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"Dumpster Diving"...have you ever done it?

Poll Results: Have you ever gone "dumpster diving" (searching trash for food/useable goods)?

  • 11% (7)
    No, I'd never do such a thing!
  • 14% (9)
    No, but I'd consider it.
  • 0% (0)
    Yes, because I felt I needed to (food, basic needs)
  • 73% (45)
    Yes, why not? People throw away all kinds of great stuff!
61 Total Votes  
post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Have you ever gone "dumpster diving" ? It's something I've been thinking about lately, and I was just curious if anyone here had any experience? Did you do it for food or "stuff"? And stuff to sell, or stuff that you needed/could use?

I'm not sure if I could ever get up the nerve to do it. It seems like an interesting way to make a little extra cash, or find useful things though. There are a ton of newsgroups and websites devoted to it.
post #2 of 26
in my days before kids i did a lot of dumpster diving.. i lived in "punk"houses with lots of room mates and we would all ride our bikes go to all of the dumpsters around town mostly every day.. there was a tofu dumpster and a veggie dumpster and the co-op dumpster and the bread dumpster and the doughnut dumpster and the bagel dumpster.. truly we hardly bought any food at all..there was even a celtic organic spelt bakery that would leave us stuff outside of the dumpster in a box.. most of the time people didnt mind us doing what we were doing.. partly we did it because we were poor but also in protest to the huge amount of great food that was being thrown out. its amazing and shocking and sick what gets thrown out daily.. my partner and i dumpster dived hundreds of bags of organic rice ( short and long grain brown, basmati..ect) last year that people we know ( including us) are still eating.. it was thrown out because of suspicion of bugs.. but we only ever found bugs in one bag.. very noticable.. at the same time we dumpstered about 10 bars of organic chocolate and a bunch of other yuumy stuff..
i dont personally D dive much anymore.. mostly because i just dont have the energy.. elwynns pappa still does and brings us food lots.. cases of soymilk or rice milk, bread, produce.. but there are still tons of kids around the city who live very good healthy lives without much money because they eat what others throw away.. its not garbage..people are just too greedy to give it away or too lazy. its so sad.

we also d dive for other stuff.. household items and things.. it is amazing what people throw away..

we like the "Free box" idea.. we have a box with stuff we dont need and leave it out and people take what they want.. lots of other folks in our community do it as well.. its kinda nicer than looking through the garbage..
post #3 of 26
I voted yes.. but not truly "dumpster" diving. In the days before Freecycle I got a bunch of good stuff on trash night. A desk, bookcases, all sorts of furniture. A coat of paint or a sand and some stain and it was as good as new.
post #4 of 26
post #5 of 26
I've gone dumpster diving a few times...had great luck behind a Pier One and also behind a wallpaper store (my MIL still has up the border I got for her, lol).

I once got a dresser out of an apartment dumpster...and a box of EC girls clothing (much of which I kept and is now clothing my new dd ). Hrmmm...

I love dumpster diving, just wish there were more dumpsters around here that were diveable (most have compactors).
post #6 of 26
I've never gotten food, but I definitely get stuff that others have put out for the trash... including a suitcase and a couple really nice wooden toddler chairs recently. Pre-decorated with marker, too! The preschool down the street threw out about a dozen toddler chairs when they got new ones, and dh grabbed a couple, then told a friend in our building, so now we know at least three families with a couple of them! :LOL
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
I've noticed that many of the stores in my area have their dumpsters behind locked fences. Also, I don't know if it's legal here (what I read online said it's legal most places, but not all). I'm not sure how to find out. As a mama I'm really hesitant to do anything that could get me arrested. But money is tight (obviously, right - I am on the frugality & finances board ), and if I could find stuff that would help us out (stuff to use, stuff to sell, food) that would be cool. My DH is hesitant about the idea but hasn't been able to express why. He's completely supportive of homeless people doing it (and gets angry with laws that make it more difficult for homeless and/or poverty striken people to get by - such as ones that outlaw dumster diving), but doesn't think we should do it.
post #8 of 26
Yes! If you live near a college, they put out dumpsters for the kids at end of term and boy do they throw away the new stuff. Stuff mom and dad payed for I'm sure.

It's funny, tons of mops and brooms never used! I've found cd's, skis, parka's, notebooks filled with unused paper, books, good rugs, clothes, art supplies, a pack of 200 new glow sticks, beds, you name it. I work at the affordable housing so most of it goes to them since I'm pretty set but I do snake anything arty to use for projects and the kids I work with.

We get some weird and sympathetic looks especially because dh and I are with our 7 and 8 year olds and they are diggin right along side us but we are past that now.

I think it's a great idea to wear really good hard soul boots and gloves because you never know if a junky might throw in a needle or two. Yuck!
post #9 of 26
All the time...

I go to apartments near colleges on lease-ending day and pick up textbooks, usually I sell them online for over $100. I get other stuff, too - furniture, clothes, cleaning supplies...

I got most of the furniture in my house from Bulky Trash Pickup day in nice neighborhoods.

