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Dumpster diving is a practice as old as, well, dumpsters (or waste containers) are themselves. But a confluence of factors over the past several decades – including income inequality, wasteful food systems, and environmental and anti-consumerist movements – has given rise to an emerging subculture built around making use of what wealthy societies deem disposable. The short documentary Spoils: Extraordinary Harvest (2012) profiles three groups, each with their own philosophies and motivations, converging on the grocery story Trader Joe’s in Brooklyn to mine for imperfect but still-very-much-edible foods that would otherwise be bound for landfill. With its cast of eccentric characters, the US director Alex Mallis’s film succeeds as both an entertaining study of a subculture and an invitation to reflect on food waste as a matter of economic, environmental and social justice.
Director: Alex Mallis
‘Why does life have to be so complicated?’ A school trip to the world of work
Water, salt and music form a mesmerising visualisation of sound waves
Film and visual culture
A Palme d’Or-winning animation toys with the way our eyes perceive light
How a self-taught autistic artist mines creativity from life’s endless variations
Nature and landscape
An afternoon with hobbyist diamond miners in Arkansas is a thing of rare beauty
Witness the majesty of moths taking flight at 6,000 frames per second
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design