Madeline's lessons in freeganism included a "trash tour" of New York. These tours show interested people just how much perfectly safe, edible food can be found that has been thrown away. "I thought, 'Well, why not?' I just wanted to see what's there." Now Madeline routinely takes people in New York City on trash tours.
Watch as Madeline leads Lisa on a trash tour of New York City.
In her New York City home, Madeline prepares a meal for Lisa made from salvaged food. Her kitchen is stocked with the sort of things you'd find in many kitchens in America—fruit, vegetables, milk, bread, eggs and even cut flowers. All of which, she says, came from the trash. Madeline estimates she spends roughly $10 to $20 a week on things she can't find in the trash.
The food she's eating is far from gross. "It's not toxic waste," she says. Much of the food is still in its original packaging and has been discarded largely for cosmetic reasons, not because of poor quality. She shows Lisa how cartons of eggs are regularly thrown away when there's one broken egg—even though there are 11 perfectly good ones remaining. Fruit is often thrown away when it has only minor dents, she says.
"Once you know what you're doing, in approximately one hour, you can gather food that if you were paying retail price, [it would cost] between [$100] and $300," Madeline says.