Our upstairs neighbors moved out this past weekend, after living there for 15 years. I scooped a great leather jacket from a bag on top of the trash heap in the dumpster, fits me perfectly and in great shape. I also got a nice, like-new set of fireplace tools out of there, a small wooden shelving unit, and a great black cape for Rain.

Dumpster diving rocks

post #10 of 26
Have dumster dived all my life :LOL just for stuff never food.

All sorts of neat things we have gotten out of dumpsters
post #11 of 26
We go roadside shopping on trash day.

Got a little tikes climber, rocking chair, picnic table, kids lawn chair, exersaucer/toddler table combo, turtle sandbox, and more that way!

post #12 of 26
Yes, and I had a very disgusting experience and will never do it again.

I do agree with this however

In fact, at the last apartment complex we lived in, if we were throwing away things that were still in good condition, we'd just leave them next to the dumpsters so that the divers could see/get them easily! They were always gone well before the dumpsters were emptied.
post #13 of 26
Yep, I dumpster dive/garbage pick all the time. Have gotten most of my furnishings that way (including my LR carpet!)

When I was a kid, my parents/grandpa did it to keep food on the table too. They had a system worked out (grandpa even knew the manager at one store and knew what times the stuff got pitched). We were in heaven one time with all the "expired" Halloween candy.
post #14 of 26

I said yes but...

I've never gone inside a dumpster. Our town picks up anything on trash day. They also have 2 special bulk trash days just for big stuff.

There are lots of college students here so you can get good stuff even though a local charity is trying to collect the really good furniture etc.

The owners of the rental house next door put out a whole bunch of furniture so I scored a lot of good stuff.
post #15 of 26
When I was a kid and I lived with my grandmother we dumpster dived all the time. Initially we started doing it because we had a farm and the grocery stores let us take the leftover home for our pigs. They knew we were there, and we'd climb in the dumpsters and haul out cases and boxes of food.

When we got it home however we were shocked at the food! It wasn't rotten, or buggy, or nasty. It was perfectly fine! And awesome food too. All wrapped up in boxes and never opened. Stuff we probably couldn't have afforded, like the organic stuff. Thats when we started eating it. Stuff we didn't want went to the animals, and we lived a pretty good life food wise for quite awhile. Though I can't eat a Nutty Butty bar to this day because we had so many cases of them I got sick. :LOL

Its funny, they even threw away flowers from the floral sections that were perfectly good. For that year we had flowers on the dining room table every single day.

I don't dumpster dive for food anymore, mostly because I don't think you can. All the dumpsters around here are fenced in and locked with big signs saying no tresspassing on them. But I use Freecycle a lot, and if I see something on the side of the road, or even at the dump that is salavagable.. I'll snag it. Why not?
post #16 of 26
We have a free box in my community where people leave their still-useful items--books, clothing, furniture, computers, toys, unopened food. Frequently when I give tours I like to say, "And everything I'm wearing is from our Free Box--including my underwear!"
post #17 of 26
I've never climbed inside a dumpser, but my ex has- he'd bring home all sorts of junk he got from dumpsters, put out by the curb, etc. He got some great stuff that way- a sturdy desk, some clothes, etc. The only problem was that he didn't know when to stop!! How many broken lamps (that nobody ever gets around to fixing) does one family really need?
post #18 of 26
Ok, momtwice, what was it? A dead person? You've got me curious now.
post #19 of 26
I call it scavenging. I've got lots of stuff scavenged...books, furniture, some clothing. I've never scavenged for food to eat; however, I have been known to pick up dry and not leaking bags of veggiescraps from outside groceries to take to the local community garden to add to their compost.

I also run my car on veggie oil...used when I can get it.

You want disgusting? You ought to see the condition of the waste oil containers at many restaurants. Using a oil suction pump nozzle carefully enough to avoid the floating rats, etc. is a special skill.

One place I lived had a whole-evening, neighborhood social event around Big Garbage Night. People would put out what they didn't need, walk around and look at what others were getting rid of, comment on it, and frequently take something home. All ages, all classes. Some people would go to other neighborhoods for different kinds/quality of things. I got a really interesting pair of legs/supports for a glass or wood table top (coffee table height). They were made out of iron and looked something like rustic andirons. I guess the top had broken. And then there was the antique sewing machine legs/treadle that I topped with a piece of marble that had also come off the street that had some stains and was really worn. A little lemon juice and super fine steel wool took care of that.
post #20 of 26
My husband and I do this a lot...when we had friends that were into it, it was a big event, haha. Dumpster diving is how we got a brand new in the box baby gate, and a new box fan. We've found tons of stuff...a good toolbox, books, clothes, food (the only kind of food I'll consider when diving is produce and baked stuff, like bread, or canned stuff), art supplies, furniture... We even found huge boxes of un-expired, sealed condoms, LOL...that was at Big Lots. You find all sorts of interesting things while DDing! Craft and home decorating stores usually have good things. And if you're short on $, there's often stuff you can find to eBay.
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