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Dented cans, ugly fruit – it’s all tasty (and free) if you’re willing to get your hands dirty

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

8 December 2020

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