Stockholm, Sweden, is full of valuable stuff rejected by others. Dumpster diving can be relatively successful at times, although generally you will find most of the places with dumpsters locked or food being compressed in trash compactors; nonetheless, there are nice exceptions which can provide you with some part of your daily meal. Recent figures show that each Swede throws 100 kg of edible food every year, although it is mostly supermarket bins you dive in for food.
Stockholm is a relatively expensive city. If you don't want to pay for anything and live for free here, then your problem number one is accommodation: squatting in Stockholm is not common, and rent is pretty high. However, once you solve this problem, you can live really cheap if you make an effort. You can dumpster dive for food and use waste rooms (grovsoprum in Swedish) for getting a free non-edible stuff (clothes, furniture, electronics, various household items...). Furthermore, there are at least 3 good websites/e-groups for receiving stuff for free (see "Links" section), meanwhile Blocket.se is an online market where you can get things at half or so of its real price. Although not free, but still really cheap are second-hand stores "Myrorna" (see the list of its stores in Stockholm) where you can find great items (furniture, clothes, kitchen items, books...) for very little money - interesting thing is that you can often find clothes outside these stores if you check the place during its closing time: people are encouraged to donate things to Myrorna, and very orten you can see a pile of stuff in front of the Myrorna store (especially early in the morning), and no big harm is done if you go through this pile, though legality of that might be questioned.
In recent years dumpster diving in Stockholm has worsened a bit, however, Swedish forest around Stockholm will provide you with huge amounts of highly nutritional food (see "Wild foraging" section) if only you make an effort to gather free food from the nature, and preserve it.
- 1 "Grovsoprum"
- 2 Dumpster diving
- 2.1 Legality
- 2.2 Beware of...
- 2.3 Places
- 2.4 Markets
- 2.5 Dumpster diving friends
- 2.6 Gallery
- 2.7 Video
- 3 Freeshops
- 4 Really really free market
- 5 Wild foraging
- 6 Links
Those who live in apartments in Stockholm have a chance to sort out all of their trash. A good solution to this is a so called grovsoprum - these are waste rooms where you leave all the things that are too big for usual trash bins (there are also containers for recycled things like glass, metal, paper, plastic, and various packages). Even though containers with recycled stuff do not attract freegans, other stuff being put in these rooms often is very valuable, including different electronics (often still working), clothes, sheets, pillows, blankets, furniture, books, etc. - basically everything what people have in apartments. If you are lucky you might find, for example, a laptop still in working condition. It is not only about bulky or high-tech items, though, - if you are in need for AA or AAA batteries, for instance, and you have an access to a good grovsoprum, just go down there and check thrown away remote controls and other similar devices - they often contain good batteries.
Swedes, as well as Finns, Norwegians and Danes, throw away a lot. Nonetheless, to take stuff from a grovsoprum is officially prohibited, although it is not known if anyone ever got in trouble because of taking something from there. Another thing, though, is that a grovsoprum is always locked, and only people who live in nearby houses can unlock the door. Therefore, it is possible to get there if you yourself live in Stockholm in one of the apartments, or you have friends living there who can provide you with an access to grovsoprum.
It is not entirely clear what the Swedish legislation says about dumpster diving practice. Theoretically a dumpster diver can be suspected in an arbitrary act but most probably never a theft. See more details here.
Beware of Lidl: there was a recorded case in Solna (it is a municipality in Stockholm County, located just north of the capital Stockholm) when Lidl employees poured a corrosive liquid, the equivalent of chlorine, on food that would be discarded, in order to keep homeless people away from dumpster diving (this case was filed for police investigation, and the managing director of Lidl Sweden called the incident "extremely regrettable"). However, it is also known that quite a few Lidl stores (not only in Stockholm but in other areas (Uppsala...), too) have been putting (or still do!) a washing-up liquid on food in containers.
There are many places to dumpster dive scattered over Stockholm. With some persistence you can get all the free food you need. Forget about expensive shopping.
