Friday, June 26, 2015

Dumpster Diving

This weeks topic on Dumpster Diving came about after seeing it pop up on numerous dumpster searches.  We do not condone dumpster diving nor is this any sort of recommendation around it, this article is just a review of some of the interesting and funny things we found about the topic on the internet.

Why do people dumpster dive?  Is it sport, fun, hobby, to live?  There are many reasons, but often it is about reducing the cost of living.  Reducing the cost of living comes in many forms ~ homesteading, collecting cans, dump pickin' and dumpster diving among them. Dump pickin' is pretty much obsolete since municipalities created landfills, although if you watch Alaskan Bush People, they still have a dump they can go to and find what was one persons junk, but still has a use for another.   Homesteading is a challenging lifestyle, and collecting cans consumes lots of time for a small return.  That leaves the 21st century version of trash-to-treasure aka dumpster diving.

To some, it's an occasional outing, to others a bona fide hobby and then there are freegans who use most of what they get and those who make a living [at some level] on repairing and selling dumpster finds.   Many share and consume reject food items like packaged foods with expired "sell by" dates. And, like every other pastime, there are networks, blogs and group associations.  Check out

One aspect of paramount importance is the law with regard to trespassing, environmental concerns, invasion of privacy and theft.  For example, it is illegal (also dangerous) to enter a construction site dumpster where you might see one of Bin There Dump That dumpster rentals around Tampa.  Once you've cleared that legal hurdle and understand what you can and can not do, figure out what you want and where to go for it.  Learn trash pick up days and annual or semi-annual special trash collections in different neighborhoods.

For food items, check with grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries.  Furniture and electronics might be found next to trash cans following a yard sale or moving day.  In Clearwater, Thursdays is "bulky" day pick up, you can often find great items such as patio furniture on the roadside waiting for collection.  College apartment complexes are a wealth of treasure at the end of the semester when most move-outs take place. 

There are health risks along with the legal issues in dumpster diving.  When doing some research for this blog, we found an article of Wiki has a 15 tips on dumpster diving,  Here are some other helpful tips that were out there on the web as well.
    • Know & OBEY the laws!  
    • Wear old clothes
    • Remove jewelry
    • Think about protective gear like gloves, glasses, etc
    • Pound the side of the dumpster first to alert rodents & critters inside
    • Don't dig through with your hands, there might be sharp or broken glass
    • Don't leave the area a mess
    • Clean anything you find
    • Bring a first aid kit
    • Never take & reuse any baby items
    • Never enter a dumpster that has a compactor
    • Don't actually "jump" into it, that is a hypothetical term
    • Do not trespass 

Keep in mind that trash trucks may come any time.  They are big and noisy, and no one will hear you shouting from inside as it grabs the dumpster.  In many cases, the skill of the dumpster pick up drivers is amazing and they move quickly and swiftly completing their job.  Remember, know the laws and take precautions to be safe.   We do not recommend ever going into a dumpster, this blog was just for fun!


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