Dumpster Diving?


Ever since I was a little person, I have been fascinated with abandoned goods found in or near dumpsters. I used to collect magazines, old pictures, and random plastic containers for the “office” my friends and I “worked” at. We had our little card board desks hidden away in the bushes and spent hours going through papers (it’s amazing how many people don’t shred their confidential documents!).

These days you won’t find me hanging out in random suburban bushes, but I am still very much interested in free treasures other people call trash. Now, I’ve tried a little “trash can diving” at the local library and thus far have found an unopened bag of gummy bears, a chap stick ball that makes for a great pill container, and lots of newspapers and magazines. Another great venue for freebies is the student center! During the evening, the event management typically isn’t too worried about cleaning up quickly. This allows me to enjoy buffets filled with fruit, bread, salad, cheese, crackers, and have some lemonade, iced tea, or soda to go with it. Sometimes, I even get a full dinner for free.

I am very much into recycling and reusing items. 99% of my clothes come from Goodwill, which is a massive second hand clothing store here in the U.S. I collect all my recyclables and take them to my relatives who have contracts with recycle companies. I am not afraid to reheat the pizza nobody wants and in general, my co-workers know they better not be throwing out food without asking me first. I actually do wear my clothes until they are dirty or smelly and squeeze the rest out of abandoned shampoo containers at the gym. I walk several miles every day, which keeps my vehicle off the street and is good for my health. Not only do I enjoy making a small but nevertheless positive impact on nature by reducing my consumption and waste, I also save an average of $800 every month compared to others who live in the same area.

I want to make the jump from a small scale opportunist trash can diver to a full blown dumpster diver. Really, dumpster diving appears to be the next logical step. However, I am not sure where and how to start. There isn’t much information online and I don’t know anyone personally who could get me started. This is why I am asking you, my fellow hobos and free spirits, to please comment the living heck out of this post if you have any experience in the field or know of any useful websites.

Take care and keep your insanity!

10 thoughts on “Dumpster Diving?

  1. I don’t know the law in the States, but here in the UK it’s illegal to take items out of skips; even though it’s put out as waste it’s considered as theft of property!
    I’ve seen people returning from ‘skipping’ (dumpster diving) and it can be a particularly smelly and filthy occupation, so you will need extra clothes and take more frequent showers!
    Take care and happy hunting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL – i’ve done some of those things in the past myself and have little doubt that i’ll be back in those trash cans again soon! Upgrading to full fledged Dumpster Diver isn’t a hard thing to do, and it’s often cleaner too! We’ve fed our dogs on pet store trash and they love it too!

    The only down side is police/security and many places lock their dumpsters these days.

    BTW, we PressThis to our Occupy Homeless blog and will share from there.. hope you get some new followers 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What do you think might be in a dumpster that might interest/be useful to you?

    I once caught a Middle Eastern girl putting an antique Persian rug out with the trash (This was in 1977). I asked her why she was doing that and she said it had bad memories for her. I said, since it doesn’t have any memories for me, do you mind if I take it?

    A year later I sold it to a gallery for about a tenth of what it was worth, but it paid my way to Chicago to start my undergrad degree. If I had been smarter, it would have paid my tuition, too. People throw stuff out for all sorts of reasons. I’ll be interested to hear what you find!

    Liked by 1 person

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