- Hemköp in Upplands Väsby (could be closed by now, verification needed)
- Lidl in Täby. Mostly vegetables, the food is often mixed with ordinary trash from the staff etc. (Last checked: Feb. 2011)
- Vi in Sjöberg Centrum (see map). Only bread, buns and other pastries available, the rest is kept inside the store. Dumpster with bread located behind the store. (Last checked: March 2011)
- Lidl in Jakobsberg. (Last checked: September 2012)
- Lidl in Märsta C. (Last checked: September 2012)
- ICA Nära Söderhöjden Frihetsvägen 50, in Järfälla. (Last checked: September 2012)
- Lidl in Skytteholm (Solna), next to Ankdammsrondellen (see map), is open for divers. Staff make rounds at the loading bay at times, so watch out. But you can find lots of good products (Last checked: August 2019)
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City (Norrmalm, Vasastan)
- PrisXtra at Norra Station. "Miljö.entreprenad" container sometimes used to throw away junk and unsold stuff (not food). You may find stuff off season, Chrismas candles in january for example. (Last checked: Dec.2011)
- For lunch we went to Kungshallen Food Court at Kungsgatan 44. So many people did not finish their plates that we could easily find enough leftovers on the trays. Only tried it once though.
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- Kampementshallen Local store, usually throws lots of fruit and dairy products a. o. Easily accessible, just open the door in the wooden fence and help yourself to whatever is in the three dumpsters. No problems with staff, since they are rarely around. No neighbours to complain either.(Last checked Sep.2018)
- ICA Nära Gärdet at Furusundsgatan. Local store, four large bins around the back of the building. Toward the subway exit with elevator. Hint: it's easy to dive here and then carry stuff on to the subway. The store closes at 23:00, so a preferable time for diving is after 23:30.
(Last checked: July 2019)
- Prisxtra at Fridhemsplan. Look for a public garage before 21 o'clock, enter via Kronobergsgatan 33. (Last checked: Oct. 2011)
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- ICA Nära at Essinge Brogata. Three dumpsters by the loading bay on Disponentgatan, just around the corner from the entrance. The two green dumpsters closest to the street contain foodstuffs every night of the week. Ready-made salads and sandwiches, milk, coffe, eggs etc. The blue dumpster holds only plastic. Staff is sometimes friendly, sometimes not. They won't cause any trouble as long as the dumpster diver doesn't either. Keep it neat and clean! After 22:30 no one is around and it is safe to spend as much time as you like. The dumpsters are emptied at least every Wednesday morning/noon, but probably more often. (Last checked: Sep.2018)
- Lidl near Södra station, available for access only during the day; be sure to prepare to spend no more then 1 minute on a spot: employees are not particularly friendly. (Last checked: Aug.2009)
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- Coop/Ica in Kärrtorp, very popular though. No dumpsters out since April 2014 (Last checked: April 2014)
- Skärholmen, the backyards of Ica Kvantum and Coop Extra (Eniro Maps); note that the entrance is under the big road, if you get off from T-bana go pass the Lidl store down under the bridge; sometimes the yards are closed, sometimes not, try different times. Please report here what time is best. (Last checked: Feb.2011)
- Årsta partihallar (map), industrial area with at least 3 containers with fruit and vegetables from wholesalers. (Last checked: Sep. 2011)
- Vi in Hagsätra. Once in a while one can find few veggies or fruits, but that's it. (Last checked: Dec. 2010)
- Lidl in Fruängen, one of the most popular places. Please be tidy and don't leave any mess after diving. (Last checked: November 2015)
- Lidl in Enskede, Bussens väg. Accessible with a triangular key, but sometimes one lock is left open and then you can easily open the other ones. (Last checked: Aug. 2012)
- Coop Årstavägen/Siljansvägen. Open door to the "soprum" feel free to take what you can find, but keep it neat and clean. (Last checked: August 2019)
- Lundbergs konditori in Gröndal. Close to the tram stop. Lots of good bread and bakery wares, especially on weekends. Ftree to access after closing (19:00). Sometimes many people moving around, but no one takes notice of dumpster divers. (Last checked: September 2019)
- Handlarn Ekensberg on the western promontory, north of Vinterviken. Close to the bus stop (line 133 from Liljeholmen). Unguarded dumpsters, easy to access after 21:30 but not very good results. One-time find: 21 bags of chips. (Last checked: September 2019)
- Lidl in Akalla, a relatively good place, although come late at night, since Lidl employees do not tolerate dumpster divers there. (Last checked: April 2012)
- Lidl in Spånga has locked bins but stubborn divers open them using a triangular key. Beware of rats! (Last checked: July 2011)
- Ica in Rissne has trash compactors, but in season they leave shelves of flowers and potted plants outside. (Last checked: May 2011)
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- Ica in Hässelby Gård has many containers where I found bread. (Last checked: March 2019)
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Note that Coop in Bromsten (had many ecological veggies in its bins) has removed the bins (as of July 2011) . If you notice any changes, please edit here.
