She’s airing corporate America’s trash online.
A New York City influencer is exposing the country’s decadent excesses by exhuming mountains of perfectly salvageable food and other goods from garbage cans in the Big Apple. Clips of her damning dumpster dives are amassing millions of views on TikTok and Instagram.
“As long as it’s made, it should be used,” Anna Sacks — who goes by “thetrashwalker” on social media — told the Guardian of her unconventional scavenger hunts, which take her everywhere from multinational giants to local Big Apple spots like a refuse-seeking Roy Chapman Andrews. Once at a trash receptacle, the 30-year-old eco-warrior sifts through the garbage pile with puncture-proof gloves in search of reusable goods, which she then loads into a shopping cart and takes home.
In her most recent video with 2.5 million views, the trash-tivist uncovers a Halloween-esque treasure trove of Twix, Snickers and other candy bars in a CVS trash can.
“It’s all past the best-buy date, but it’s like a month past,” laments the New York native on camera. “I am still going to enjoy this.”
Another CVS-cavation from March shows how the pharmacy chain deliberately ripped open perfectly good protein bars and squeezed out the contents of toothpaste tubes.
“It’s so gross that this is what they like to do, as a corporation, rather than help people,” says the garbage pail-eontologist, who boasts almost 250,000 followers on TikTok.
And it’s not just multinational corporations that are letting good-as-new items go to waste. The environmental crusader has also found edible — and expensive — fresh meals and smoothies that were discarded by Maison Kayser, Juice Press and other ritzy New York City food firms, the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, a trash walk around Upper West Side public schools over the summer uncovered Himalayan-high mounds of school supplies, unopened clothing, excess bread and less-than-a-day-old Dunkin’ Donuts confections and single-use Party City paraphernalia.
Sacks blames the trashy trend on our culture of throwing things away, which has resulted in both consumers and businesses generating obscene amounts of waste. Many retail workers are even ordered to purposefully destroy unsold or returned merchandise: One of her TikTok followers claimed that they had been told to slice up a chair with a box cutter while working at an office supply purveyor.
In order to mitigate the wasteful dystopian phenomenon, the Trashwalker advocates putting pressure on corporations to give their goods to those in need.
“The solution is not to dump it in the trash,” the human “Wall-E” told NowThis in a 2019 interview. “The solution is to donate.”
And it appears that Sacks’ campaign is paying dividends. In 2019, Sacks sent an email to Larry Merlo, the now-former CEO of CVS Pharmacy at the time, inquiring why they were throwing away items rather than contributing them, the Guardian reported. This resulted in the company getting the green light to donate items from certain manufacturers. Meanwhile, she sparked an investigation after sharing a fellow dumpster diver’s account of a live Petco parrot that had been thrown in the trash.
However, getting corporations to change their ways has proven to be an uphill battle. Last year, the plucky gal accompanied The Post on an excursion to the dumpsters of seven Manhattan Starbucks stores, which revealed that the coffee company hadn’t fulfilled its 2016 pledge to donate 100% of its unsold food by 2020.
“It’s very easy for companies to make public sustainability goals for which they receive positive press and which they highlight in their [corporate social responsibility] reports, but then not follow through with them,” Sacks told The Post.
Often, the massive size of the companies makes it logistically difficult to coordinate and donate recycling efforts.
At the very least, Sacks hopes her refuse forensics will inspire people to be more mindful about the amounts of waste they produce.