem for the environment, he says, since rotting food releases methane and is a greater contributor to climate change than most other sources.