Our First Week of Bin Diving for Van Food

Bin Dive #1

We visited a large supermarket chain at 8pm on a Wednesday to find a nice old lady already rummaging through the bins. We loitered patiently in the car park waiting for our turn.

After she had already taken three carrier bags full of fruit & veg we still were able to take our pick of fresh produce and fill our large bag for life.

Our Free Food Haul:

1 Bag of Spinach, 2x 1kg Bags of Apples, 3 Peppers, 2 Trays of Sliced Agaricus Mushrooms, 1 Courgette, 1 Aubergine, 1 Melon & 1 Iceburg Lettuce.

It’s not an epic photo (more of a rushed job in the evening before driving off) but hopefully you can see the fresh produce is in near perfect condition, except for the bag of spinach – we had to pick out about 25% of leaves before cooking.

Free Dinner:

Stir-Fried Veg (Aubergine, Courgette, Onions, Spinach, Mushrooms & Peppers in Fajita Spices) with Natural Yogurt & Raw Garlic Dressing. Served with Sliced Crusty Bread. So delicious!

Bin Dive #2

We visited the large bins outside a town bakery, they were all filled with cardboard and packing materials. So no more free food today.

Bin Dive #3

Someone was clearly having a clear out in the bakery aisle! We visited a large supermarket chain at 5pm on a Friday.

Our Free Food Haul:

6 Loaves of Wholemeal Wheat & Rye Sliced Bread (unbelievably still two days before sell by date), 1 Crusty Loaf, 1 Large Pretzel, 2 Crusty Sesame Seed Loaves, Small Cob Loaf, 1 Loaf of Brioche & 1kg Bag of Tomatoes. (All the loose bakery items were foraged from a sealed plastic bag).

This is just a small portion of what we found in the bin…we just could not have squeezed anymore bread into our van! There were loaves and loaves of sliced bread in the sealed packaging all still perfectly in date.

Free Brunch:

Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

Bin Dive #4

We visited another slightly more upmarket supermarket in the area to see if it offered a different variety of produce. The grapes were still ice cold from the supermarket refrigerators! So much food in good condition, we just had to pick the first few leaves off the cabbages.

Our Free Food Haul:

3 Packs of 250g Mushrooms, 2 Bags of 200g Mixed Salad, 1 Lettuce, 2 Red Cabbages, 1 Pack of Cherry Tomatoes, 2 Tubs of Grapes, 3kg of Potatoes, 5 Peaches, 2 Bulbs of Fennel, 5kg of Grapes, 1 Large Tomato, 3 Aubergines, 3 Melons and 3kg of Courgettes.

Free Dinner:

Mashed Spring Onion Potato, with a Sprinkle of Parmesan (that we already had in the fridge left over from Italy). Topped with the Shallow Fried Potato Peelings. Sooooo Delicious!

Bin Dive #5

We visited another supermarket nearby, plus our usual one after dark at about 9pm. To find the same old lady we encountered on the first day already half way through pulling the huge bin out, so we helped her and sifted through having a laugh together about all the amazing produce we were finding. The sheer volume and quality of produce we found was incredible, so much food that it took up both worktops in our van and we couldn’t fit it all in one photo. The spring onions were crisp and fresher then any I’ve ever had in my fridge at home.

Our Free Food Haul:

1 Large Watermelon, 6 Sacks of Tomatoes, 1 Tray of Cherry Tomatoes, 3 Sacks of Oranges, 1 Lemon, 4 Sacks of Limes, 1 Ginger Root, 4 Bags of Grapes, 10 bunches of Spring Onions, 4 Jalepeno Peppers, 4 Carrots, 4 Sacks of Red Onions, 10 Peaches, 1 Apple, 6 Bananas, 2 Courgettes, 6 Aubergines, 2 Sacks of White Onions, 4 Packets of Melba Toast, 6 Jars of Marmalade.

We had so much fresh produce even after our friend took what she needed, so we bagged up half of what we had and dropped it to a family in need we had seen earlier that day in town.

The children were super excited to make freshly squeezed orange juice the next morning. Such a treat after being on a frugal food budget for so long.

The adults were just as excited to have slow cooked tomato & onion jam on Melba Toast with a huge bucket of red cabbage vegan-slaw for lunch!

That summises our first week adventuring into the world of bin-diving. We had heard of lots of people doing it but had no idea it would be so rewarding. Our efforts provided enough food to feed us for the whole week, with only a couple of extra bits from our fridge and spice rack.

Our Bin Diving diet actually turned out to be healthier compared to usual as we were able to eat fresh fruit and veg every day and not need to supplement meals with the cheaper, bulkier carbs such as pasta, rice and bread.

It felt great to be able to save a load of food that was destined for sustinance from the rubbish tip, share our finds with others and make friends with a local bin-diving legend along the way.

This week has opened our eyes to just how much good food goes to waste before it gets anywhere near our fridges at home and what a viable option bin-diving can be to people living on small budgets.

I don’t think this will be our last exploration into the world of bin diving!

2 thoughts on “Our First Week of Bin Diving for Van Food

  1. Having worked in Tesco I can imagine the amount of stuff you can forage from the bins, it’s absolutely appalling the amount of good food gone to waste! Dumpster diving is so rewarding, you end up enjoying the food even more as you know it was free and also going to waste, hurrah! Great blog guys, Bee xx


    1. We are so in love with bin diving already! It feels incredibly satisfying, we are hooked. We can’t figure out how to find the bins in the UK though…they all seem very hidden in the depths of the supermarket somewhere!! You will have to give us some insider tips ❀️😁


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