- Ica in Ekerö. One container which is accessible at least during the store's working hours. (Last checked: Aug.2009)
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- Lidl in Tyresö. (Last checked: May 2010)
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- Lidl and Willy at Värmdö shopping center. Accessible bins visible from parking lot. Notice that its best to visit after midnight while there are securitas guards patroling. The securitas office is right above the dumpster outside Willys, not clear how or if they will interupt, but good to be aware of. (Last checked: December 2010)
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- Lidl in Orminge Centrum. (Last checked: May 2011)
- Cicada catering containers, 100 m from Saltjö-Järla station. Very messy, mostly cooking leftovers. (Last checked: 2009)
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- Ica Ektorps Centrum containers with lots of bakery bread and fruits (Last checked: 2017)
- Lidl in Hallunda. (Last checked: 2012)
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- Handlar'n at Segeltorp in Huddinge, Orrvägen 2 (map); backyard, 1 dumpster. No luck dumpster diving food here lately.(Last checked: April 2014)
- Delicato factory between Segeltorps centrum and Fruängen, just outside the bus stop Mälarvägen. There's a big factory in a dumpster of which you can find unlimited amounts of chokladboll (chocolate balls). Occasional finds of additional stuff might occur in a form of custard, dried coconut flakes, chocolate - basically, you might find any ingredient used in production of chokladboll. LOCKED in 2014. Big padlocks and chains. (Last checked: April 2014)
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If you have no luck in dumpster diving at the supermarket areas, you can also check food markets where unsold fruits and veggies are thrown away at the end of the market. Check places at:
- Brommaplan - sources say it is really good for bananas and various vegetables. (Last checked: Aug.2009)
- Hötorget - Leftovers and trash go into a bin at the part of the square close to the cinema, it's an underground dumpster. Stand there and ask if the people throwing stuff wouldn't mind giving it to you instead. (Last checked: September 2012)
- Skärholmen (very active food market, although it is not known if there is anything left to pick up after it is closed)
Dumpster diving friends
Here you can post your contact information if you want to meet other dumpster divers for diving together (following contact information should in no way be used by reporters and journalists - please respect that).
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Some examples of dumpster dived food, as well as skipping in action, in Stockholms area:
It is very convenient to have a bike (or a freight bike which is even better) when dumpster diving since one can attach quite some load to it.
Eating a vegan parsnip soup made from dumpster dived vegetables
More pictures can be found under Category:Stockholm.
In this amateur film one can see how a freegan in Stockholm found food for 440 USD:
- Student freeshop SöderS Byteshörna at Södertörn University in Flemingsberg (see map). You will find it on campus near Söders student office, see map. There are mostly books, clothes and shoes, kitchen and office stuff... Always accessable during university's open hours. See its Facebook page (in Swedish). (Last checked: Dec.2013)
- Vegetarian anarchist café called Kafé 44 (Tjärhovsgatan 46, near T-Medborgarplatsen) has a freebox (Last checked: Oct. 2011) This place has also good and cheap vegan food alternatives. You can meet many active and creative folks in this place - it is a good place to meet people to organize various freegan events.
