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September 14, 2009 | by  | in News |
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87 Full Bottles of Beer in the Bin…

Local activist group Food Not Bombs is looking for student volunteers to help them in their quest to rummage through dumpsters and liberate perfectly good food.

The group is local chapter of a worldwide grass-roots orgnaisation called Food Not Bombs.

Their aim is to make people aware of the unnecessary amount of waste our society produces.

It is estimated that New Zealanders waste $500 per capita on food every year. Much more is dumped by supermarkets and restaurants that aren’t able to sell food items after their use by date.

One activist, who wanted to remain anonymous because of the legality of what they’re doing, said the group believes food and shelter should be free. “They are basic human needs that need to be met,” she said.

Food Not Bombs has been operating in Wellington for more than ten years. So chances are that you’ve sampled some of their loot at some point, especially if you’re hanging around the university. If you drank some Vitamin Water handed out during Clubs’ Week, it probably came from a Wellington dumpster.

Once, local dumpster divers found a whopping 87 bottles of beer, but they’ve also had luck finding top shelf spirits and fine wines. But their main haul from supermarket dumpsters is trolleys full of all kinds of food—from fruit and vegetables to bagels and pastries—which they give away to people on the street.

It’s never a problem finding someone to take it. If they have too much, they simply put it in a box on the footpath with the sign ‘free’ on it. “Some families rely on such donations,” another activist said.

When Food Not Bombs is handing out food on the streets, passers-by often ask “What’s the catch?” and “What do you want from me in return?” There’s no catch. It’s just free food. And it’s not as grotty as you might think.

Food Not Bombs members say the food they find is usually wrapped or dumped in bags so it’s clean and good to eat.

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