Dumpster Diving in Finland | Living a Minimalist Student Life
With the title of the article, some may assume that I must be apparently filthy outcast living in some unknown city of trashes. In reality, I am an international student living in one of the most beautiful cities in a Nordic country.
Remember, the Nordic countries are considered to be the most pristine areas of the world. Yes, these countries are so. However, I must admit that there is way more to do with the consumeristic lifestyles, especially of the city-dwellers.
As a change agent for myself, and also to survive the non-EU student poverty, I have started to collect drink cans and bottles which can be exchanged for a coupon that can be used to avail cash or buy the grocery. You can watch the video below that basically shows the entire process of using cans for grocery shopping.
Now, let me come to the main story of this blog. I had not heard the term dumpster diving before I lived in Finland. I had read a newspaper article in my home country where a writer shared her story of scavenging for food in trash bins in Norway. She mentioned that she learned that from a Norwegian colleague of hers. The Norwegian lady seemed to be habituated to doing so.
When I came to Finland, I heard this term for the first time from a colleague. She shared her story of being an active dumpster diver. She later planned to do research work on dumpster diving itself and asked interested students from the university to take part in her campaign. Though she regularly does dumpster diving, we went with her on several occasions.
To my surprise, we found several edible things, cutlery, clothes, and kitchen appliances in the trash bins. I wouldn’t throw this– remarked one of the participants. I thought the same.
While collecting the cans and bottles from bins or some table tops, I naturally feel embarrassed when someone stares at me. I internalize that they might be judging me as something. Not being liked to be judged just on the basis of being observed as a can-picker/ or a plastic-bottle picker, I tend to shy away from such behavior even though I see cans/bottles lying somewhere.
The comrades in dumpster diving shared a lot of experiences, mostly for the research processes. Anyways, we are colleagues, we share a lot during lunch sessions. Oh yes, we do not need to pay much for an on-campus meal in Finland. You can watch the video below to see the deal. It is said that the student meals at the university premises are subsidised food in Finland.
Let me come back to the idea of dumpster diving. First, I would like to salute the gutsy girl from my university. She may encounter many unsafe and/or difficult situations when she dumpster-dives. I have observed her as truly in affinity to nature, and all environmental elements which are in their purest forms. She even collects litter from the ground and puts it into the right bins.
I and other participants of the dumpster diving campaign reflected on ourselves and oriented ourselves more towards living a minimalistic lifestyle, regardless of where we live in the future. Justina (name changed) added to our courage. Saludo Camarada!