Who, What, When, Where and Why?
by Nikki Willhite
Dumpster Diving is not for everyone.
However, Dumpster Diving has become very popular, and is considered a great resource by
many people. We live in a time of excess and waste, and I don't think we should
look down on those who find a way to use discarded items.
When we moved a few years ago, we found a store that didn't crush all their boxes, and spent a month checking their
dumpster every day for boxes that we could use in our move. That dumpster served us well!
I decided to do some research on this latest
craze of Dumpster Diving. Here are some things I found out.
Dumpster Divers are people who search for
things that other people have thrown out that are still useful, can be recycled,
and have value. Dumpster Divers will not only pick up discarded items left at
the curbside of people's homes, but they will climb into dumpsters at apartment
buildings and behind shopping centers.
However! Most don't actually get in the bins.
Most people have some sort of long pole which allows them to just lean over the
dumpster and pull the items up to them. People enjoy this hobby. It's like a
If you think about it, at one time or another
we've all been lazy and thrown away something that we could have given to
Goodwill or recycled. If we've done it, think about the people who don't watch
their finances carefully. They are throwing away things right and left!
Dumpster Diving can also be profitable. You
can make money with everything from aluminum cans to items that can be resold at
garage sales. People have been known to give up their day jobs to do this!
Many interesting and unexpected items can be
found when diving. Here are some of the more common:
Food: Meat, Pastry and Fruit and Vegetables are the most
common stale our dated food put in dumpsters.
Outdated inexpensive items, from dishes to greeting cards.
They are too much trouble for the store to return.
Telephones and Answering Machines, Televisions, VCRs and Radios, Vacuum Cleaners, Power Tools,
Lawn Mowers, and bicycles.
If you are going in the evening, you are
going to need something to light up the dumpster. Some people carry a small
flashlight. They attach a cord to it, and then hold it in their teeth to keep
their hands free. Others wear a headlamp. You can find them at reasonable prices
in the bike area of discount stores.
You need something to pull stuff to you, like
a pole with a hook at the end. A hoe will also work. You can buy long
poles that will pick up a quarter in the corner of an empty dumpster.
A stepping stool will help you
reach over the top.
You will need large and small plastic bags to collect items.
Duct tape is useful for bags that spilit open.
Wet wipes and anti-bacterial soup
are used to clean hands when done.
Bring basic first aid kit, in case you
Never climb into a Dumpster with Medical and Hazardous Waste. Anyone can throw out a needle that could
jab you. Wear protective clothing.
Lids that suddenly slam shut when windy.
Icky stuff- like dead animals.
Legal Implications- Make sure that there are no ordinances that make this activity illegal in your area.
Apartment buildings where people move often and leave stuff behind.
Dumpsters behind stores that sell merchandise you are interested in.
Don't go behind a closed fence to
reach a dumpster.
Don't leave a mess. Leave the
dumpster better than you found it so those who enjoy this hobby can
Don't take paperwork with people's confidential records.
Take only what you can use, and leave the rest for someone else.
Here is a website by a real pro:
The Dumpster Lady
Maybe next time you go by
someone engaged in this hobby, instead of looking the other way, you might
ask them if they found anything good today?
About the Author: Nikki Willhite,
mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing
articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at
www.frugalhappyfamilies.com- where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal
Happy Families- more than just money!