(CNN) -

For most people a trip across Europe is a chance to see the sights and sample the continent's cuisine.

Unless, like Baptiste Dubanchet, they've got their head buried in a trash can.

The Frenchman, who celebrates his 24th birthday this month, has spent the last 10 weeks dumpster diving -- eating only discarded food -- from France to Poland on a mission to highlight the issue of food waste.

"I didn't really believe I would succeed," Dubanchet told CNN by phone from Warsaw shortly after completing his 3,000-kilometer (1,900 miles) journey by bicycle.

"I thought I would probably starve for four or five days and then I would have to buy something."

Instead, Dubanchet was surprised at the abundance of discarded produce he was able to scavenge from supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants.

He was easily able to fuel himself on his epic trek through Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Along the way, the former fast food worker has learned valuable lessons about the trash habits of the different European nations he visited.

Rooting through refuse

"I'm trying to protest against the huge waste of food. It's completely absurd and pointless," says Dubanchet, who planned his trip to coincide with the European Union's declared "Year Against Food Waste."

"We're wasting really good resources -- there's so much water, energy and pollution involved in creating something that ends up in the trash. And there are millions of people starving."

Sticking to a strict rule of only eating food that had been thrown out or was destined for the trash, Dubanchet asked the permission of supermarket and restaurant staff before rooting through their refuse.

Occasionally he climbed fences to access dumpsters.

People in some countries were more understanding than others, he says.

"In the Czech Republic, it was quite difficult," he says. "People didn't really understand what the project was -- they thought I was homeless, they didn't really understand the foreigner who asked for food from the trash and all the supermarkets had it quite well locked up.

"I went for days eating mainly just bread."

Germany, he says, was the easiest country for dumpster diving, not because there was more food waste, but because people were more receptive to his mission.

"I think all the countries' waste is about the same. The supermarkets in all countries work in a similar way: the fruit and vegetables must look perfect and the ones that don't go in the trash.

"In Germany, a lot of people were supportive of the project -- sometimes at supermarkets, my request would be asked of the boss and the boss would say no. But then a guy would come back and say, 'I'm really sorry my boss says no, but wait, my boss is a jerk, so come back later and I will get you something."

Right place, right time