Dumpster Diving or Just Another Freegan Hub!
Now here’s a hub I never thought I’d write, but this had to be done. Last week I sat at the table of a very affluent couple discussing their pension for dumpster diving. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This couple made frequent trips around town checking out dumpsters and they were finding some really good stuff! They toured me around their home looking at floor lamps, office equipment, even laptops they’d pulled out of dumpsters. My thought was “why would anyone through this stuff away!”
I’m not unfamiliar with the principals behind dumpster diving. When I was a kid my mother would take us to the landfill every Saturday to see what was good at the dump. You’d pull in with your garbage, or what you thought was garbage and all the neighbors would come over and go through it. The trash made its way to the garbage pit and the rest was either toted away or put in a pile for someone else to go through. Inevitably we’d come home with a trunk full of stuff from the dump. Whether it be pickle jars we’d use to make chick waterers or a bike that someone outgrew, we would always come home with something. Then in the evening we’d pop some corn and head back to the dump to watch the bears. Now I sound like a redneck don’t I. We didn’t have a theater to go to so we had to do something and it was free.
Today you can’t pick threw most landfills, nor would you want to, but dumpsters are fare game in most cities. From the research I’ve done on the subject there are a lot of people out there taking advantage of the free items in the giant metal receptacles. MY brother-in-law dumpsters dives around the local college campus looking for free household items. He’s always bragging about the lamp he found or even the clothing he pulled from the jaws of the dumpster. Why not………..it’s free!
Today an entire subculture has evolved around dumpster diving. They call themselves “freegans”. The freegan philosophy is that in this disposable society one can live off the land via dumpster diving. Not only do these folks pull clothing and household items out of the dumpsters, they also retrieve food! Yes I said food. Now I’ve done some things I’m not proud off trying to be frugal, but I have never pulled food out of a dumpster. I did meet a man once who went behind the local grocery store the day after Thanksgiving and pulled dozens of frozen turkeys out of the dumpster. He did this every year.
Quite often a store will realize that there is no way they can sell all of a perishable item before its expiration date so instead of dropping the price they throw the item away. To me and you that seems ridiculous, but to the business owner they’d rather dispose of an item than have their customers remember that low price for the next twelve months. Freegans love this as now they have more free goods to scavenge.
Here are some pointers I’ve learned about dumpster diving from those in the know. If you are dumpster diving around apartment or housing complexes the first of the month is a great time to dive. A lot of people move around the first of the month and what tenants can’t take with them goes in the dumpster. Similarly, the end of school is a great time to dumpster dive in campuses. Many students throw out what they can’t take with them. From what I understand students throw out computers, furniture, clothing, mini-fridges, anything that won’t fit in their car when they leave. Grocers dump their produce each night while department stores may dump at any time. As you can see good dumpster diving is all about timing!
Another time to consider is spring and fall cleanups. Many cities offer these in an effort to clean up their town. Anything and everything hits the curb during these cleanups. I put a wheel barrow with a broken handle and holey tub on the curb one year. The next morning I looked and the tire was gone. I went down the road and brought home a grill. It wasn’t pretty, but it cooked just fine.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Dumpster Diving Poll
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