Who is Anna Sacks? NY activist rifles through supermarket trash, 'shames' for throwing usable items
New York activist Anna Sacks has become the new internet sensation for being a 'trashwalker' — one who rifles through the trash from supermarkets and retail chain stores to find useful items. She is known for 'shaming' the stores for dumping usable food, medical supplies, furniture, or clothes. Sacks had gained popularity on Instagram and TikTok for roaming across Manhattan since 2008, sifting through garbage bags.
She regularly posts videos of herself in action, often scourging through mountains of unopened food or sealed, unused products from stores. Her motto appears to be raising awareness about waste management and how the public can go effectively zero-waste. Earlier, Sacks gained a lot of limelight for targetting the fashion brand Coach, who dumped their expensive last season shoes and even slashed a luxury bag to stop anyone from taking it after being discarded. She has targetted major corporations like Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and Party City, as well as upmarket stores like Maison Kayser or Juice Press.
Anna Sacks currently has over 40,000 followers on her Instagram and more than 2,43,000 followers on TikTok. In a bid to escalate her efforts, last year she asked her followers working in retail whether they get instructions to destroy unsold merchandise. To everyone's surprise, users responded confirming her assumption and even shared incidents where they had to purposefully destroy perfectly good items which went unsold.
Anna Sacks aims to highlight how large retail chains nonchalantly throw away edible food, hygiene products, medical supplies, personal care items, and others, to make room for newer products on the shelves. These items, which are perfectly usable, only add to the waste burden of the city. She has targetted the retailer CVS several times, for their habitual disposal of heaps of unsold items.
According to her philosophy, unopened cans of food or candies can be donated instead of being disposed of in the garbage. In some of her videos, Sacks even rummaged through the trash of NYC public schools to discover school supplies, unopened foods, and clothes. "You have these goods you don't want. The solution is not to dump it in the trash. The solution is to donate," she said in a 2019 interview.
Though Anna Sacks admit that it is difficult for her alone to coordinate mass scale donate or recycling efforts, she hopes her 'trash walks' prompt people to rethink about the waste they are generating.