Stores throw away a lot of food in Norway, and it is probably one of the countries in the world with the biggest waste of perfectly fine food. This has to do with strict regulations about the legality of selling food items, and a very strict policy that has led to a lot of food having much shorter expiration dates then how long it takes for it to actually expire.
All these things makes Norway a good place to go dumpster diving, but what’s dumpster diving in Norway actually like?
It is technically illegal to go dumpster diving in Norway, but it is still a somewhat common things to do by certain people. You can usually find large dumpsters behind any grocery store where they throw away huge amounts of perfectly fine food every single day.
It is common for all grocery stores to throw away fresh bread and any baked goods when they close the store, so you can usually find lots of bread in the dumpsters. Anything else that has expired will also be thrown away, but you obviously never know what to expect.
It is legal to dumpster dive in Norway?
It is technically illegal to dumpster dive in Norway. This is because the store owns all the content in the dumpsters until they get picket up by the recycling company. So you are stealing things from the dumpsters, even though the stuff was about to be recycled anyway.
Some stores have big locks on the dumpsters to prevent dumpster divers, while other stores openly accepts these dumpster divers. The reason why many stores have locks on their dumpsters is not because they are against dumpster divers in itself, but rather that some dumpster divers are not very good at closing the dumpsters after they are done. This has a high chance of leading to a rat infestation, which can cost the store a lot of money!
From what I could research, no one has ever been fined, prosecuted or punished from having dumpster dived in Norway. However, you can expect to meet an angry store owner from time to time.
How common is it to see dumpster divers in Norway?
Dumpster divers in Norway are often motivated by political reasons, and they can be pretty common in certain areas, especially in cities with a big green movement or cities with universities in them.
It is very uncommon for regular people to go dumpster diving without a political agenda, but I’m sure there are a few people who does it to save money as well.
Dumpster diving for electronics in Norway
Most electronic stores like Elkjøp and Power tend to have these huge containers on the back of the store where people can throw away electronics for free. This is something they are required to do by law. However, this also allows for people to go dumpster diving for electronics.
While some people find cool stuff from dumpster diving for electronics in Norway, be aware that most of the good stuff get taken by organized groups very quickly, and there are “professionals” who monitor and scavenge these piles all the time. It’s also not legal to dumpster dive in these containers, but the stores don’t really seem to care much about it.
While I haven’t heard about anyone getting into issues when dumpster diving for electronics, some people argue that you might not want to try to get involved with an activity that is usually ran by organized criminals.
Frequently asked questions about dumpster diving in Norway
Can you dumpster dive outside stores in Norway?
There are many people who will go dumpster diving in dumpsters outside stores and supermarkets in Norway, but it’s not legal.
Can you go dumpster diving in private dumpsters in Norway?
I would really recommend against dumpster diving in private dumpsters in Norway. Not only is it illegal, but people would likely be very offended by it. And the chances of finding edible items in a private dumpster is much lower than at supermarket’s dumpsters.
Is it common to have locks on dumpsters in Norway?
It’s not really common to have locks on dumpsters in Norway, but some stores and supermarkets have begun to use them to prevent dumpster divers.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.