Lancaster is a city in Pennsylvania, USA. With a population of 55,351, it is the eighth largest city in Pennsylvania, behind Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Bethlehem, and Scranton. The city has numerous small businesses including many coffeeshops, cafes, other small eateries, and many antique and art shops.
Lancaster is the most surveilled city of its size in the United States, with over 150 surveillance cameras across the city. It is unknown how this may specifically affect dumpster diving activities in main areas of the city.
Places to dumpster dive
The city of Lancaster has a pretty diverse population: students from the colleges, family dwellings, various ethnicities and economic backgrounds, so depending where you are in the city you can find different things with varying qualities, due of course to cultural and/or socio-economic differences. Neighborhoods of Lancaster provides a historic/present day look at the different neighborhoods. For example, the Chestnut Hill area is made up of students from Millersville University and F&M, small mix of Black, white, and Latino families, and a small amount of middle/upper class residents. The Stadium District and Ross areas have a higher density of the Asian populations in the city and the Southside and Cabbage Hill areas both have higher density of Blacks and Latinos.
- Central Market @ Market & King St - Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays. This is the countries oldest farmers' market and dumpster divers are able to reclaim many fruits and vegetables, mostly on Saturdays. Used to be able to get produce straight out of tossed boxes, but new rule requires all tossed produce to be bagged and thrown in dumpster, which is still accessible. Recently a letter was sent out to all vendors telling them not to give any food away. Some vendors are still willing to share left over produce at the end of the day, but how much this letter has affected other vendors is unknown (All info as of Sept.2009)
- Dunkin Donuts @ Orange & Queen St - bag day-old pastries at end of day. (As of Aug.2009)
- Salvation Army @ Manor Pike - good finds include rollerskates, books, CDs, and some clothing. A man that is the store manager or with some kind of management position is there until about 10pm, so it's best to go after then. Some dumpster divers who frequent there have complained about newer folks leaving big messes so be sure to follow dumpster diver etiquette!(As of Aug.2009)
- Weis @ Fruitville Pike - used to get a hold of bags of chips and cookies, once was able to reclaim a folding camping chair. Sometime in the recent past, they switched out the open dumpster for a compactor and a fence was put up around it. Accessibility is unknown.(As of 7.Sept.2009)
- Weis @ Lincoln Highway - lots of sweet potatoes have been found here. (As of Aug.2009)
- Weis @ 31 Rohrerstown Rd (Rt 741) - Concern about the dumpster being sprayed with rodent poison (2008). The company slogan is "Where Freshness Matters" so the employees in departments like Produce are required to toss anything that has a blemish of any kind, or the best by date is the current date or even the next day. LOTS of produce, breads, packaged goods, and meat are available in the dumpster, which is around the back of the building and has no lock. There is no camera security outside or in this building. Not sure on the trash pickup times, but it looks to be at least every other day, if not every day. Best time to go is after 1pm. At least a few employees, including the store manager, are okay with folks collecting from the dumpster, a few have expressed their opinion about all the food being wasted. This is probably not an isolated occurrence and all other Weis markets probably have the same requirements (As of 16 Sept.2009)
- Millersville University @ George St (technically Millersville, PA). The school recycles cardboard and plastics/glass, which could be of use. Recently discovered old metal library shelves that were in the big roll dumpster by the loading dock of the library.(As of Sept.2009)
- Franklin & Marshall College (F&M), located in Lancaster city, is home to very many rich students who come from afar, so they buy many things and leave them when school is done after each semester. Besides the large dumpsters, it is very easy to go into the dormitories during the move-out days, which allows for even greater finds. Items that have been found include: a hamster cage, text and non-text books, cases of Coca Cola, Honest Tea, water, Gatorade; an assortment of liquors, IKEA chairs and other small furniture, foodstuff like mac'n'cheese, hot chocolate mix, magazines, unused hygiene products, miniature refrigerators, Nintendo 64 system and games, full length mirror, a hookah, pillows, clothing, kitchen utensils and plateware, TVs, DVD players, and too much more to list.
- Trash and Recycling day is Monday or Tuesday for most of the city, and it's all curbside pickup. Various items can of course be found by going through some of the trashcans, some including: A giant teddy bear, household wares, shelves, chairs, and flower beds.
- There is often many buildings being worked on throughout the city and there is usually an enormous roll off dumpster at the construction site. Scrap wood is usually the most visible and plentiful thing in the dumpsters, but some places like two church buildings (Orange/Pine St and Lancaster Ave) are or were recently gutted to some extent and it's very possible that there could be some great things to find.
- AC Moore @ 1515 Lititz Pike - craft supplies store, accessibility and what can be found unknown.
- Aldi's @ 1302 Lititz Pike - discount grocery store, offering 'no-name'/cheap brand products. Accessibility and what can be found unknown.
- Barnes & Nobles @ Red Rose Commons 1700H Fruitville Pike - accessibility and what can be found (food and books?) unknown.
- Dunkin' Donuts @ 1906 Columbia Avenue - acessibility unknown.
- GIANT @ 1360 Columbia Avenue - has a fully enclosed trash compactor. Seems like most GIANTs do.
- GIANT @ Lititz Pike (Near AC Moore) - accessibility unknown, they do have a trash compactor.
- JoAnn Fabrics @ 838 Plaza Blvd (across from Park City Mall) - craft supplies store, accessibility and what can be found unknown.
- Marriott Hotel (& Convention Center) @ King & Queen St - accessibility and what can be found are unknown.
- Miller's Dutch Market @ 2931 Columbia Avenue - New market that opened recently (September 2009?). Store features lots of dried packaged goods like flour, sugar, nuts; also meats, cheeses, raw milk products, and some other local and/or organic food products. Their dumpster is very accessible, as it is around the back of the building and does not have a lock on it. Not actually sure if anything useful can be found. (As of Oct. 2009)
- The Art Store @ 29 E King St - accessibility and what can be found are unknown.
- There are numerous dumpsters at different businesses throughout the city, especially the downtown area, many of which need to checked out!
There is a Lancaster Food not Bombs (LFNB), which shares food weekly in the form of a picnic for everyone. Volunteers and folks from community meet on Monday at Lancaster Square (across the street from Binns Park) to grab soup, PB&J, salad, coffee, and/or any produce that is available. The volunteers collect food from a few vendors at Central Market, other farmers markets and bakeries in the area. All food is at the very least, vegetarian and the soup/stew is always vegan. Members of this group have decided that they will only take donations from businesses and people, and do not collect foodstuff from dumpsters nor do they accept dumpstered donations.
There is a Lancaster Really Really Free Market (LRFM) that is 'open' on the second Saturday of each month from 9am to noon. The group members consist many of the same folks in the Food not Bombs group. Lots of clothes, household wares, small furniture, and some other stuff up for grabs. They usually set up in Penn Square, just a block down Queen St from Binns Park/Lancaster Square.