Dumpster Diving

Posted by: jilly

Dumpster Diving - 02/11/10 09:44 PM

I just read a wonderful book on essays from people who do extreme recycling and dumpster diving.

SO here is my question: have you ever taken anything out of a dumpster? How would you feel if you got 'caught'?

I will start: sometimes I grab recyclables from dumpsters and recycle them. Like if a ton of cardboard boxes are in there, or a bag of cans. Usually there is a recycling bin right there and all I have to do is take a second to move things a bit.

Sometimes I see actual goodies in there, which makes me feel confused. Like once I saw FOUR whole unopened bags of Wee Wee pads. Those things, for dogs, are not cheap. I looked around to see if anyone saw me and reached in and grabbed two of them. I figured I would grab the other two as I walked by next time, since i needed a stick to grab those.

Unfortunately, when I came back the other two bags were totally buried by a whole dump load of landscape waste. I still feel badly about this. If I had not let me pride get ahead of me I would have had two more bags of expensive wee wee pads, and also kept something useful out of the waste stream.

It is much easier to take things when people kindly leave them outside the dumpster (like RV lawn chairs - I have gotten about six really nice ones that way and many other useful things). But i feel embarrassed to actually reach in and root around.

I don't want to have to feel that way. I want to feel pleased to be helping the planet. Yet there is a stigma.

What do others do when you see nice things in and around dumpsters?
Posted by: BLR

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/11/10 10:21 PM

Personally I do not feel there is a stigma to taking things out of the trash. One mans trash another mans treasure. I always feel good when someone picks something out of my trash. I put my trash out a day early if there is something in it that someone might be able to use.

I have knocked on the door and asked if it was ok to take something that is out for the trash.

Jilly, you should not worry yourself one bit about taking anything out of the trash.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/11/10 10:42 PM

LOL, I got yelled at once in Prescott, AZ, for taking a broom and wicker rocking chair out of someone's trash once. I felt a lot of shame for being yelled at. I still don't know why they would even care. Mean people. frown

At one point in college I used to go to the Safeway Dumpsters at night and take food for me and my roommates. Entire good packages of food, loaves of bread, slightly wilted veggies...all would be tossed. We ate like kings for free. We had to set a lookout for cops, though.

Posted by: BLR

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/12/10 12:33 AM

Isn't it funny that we are about our trash the same way we are about our ex's. We can throw it away, but no one else had better try to pick it up. grin
Posted by: 428pm

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/12/10 02:07 AM

lol, so true about ex's....

I am a single working mom, so yea, I 'dumpster dive' sometimes. I live in an apt. and there is an industrial dumpster out back. I dotn go through the "Soft" garbage, but I do go over every day and check for some things. From this I have gotten:

-a solid oak coffee table that had numerous cigarette burns and stains, I paid #30 at canadian tire for some stripper and varnish and refinished it.

-a fishtank stand. Thrown out with a broken tank, I just nabbed the stand for my numerous tanks.

-a small cubby table on wheels. I use it for a side table, with a cloth over it, it matches, looks unique, and provides storage space in the living room.

-An ikea desk, with a broken cross bar. I fixed the bar, and have a great desk.

-a solid wood bookcase with a warped shelf. I pulled out the shelf with a sledgehammer (OMG FUN!) and replaced it. Reifnished the entire thign, and voila!

-A small bookcase with stains in the finish. Refinished it and yay! Matching coffee table and bookcases smile

Thats about it for me smile
Posted by: BLR

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/12/10 03:35 AM

I picked up so much stuff in my daughters neighborhood when we went on our walks, that she said we could not walk on trash day anymore.
Posted by: Niki

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/12/10 10:52 PM

I can't. I won't even take a can out of the garbage. To me, if it touches the garbage, it's gone to me forever. I used to get furious and embarrassed by my father-in-law picking through their garbage for things I threw away that were recyclable.

Which is embarrassing in itself, my shame and disgust. We waste an incredible amount of items, us first world country citizens. Anyone watched The Book of Eli and remember what he said about how we threw away items that they were killing each other for? I can imagine that would be true if ever a world catastrophe happened.

When I lived in the city, this was only exemplified. There were people we called "bottle bums" who made a living out of dumpster diving for cans. They walked around town with a shopping cart and would load them up.
Posted by: cyberbud

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/12/10 11:18 PM

I never miss a walk on trash night, especially in the summer. We once found a pair of great speakers!

Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Dumpster Diving - 02/15/10 07:13 AM

Niki -

You talked in another thread about finding aspects of yourself and working on them. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity! You know how valuable it is to recycle and cleanse your trash stream. Examine in your mind - why would you not remove something from your trash stream? What are the concerns you have? Germs?
Posted by: jilly

Re: Dumpster Diving - 03/23/10 12:48 AM

Some neighbors moved out last week and left behind various bins for pickup when they left. I went and grabbed the recyclables (and recycled them properly) and also got a few goodies that I could use - some plastic file containers with lids, some clothes that I brought to the thrift store, a new container of catsup, a laundry hamper and some wood they we are using to build shelves in the RV.
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Dumpster Diving - 03/27/10 05:30 AM

That's awesome Jilly! You helped to ensure the items were used in the best way possible!