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Living off a landfill

Find out how four people coped with the ultimate challenge: surviving on a man-made dumpsite for three weeks

Aimed to highlight the Uk’s mountain of waste, Channel 4 show Dumped, presented by Rob Holdway, put 11 people to the test in a three-week challenge to live on a dumpsite.

The programme was filmed at the Beddington Farm landfill and recycling site, near Croydon.

Ranging in age from their teens to their 40s, the volunteers were an eclectic group with some real eco-warriors to the materialistic.

The show
About 1,000 tonnes of rubbish was used to build the set, and after this,
a dumper truck arrived on most days for the volunteers to sift through for useful items. There were no evictions and contestants were free to leave at any point. A reward of £20,000 was shared between those who stuck it out to the bitter end.

The volunteers were provided with a mixture of badly packaged food, food that supermarkets would usually throw out at the end of a working day, and £424 worth of other food – the amount an average household would throw out in a year. It was all meant for shock value.

They did have access to clean water, though – a drinking water tank on site allowed them to fill jerry cans and take back to camp.


‘After Dumped, I lobbied supermarkets and sent their excess packaging back to them’
Selena Lethbridge-Carr, 48, is a personal trainer and lives on a boat on the Thames. She is a practical woman who brought great survival training to the experience.

‘Before Dumped, I lived on my boat, used a four-wheel drive as I towed a horse trailer and I didn’t go on holiday very often. I’ve always been very aware of recycling, including clothes, materials and shoes, and have been doing so for a long time. I was very influenced by my mum when growing up, and she taught me not to waste things.
‘I’m always very willing to learn new things and have done many challenges in the past, such as parachuting, flying, motor biking, survival training, climbing, hiking and so on, but appreciate they were all selfish, thrill-seeking pursuits.

‘I applied to the show through an ad on the internet because I thought it would be a great experience.
‘I had no idea what the show was about when I applied. I met the other 10 volunteers the night before and we spent breakfast speculating about where we would all be going on our eco-challenge. When we got off the coach, some hours later, we’d arrived at a landfill site in Croydon, and I just laughed. It didn’t faze me at all – I have a very positive attitude and thought

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