- Rosenhills Café has a freeshop (Ge & Få butiken) at Ekerö, near buss stop Nyckelby. More info and opening hours: Rosenhill, blog (Last checked: September 2012)
- Kostnix freeshop at Lappkärrsberget (Lappis), cellar floor of Professorsslingan 39. Run by local volunteers and regularly visited by students living in the area. Open on Monday evenings 20:00-22:00. A short TV news report on Kostnix
- Swop.art has a freeshop, Saturday and Sunday 15.00-19.00 (Roslagsgatan 60). Mostly clothes, shoes and books. There might be a small fee of 40 SEK applied for enabling taking stuff. (Last checked: Feb.2011)
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You can also find some free books at most of the Stockholm libraries which have a "Readcycle" box where you can leave a book and/or take another. Libraries with such a readcycle box are:
- Akalla bibliotek
- Alviks bibliotek
- Bagarmossens bibliotek
- Björkhagens bibliotek
- Blackebergs bibliotek
- Brommaplans bibliotek
- Enskede bibliotek
- Farsta bibliotek
- Gamla stans bibliotek
- Gubbängens bibliotek
- Hagsätra bibliotek
- Hjorthagens bibliotek
- Hornstulls bibliotek
- Husby bibliotek
- Hässelby villastads bibliotek
- Högdalens bibliotek
- Internationella biblioteket (Odengatan 59)
- Kista bibliotek
- Kungsholmens bibliotek
- Luma bibliotek
- Medborgarplatsens bibliotek
- Rinkeby bibliotek
- Serafens bibliotek
- Skarpnäcks bibliotek
- Sköndals bibliotek
- Sture bibliotek
- Tensta bibliotek
- Vällingby bibliotek
- Årsta bibliotek
- Älvsjö bibliotek
- Örby bibliotek
- Östermalms bibliotek
Stockholm has a small bookcrossing community (see bookcrossing.com) and the "Official Bookcrossing Zone" is at Espresso House, Vasagatan 17. Although this coffee shop in itself is far from alternative, this means that there is a bookshelf, close to the stairways, that is full of free books. The coffee shop is close to the central station.
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Really really free market
Stockholm has lots of different kind of activists, and it is no surprise that there are "Really really free market" (RRFM) activists who once in a while organize so called "market days" where various goods and services (wanna cut your hair? etc.) are provided for free to anyone who needs it. It is based on clothing (and other items) swap - you bring something you got tired of and you give it away to those who want it, and you take someone's something else you got excited about. Such a sharing event can be organized by anyone and anytime.
Free books for everyone! (Stockholm, Sweden)
Stockholm is a green city with lots of parks. What makes it more amazing, is that it is surrounded by a diverse wildlife hiding back in ancient Scandinavian woods. These forests, despite being situated right around the biggest city in Scandinavia, contain treasures of free food that is waiting to be picked up: late spring, the summer and the first part of the autumn can give you plenty of natural, fresh and delicious vitamins and minerals - you just need to go out and pick it up. For information (in swedish) on edible plants, see skogsskafferiet.
This is the list of edible mushrooms in Sweden. Note that some edible mushrooms look very similar to those which are poisonous - you can take a mushroom and taste a bit of it to make sure if it is edible - if there is a burning feeling in the mouth, don't take it. Otherwise, the rule is: if you don't know the mushroom, never take it.
Good mushroom hunting places around Stockholm are:
- Gömmaren nature reserve
- Nacka nature reserve
- Svartsjölandet (an island on Mälaren)
- Forest around Gillingebanan
- Tyresta National Park
In shady and damp places you can often find ground-elder (Aegopodium podagraria) growing as a weed. The tender leaves can be used as spinach (see info). You can also find horseradish growing wild. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a good source of vitamin C and makes a nice spring soup, but don't forget gloves when picking it (gather only young leaves, and only from the top of the plant). Garlic mustard is often found by the roadside, and its leaves can be eaten. Dandelion is also a nutritious and edible plant.
All in Swedish unless otherwise stated.
- Dumpster diving | Freegan - ongoing documentation of dumpster diving in Stockholm, pictures+notes (in English)
- Sopdykning, en praktisk guide - a blog post, practical guide to dumpster diving
- Skräpmat: Troghetslagen - an informative blog post on juridical, ethical and other aspects of dumpster diving in Sweden
- Alternativ.nu - alternative lifestyle (live simply and consume less)
- Föreningen Sesam - grow your own food
- Tillväxt.org - Guerilla gardening (mostly for Stockholm's area)
- Gratis i Stockholm - Free Stockholm events
- Containerdykning för nybörjare - Dumpster Diving 101 in Swedish
- Frigan - Våga lev på överflödet! - Stockholm freegan collective, unites many bloggers
- Dumpster Grrl - The daily life of a dumpster diver in Stockholm. Dumpster Grrl also has a twitter-account.
- Dumpster Devil
- Friganer i Stockholm - Google group uniting Stockholm freegans: tips, discussions... (Swedish/English)
- Friganer i Stockholm (Facebook) - Facebook group uniting Stockholm freegans: organizing meetings, sharing pictures...
- Freecycle Stockholm - a mail list for giving away and receiving things for free (English/Swedish)
- Bortskänkes/Bytes/Mottages 08-området
- Utan Pengar
- Synd att Kasta
- Blocket-bortskänkes-hela Sverige