What is Dumpster Diving?

I recently heard the term "dumpster divers". I think it has something to do with getting department store throw-aways. I'm not sure. I hope this is legal. Can anyone explain? Thanks. Curious.

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By AnnG from NY

July 5, 20110 found this helpful
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I am sure you have seen those big metal containers that people toss their trash into. Usually you see them behind businesses. Dumpster divers are people who go into these dumpsters and look for usefull items they can salvage.

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful
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Any large trash receptical is a dumpster. There are several types and they are usually blue or green. Someone who climbs into a dumpster to find things of possible use or value is a dumpster diver.

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful
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True story: The only experience that I have had with "dumpster diving" was about 20 years ago. A co-worker and I were coming back to the office after lunch, and we noticed the dumpster on our back parking lot was full of scrap lumber and other debris that someone had dumped into it. There was an almost complete roll of wallpaper sticking out. My friend had just closed on her house the week before and she was curious to see what treasure she could find. She didn't actually get into the dumpster, but we went inside and got a stool or a chair (can't remember which) and she started looking to see what she could find. She got enough wallpaper rolls, some of which had not been opened, to redo the wallpaper in her kitchen, bathroom, her son's room, and the guest room. The designs were all different and very nice. Maybe they weren't exactly what she would have picked, but she could live with them. She saved a lot of money on that "treasure hunt". Not all dumpster diving is that successful, but that one sure was.

Margaret from Denton, Texas

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Yes it is legal. Once someone throws something into the garbage (dumpster) it is up for grabs by anyone. That is why police can go through a persons garbage for 'evidence' without a warrant. Once in the garbage the former owner has effectively said I don't want it, you can have it.

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Anonymous Flag
July 6, 20110 found this helpful
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What dumpster diving is has already been explained but as for the legality; you need to check your own local and state laws because the rules vary. For example: Some cities/counties/states do not allow it if the dumpster is located on private property and that would include regular household trash cans not yet placed curbside.

Should you decide to dumpster dive please resist taking items such as fabric chairs, sofa's, pillows, mattresses, etc. because they may contain any number of types of insects or rodents and their 'droppings'. Other fabrics such as clothing, towels, sheets, etc should be immediately placed in the washing machine and washed in soap and hot water and vinegar rinse. Any other items should be washed/wiped well with some sort of disinfectant appropriate for the material before being brought into your home.

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful
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Dumpster Diving: The act of climbing in a dumpster to obtain someone else's trash or the act of picking up someone else's trash. Be careful climbing in dumpsters though as people throw away broken glass or worse insulin needles. You don't want to get picked by a needle by someone who has a disease.

I have picked up a lot of nice stuff though. I have got a lot of wood for craft projects just by picking up old doors or dressers from the garbage. I have also found a lot of stuff that can be reused or sold. I found magazines that were brand new. People read them once and then throw them out. I found an old bicycle basket. Twice I found kitchen tables. Once I even found an ab lounger. There was nothing wrong with it. I assumed the person that had it threw it away because it was big, or collecting dust and just got sick of it.

I have not done this one myself but have read about it. One man got his weekly groceries by getting them out of a grocery store's dumpster. Many stores throw away stuff that is perfectly good such as apples but they cannot keep them because of the "sell by" date printed on them.

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July 7, 20110 found this helpful
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It is checking dumpsters for anything usable that has been discarded. Be sure that you go with someone. You sure don't want to be caught in one and unable to get out. As for legalities. Usually when something is thrown out it is fair game for anyone. How ever, Some companies do not want people searching their dumpsters and keep them locked (Walmart) . When I see something usable that has been thrown out, I always ask first. That way, if something was accidently thrown out I can be told about it. I have never been refused when I ask.

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful

Going through dumpsters to see what other people have thrown away. Could be very dangerous.

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Anonymous Flag
July 6, 20110 found this helpful

P.S. The dumpsters in my apartment complex are brown and the apartment complex rules are that you can only take what is left outside/next to the dumpsters because of/for property liability reasons.

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful

Here in FL it is not legal. You are considered trespassing and if caught you will be arrested. There was just an article in our Sunday paper about this very same thing. I think it was in not this past Sunday but the week before.

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