UCSD Professor Gets Meals, Saves Money By Dumpster Diving

A University of California, San Diego professor said he saves money by sifting through trash for food and Dumpster diving, 10News reported.

"I always say if you enjoy your work, you have to get into it," said Milton Saier, Ph.D.

The Encinitas resident is a professor by day and a professional Dumpster diver by night.

"You're obviously not homeless, why do you do this, for fun?" asked 10News reporter Charisse Yu.

"It's the greatest thing in the world. It's like Christmas everyday," said Saier.

On the day before Thanksgiving, Saier was on a mission for something to eat. He started his grocery shopping at the crack of dawn, with trash the highlight of the night's menu.

"What do you usually get in here?" asked Yu.

"I get everything, and you'll never know what it'll be," said Saier.

Saier is a freegan, a person who goes through garbage for food he then eats. He said he has been diving in Dumpsters for the last 30 years, and on Wednesday he brought some of his students to help him.

"Aren't you afraid to get sick sometimes, since this is considered trash?" asked Yu.

"I never get sick. I think it's because I eat this Dumpster stuff ... it increases the strength of my immune system," said Saier.

Saier literally lives by the saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

"Does it get better the deeper you go?" Yu asked.

"Oh, yes, it tastes delicious when it's from the bottom," said Saier.

Yu followed Saier as he found doughnuts and greens, and the next stop was a grocery store.

"Every week, every time I go to the Dumpster, I probably bring home between $300 to $500 worth of produce," said Saier.

After just a couple of stops, Saier and his group ended up with a trunk load of food, including produce and bread.

"The U.S. alone throws away food to feed at least 50 million people," said UCSD student Henry Chan.

Studies show Americans waste more than $100 billion a year in food. A family of four throws out $600 worth of good food every year. Saier said it is something he does not want to contribute to.

Dumpster diving is definitely not a traditional holiday outing, but it could help keep wallets fat.