Skipping: The new way of food ‘shopping’?


People rummaging through the bins of supermarkets at night in order to find something edible is called skipping, also known as dumpster diving in the US, the country where this trend was born.

One may think that these people are very poor or even homeless but fact is that many of these skippers are quite well off, have stable work and live in good residential areas. The reason why they climb into skips is to protest against our society which has become used to consuming irresponsibly and wasting food in huge quantities. It is a moral issue to them and one of their arguments is that we could save so many resources which, at the bottom line, is true. Hence skippers sneak into the premises of supermarkets and rummage through the bins, mostly at night, and often find decent groceries that can still be used and have only expired one or two days before. A host of the food thrown away, however, has often not expired yet but only ends up in the bins because of new deliveries to the supermarkets. In Germany, for example, 15 million tonnes of food is annually thrown away. This alone shows how ridiculously we waste goods without even thinking about it.

So skippers swarm out night after night and frequently risk getting reported to the police for theft or trespass by supermarket owners but they are more than willing to take chances. After all, they save money, do something good for the environment and make their stand clear.

The trend of skipping has spread and has become more popular, hence many supermarket owners and their staff know about it. Some of them are clement when they catch skippers red-handed. They let them off the hook without getting the police involved. Even so, there have been cases of staff manipulating the products that are thrown away. There was, for example, one case in the vicinity of Stockholm where the staff of one supermarket poisoned the food in the skips by pouring cleaning detergents over it. They did not want skippers to scavenge food for free but, graciously, they put up a warning sign for the skippers that there was poisoned food.

A lot of activists have established and joined skipper communities. They exchange experience and addresses of supermarkets with full skips on websites and blogs. On a range of blogs, one can see pictures of goods from their forays and other pictures of delicious home-made meals from these goods. One insider tip in many communities is organic supermarkets. Their bins often contain fresh fruit and vegetables and products that are normally rather expensive.

Whoever is interested in getting deeper into this subject should visit the different websites in order to learn more. A lot of film material and documentaries on wasting food and skipping can be found on the internet as well. Some of these documentaries are pretty alarming and show the importance of rethinking and reorganizing because this is the only way of making an effective contribution to changing our world.

With this in mind, lucky skipping and bon appétit!

Source: Dumpstern

More info: Dumpstern, skipping UK, short film about skipping

Image: ntnews




  • hanNa banaNa

    hey katha…sehr cool. toller artikel. wie kommst du dazu, einen artikel zu schreiben? arbeitest dort?

  • Rachel

    Great article! I knew a lot of people that did dumpster diving a few years back. I was even a part of an international group called food not bombs where we would take wasted food from the markets and prepare it into fresh meals for the homeless. This would cut down on waste from the stores. It was a really cool organization!

  • Daniel

    Unfortunately this is still illegal in Germany. To make it even more difficult, most stores put locks on the bins, so you can’t even open them to take a look.

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Katharina Gadinger


I'm a 24-year-old German living in Copenhagen. I'm a translator for English, German and French specialised in engineering and technology.

Looking forward to being creative here. Read Full

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