This woman bought herself a flat after saving money by eating from bins for 4 years
For many young people, the prospect of ever owning their own home is a distant myth. Millennials all over the world are being priced out of the property market, especially here in the UK (and particularly in London), where it looks like today's young adults are going to become the first batch of "generation rent".
However, while it may seem like it's impossible to save up enough money to put down a deposit on a flat, one woman in Australia believes she has found the answer: bin raiding.
Meet 34-year-old Mel Humphreys, who is a nurse from Sydney, Australia. Mel was desperate to put a deposit down on her own place, however she just couldn't afford it. Eventually, Mel concluded that she needed to cut down on her expenses and she started with her biggest one: food.
Mel realised that she was spend a lot of money on groceries and decided that needed to change. She began raiding bins outside of supermarkets, bakeries and caterers several times a week to see what they were throwing out.
"I first heard of dumpster diving four years ago and started looking out of the back of shops for the bins and going out to see what was there," Mel told Caters. "When I started doing it I couldn't believe I could get all this food for free from a bin – it was amazing.
"The more and more places I found, the bigger the hauls and the more stable it could be as a lifestyle – now I'd say 75 per cent of what I eat comes from a bin. I never have to shop and am really reticent to buy things now, because I know if I wait long enough I will just find it in a bin."
Amazingly, Mel's plan has worked. The nurse reckons she used to spend around $AU200 ($158) per week on on food (what on earth was she buying!?) However, she says that through her new found hobby, she only needs to buy the essentials which works out at $AU40 ($31) per week, and she claims that her diet includes fresh bakery goods, meat, veg, soft drinks and more.
The best thing about Mel's plan, is that it's actually worked. Over the four years in which she has been bin raiding, Mel has saved over $20,000, allowing her to put a deposit down on a two-bedroom flat in Sydney.
"I like nice food as much as the next person and it's really nice to be able to share good food with people," said Mel.
"My freezer is absolutely chock full of meat, so now I take it over to my mum's place.
"When you see all these beautiful meats and fish shrink wrapped and still cold going into the bin – it does make me feel disgusted. Food will just be wrapped in plastic and chucked in the garbage."
Mel certainly has a point regarding the amount of food we waste, which is a joke, and what she is doing is going someway to helping the environment too.
Sadly, dumpster diving is actually illegal in the UK, as despite the fact that the shops have thrown the food out, it still remains their property. Alyson Walsh from FareShare, the UK's largest food redistribution charity, told Cosmopolitan that there are other channels you could go down in order to do something good when it comes to food waste: "Although it’s illegal to take food from supermarket bins in the UK there are plenty of ways you can get food for very little money, or even for free," she said.
"The app TooGoodToGo finds restaurants that are getting rid of unsold food, and you can usually pick up a box to go for a few pounds. There’s also an app called Olio which lets people offer food they might otherwise have wasted with their neighbours. All you have to do is collect it."
I don't know about you, but I'm very tempted to head down to my local market this evening and go for a swim in their rubbish, who knows what I'll find!