Ranae eating out of a box she found in a dumpster. MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott

By Liana Jacob


MEET THE quirky choreographer who once lived in a car for TWO YEARS and now saves money by diving into bins for food in order to fulfil her dream of travelling around the world in a van.


Dance and yoga instructor, Ranae Scott (30), from California, USA, has always lived an adventurous lifestyle and decided to devote herself to rock climbing full-time in 2015 by living out of a vehicle for two years before she met her now-husband, Yoav.

Ranae pictured getting out of a dumpster.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


In June 2015, Ranae was introduced to dumpster-diving; the salvaging of waste in large bins to find potentially useful items that have been discarded.


They have since upgraded their ‘house’ to a van. Ranae has travelled to over ten states since living out of a vehicle, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, California, Nevada, Illinois, Kentucky and Texas.

Ranae eating out of a dumpster (2).
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


Since she has picked up this lifestyle, she has become more aware of the dangers that waste has had on the environment. As well as trying to help the planet, Ranae’s new hobby means that she has saved roughly £120 to £160 ($150 to $200) a month on food alone.


Her frugal way of living has helped her focus her attention and savings on travelling and participating in various outdoor activities.

Ranae eating out of a dumpster.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“For the past three years, I’ve lived out of a vehicle; two years in a Honda, before I met my husband, Yoav. We’ve since upgraded to a larger van to comfortably fit two and allow for cooking inside,” Ranae said.


“We’ve lived this way so that we can travel around, and rock climb/play/exist in outdoor spaces and have the ability to switch up our locale every few months without a hitch.

Ranae eating out of a dumpster (3).
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“When I first started living in my car, so I could devote myself to rock climbing full-time, I met some cool like-minded people that told me about dumpster diving.


“I’ve never been a germaphobe, and I highly value resourcefulness, so it was easy for them to convert me.

An external shot of their van-house.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“Obviously it’s important to balance out work with appropriate spending habits, and I wanted to stretch my savings.


“But as soon as I discovered not only how easy dumpster diving can be, but how much perfectly good food is constantly wasted, I made it a personal necessity.

An external shot of their van-house (2).
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“I became compelled to dive; not just to save money, but as a sort of ethical stance. Why should I buy food when so much is on its way to the landfill? Why don’t I do everyone a favour (including myself), and lighten those bins a bit?


“A lot of what I find in the dumpster I’d never buy in the first place, as they’re too expensive, but the value of what I save is in the few hundreds range for food alone.

Ranae pictured poking her head out of a dumpster.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“I think the important thing to remember is you’re not going to save the world alone, and you need to make it sustainable.


“So, dive when you can and shop when you can’t, or want something the dumpster gods didn’t provide.”

Yoav pictured eating a sandwich out of a dumpster.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


Ranae explains that she dumpster dives to eat, cook and share food that has been wasted and by sharing her journey on social media, she wants to encourage her followers to dive too.


“It’s made me more aware of waste, as well as our society’s misconceptions about food safety and how wasteful these misconceptions encourage many people to be,” she said.

Ranae pictured lying in a dumpster.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“It’s made me poignantly aware of the overarching impact of materialism, and the detriment of living in a society where dietary fads and pseudo-ethical eating practices force grocers and businesses to waste far more.


“I hope it encourages more people to dive and demonstrate how capitalism wastes. I also wanted to call out and hold notorious companies more accountable for their waste.

A BBQ pictured made out of dumpster food.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“That way they will hopefully implement easy changes, such as introducing mark-downs on near-expiration items, donating, or even having a ‘free’ bin in their shop with ugly produce, or other ‘unsellable’ items.


“I want people to be more aware of how societal norms that are in no way normal, like getting rid of perfectly edible food, are drastically detrimental to our world and well-being.

Ranae sitting in her van house.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“I want to show how ethics aren’t simple and should always be questioned/re-defined. There’s no black and white rule that works and saves the world.


“Veganism, for instance; why not animal products from the dumpster? The animal has already been slaughtered, and completely in vain if not consumed.

Ranae cooking in her make-shift van house.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


“I’m not condoning eating meat over not; I’m condoning eating garbage over packaged, distributed and branded foods that aren’t actual foods.”

Ranae holding boxes of food they salvaged out of dumpsters.
MDWfeatures / Ranae Scott


For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/ranaeskee/