June 28, 2017

7 Dumpster Diving Tips

Dumpster Diving Tip #5 - Use your instincts, and your nose,  to decide what to take and what to leave.
(See more tips at bottom of post)

Some call it dumpster diving. Others call it shopping for free food, or preventing perfectly good nutrients from going to waste. However you look at it, dumpster diving takes a certain commitment  to ameliorating the crimes of capitalism.

It also takes a strong defiance towards the conventions of society. It is understood that paying full price for food (or anything) is better than buying it at a discount, or sourcing it free around back of the store after hours, or along the curb in your neighbourhood.

One is for winners, the other for the desperately down and out poor. How could it be that spending hard earned cash is the preferred option? There is no price better than free.

This weirdness is firmly in place even if the items being liberated are exactly the same as the stuff in the stores, which is often is. If you put items off the shelf next to those rescued from the garbage, most often you would not be able to tell the difference between them.

This goes for anything of use found in the garbage, and in my experience, one can find just about everything you might need in garbage bins. Over the years I have freed food, clothing, furniture, building resources, and more, from garbages and dumps. All free, my favourite price for anything.

If you can get food or other things cheaper, or for free, why wouldn't you?

The only reason one would pay for something that they could get for free is to purchase convenience and/or to save themselves the social shaming should they get "caught" liberating non-garbage from the garbage.

Garbage should consist only of bads, and never goods. Then the bads should be eliminated. It is possible to create a waste-free society. What if we took all the non-garbage, that does not belong in the dumpster in the first place, and took it instead to a Free Store?

Until that happens, or something like it that facilitates the re-consumption of discarded useful food, clothes, furniture, building materials, etc., dumpster diving may be required.

If you are considering liberating good, free stuff from behind your local restaurant, grocery distributor, or along the curb, here are some sensible tips that should help keep it safe and productive for all.

Happy dumpster diving, binning, foraging, skipping, and free shopping. Personally, I find it much more preferable, fun, satisfying and adventurous (and way less expensive) than visiting the shopping mall.


  1. Anonymous6/28/2017

    Although I have not participated in dumpster diving, we have picked up some nice stuff for free. One person in the neighborhood put out some perfectly good, just dirty, clay pots that I have used for growing herbs. Another time they put out a 2-burner Coleman camp stove, in good working condition, it just needed dusting off. Our next door neighbor, who is a wood worker, is moving and has given us lots of wood pieces for small repair projects around our house/fence. Free is a very good price! -- Mary

    1. Mary,

      There is so much abundance that we could easily do away with money all together. There is enough for everyone. It is time to end greed, and rejoice in human nature, which is loving, giving, and cooperative when not tainted by commerce and "keeping score" with our bank accounts.

  2. This is getting increasingly hard to do in the UK. More and more supermarkets lock away their bins behind high fences, or even keep them indoors in a back room right up until they're collected. It's kind of insane the lengths they go to, to keep people from getting food for free that is only going to rot and/or get dumped in landfills. What do they actually have to lose? On the other hand there have been some positive developments in Europe - France and Italy have been trying to change their laws to make it more difficult for supermarkets to waste their food, encouraging them to donate it to charities/the homeless instead.

  3. Supermarkets,fruit shops,bakeries are starting to donate food before the expired date to charities,shops belonging to charities or education places.Plus more places are growing to donate extra scrupulous of fruit and vegetables.It is just the start but good one.Local senior citizens clubs are getting donations from the bakeries.Some good news from my state Victoria _Australia.Saffron

  4. Anonymous6/30/2017

    I have always loved the idea of diving! Here in Fort Worth, it is a challenge - most dumpsters are locked up. BUT, I find oodles of wonderful stuff on the side of the curb! Large trash collection day is fun - I usually pick usable items up and take them straight to Goodwill or the local YWCA resale shop - I don't need them. I came across two very full bags of women's clothing in front of a neighbor's place once; it was like Christmas! The clothes had just been dry cleaned and were immaculate, all from really nice retailers. I have no clue why someone would trash useful things, rather than drive to the charity shop and get a tax receipt, to boot! I scooped them up, checked for bugs, and gave them to someone who I knew they would fit. She loves the clothes and looks great in them! I estimate those two grocery bags held at least $700 in clothing. WOW!! I also really love the Little Free Library craze that is going on where I live. I often oick up a good book on my morning walk. Lovely:) -Erin

    1. Anonymous12/31/2018

      I think its really awesome that you're doing that, even if it isnt stuff that you need, just to help reduce the amount of waste! that is so awesome!!

  5. I love to dumpster dive, but I am able to just reach in the bin and I have long handled reacher. I have gotten dozens of eggs, dozens of gallons of milk, bags of lemons, frozen meat on a 17 F degree day, poinsettias, every fruit and vegetable imaginable. I pick up things from the curb and get free things from neighbors who are moving. I share all the food with friends. LOL...I have no shame.

  6. Anonymous7/02/2017

    Here in Australia there is still a lot of waste in the dumpsters but I am now seeing a trend with the large supermarkets marking down their produce to ludicrously cheap prices in an attempt to sell off more before dumping (Lettuce 20c, celery 9c, broccoli 31c etc) Have seen this at several large supermarkets and some of the local fruit/veg stores are now offering lower prices also. Less waste means lower prices which means more for all and ultimately less pressure on the planet

  7. I worked at the soup kitchen today. The local bakery donates day old products and we set them out for people to take home after the meal. That way the dumpster is bypassed entirely.

  8. Anonymous7/31/2017

    Our local dollar store just rotated stock and threw out about 40 containers of juice, 10 bottles of mouthwash, 15 tube of Toothpaste,Bengay cream, lot Ramin ointment, and many other things that were past they're best buy date. We got everything and split it with another person. I just got laid off and have three children, two of which are under five, so the juice was definitely a huge plus for the kids. Also, out local dump is a great place to find items to repair and sell. I've found; an air compressor, lawnmowers, weedeaters, BBQ grills, sinks, chainsaws, boat motors, hell even a whole boat and trailer, but it was already spoken for.


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