Urbandumpsterdiver's Blog

August 31, 2009

Monday night finds

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 11:33 pm

Tonight didn’t find a lot. A bag of chips (unopened), 1 bag of cookies, 1 bag of fig newtons and 2 loaves of bread (new).

What I did find tonight in the dumpster and happens often is what really upsets me. 5 containers of coffee thrown in the trash. Not thrown out, but the contents emptied and THEN thrown out in the trash. It takes more effort to open each and every container and throw it in the trash rather than dump the containers in the trash.

Someone could have used that coffee. This is the part of dumpster diving that really bothers me. Why the waste? Why can’t these store owners donate that to a soup kitchen or battered women’s shelter. That type of behavior is mean spirited and hateful. With so many Americans out of work, couldn’t this have been done differently?

Sunday Night – Curbside Recycling

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 1:33 am

Another part of dumpster diving is curbside recyling. Many times if someone is having a garage sale and they can’t sell it all – they’ll put a sign out for free and you take what you can.

Coming home from dinner tonight  I saw a big pile of stuff in someone’s driveway close to my home. I encountered another fellow diver as well. Young single mom with one child. We talked a little. She was able to fill up the back of her truck with some goodies – good for her.

I scored pretty good tonight. Brand new wall painting from Ikea. A new corkboard for my office. 1 set of cocktail plates from the Pottery barn (brand new still in package), a cool pair of sunglasses, 1 Krups juicer. I love fresh juice, especially lemonade.

One man’s trash is truly one man’s treasure. I’m seeing more divers like myself. Is it a sign of the times or is my radar just on to notice folks like me?

August 29, 2009

Saturday Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 11:09 pm

On the way home stopped at my normal route. My DD friend was there diving away. She wants me to go out with her son (he’s my age). I told her I was taken. Not interested in dating a man who lives with Momma.  

Only retrieved a broom and pail (new). I don’t need one but I took it home, put it my trash bin so another neighbor can have it.

Did retrieve a rug (new) so that will cover my kitchen.

The heat creates a crappy environment for Dumpster Diving. Food is not something I pick up with this heat, too risky. No idea how long it’s been out there.

August 27, 2009

Dumpster Diving Friend – Tonight’s Finds

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 11:32 pm

Drove to one of the stops on my route tonight. Bumped into a fellow diver. Senior citizen, late 70’s. Dumpster divers for the most part are good people. We met for the first time a few weeks ago. She’s a little braver than me. She parks her car right up to the dumpster and just jumps in the bin if she sees some serious goodies. She’s a spry thin woman who has a lot of spark left in her. I like that.

We talked a little. She’s on a fixed income (social security) and lives in a mobile home. Her son who is my age lost his job and is now living with her to get back on his feet. She foraged about 3 dozen bags of chips (still new intact in their bags). She gave a box to me. She didn’t have to, but that’s how we divers are. Also got about dozen name brand liquor velvet bags (would be good for gifts) and several paper bags (good for lunches).

She told me many people in her mobile home park are hurting big time. As a lot of us are. Whatever she doesn’t use, she passes around the park. I do the same things with my neighbors and friends. She’s been diving 20 years. We both agree it’s addictive and it really is, but in a good way. We’re saving these items from being thrown in the landfill and we’re saving money.

The other night the store threw out a brand new fire pit table. Nothing wrong with it whatsoever. It’s not something I’d use but someone else could use it. There is another young male diver I see there occasionally. He’s looking for bigger ticket items. I walked over to him and said you know you should take that home.

He said nah, you saw it first. I said yeah, I did, but I’ll never use it. So he comes to pick it up and hauls it in his truck. He has a little one and a wife. He lost his job and the wife is the only one working. He said you know, this fire pit table will be just perfect. The wife and I can’t go out that much as money is tight, but this would be good in our back porch. We can sit and have a beer and have a romantic evening.

That made my night.

The Invisible People

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 12:52 am

No dumpster diving finds tonight. Tonight when I’m driving to my route (for lack of a better term), I see the invisible people. The people you only see at night. The homeless man riding his bicycle with a bags of cans taped to his bike. The homeless lady walking around with a couple of bags trying to look inconspicous. I live in a fairly affluent area. Homeless people (even the ones who are trying to be discrete) still continue to get hassled by the local police.

The other invisible people are those who are living in an RV, their car or their office. As I drive by at night, I pass several office buildings in my area. The lights are on in the offices, more so than they used to be. Sometimes I think these folks are living in their office. Maybe they’re self-employed and it’s easier to live in their office, rather than trying to pay for two domiciles. My heart goes out to them.

I also have many housing tracts in my area that are empty. There are far more empty houses than the media would let you believe. I should know, I’m out on my route every single night.

I’ve had a few friends ask me if I were to win the lottery or my business take off (which is something I’m also working on, building my business) would I still dive? The answer is yes. One would think businesses would allocate or donate the stuff they throw out to various charities or individuals in the community who are in need.

The main reason they don’t is liability. I pull the food out of the dumpster, get sick and sue you. That’s part of it, the other part is the unawareness of how bad things really are for some and lack of will to help in their community.

August 26, 2009

How I got started in dumpster diving

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 10:48 pm

A couple of years ago I was laid off from my job with no advance warning. Just one day I came into work and it was over before I could turn on my computer. My supervisor called me, we don’t need you anymore, we’re scaling back, buh bye. It was like being dumped, it really hurt. I filed for unemployment and didn’t realize until later that was the start of the recession. I applied for a lot of jobs and just nothing panned out.

After my first bout of unemployment ended, I took 3 minimum wage jobs just to keep food on the table. After two months two of the places closed down and the 3rd laid me off. No unemployment, nothing. I was getting really depressed. Big time. Seeing that I’m single and self sufficient, it’s either sink or swim for me.

A few months later a new unemployment extension was approved in my state. I was so relieved. So I was back on the hamster wheel, drawing unemployment, looking for work.

A few months later after I saw the Oprah broadcast on freeganism, I knew this was something I had to seriously look into. Freegans are those who forage for food out of the dumpster.

Freegan Website

The first night out I recovered out of the trash (this was during the holidays) a 5 foot angel statue, probably a store display. Nothing wrong with it. I gave it to a friend of mine who was a devout catholic and loved the angel statue. Perfect fit. She was so excited when she saw the statue she cried. She was hurting for money and didn’t have that many Christmas decorations so that angel really boosted her spirits.

After that, nightly I would peruse the back alleys and find an enormous amount of treasures. Many nights I have filled up the back of my car. Bananas, oranges, limes, lemons, onions, etc. I never took meat out of the dumpster unless it was pre-cooked or just thrown out (i.e. frozen). I’ve never gotten sick from any of the food I’ve retrieved.

Occasionally the homeless will stop by as I’m diving and ask me if I would retrieve something from the trash for them as I have a little more sophisticated equipment than they do. I can also stay incognito as I look like some surfer chick from the beach. I boogie board every chance I get. One night a man came by and said I’ve heard about you. You’re the one with the golden hair who’s very nice. I remember commenting to him that sometimes I was a little sketchy going out at dark. He said nah, don’t worry. We watch out for you.

One night I found over $200 worth of makeup just dumped in the trash. This was new stuff, no dimestore brand, genuinely good stuff, high end. More makeup than I’ll ever use in a lifetime. There are a couple of places in my area (retail establishments) where most of the people who work there are what I consider the working poor. Most of the makeup I gave to the ladies in the store. Needless to say I get excellent service when I go into that store.

Since I’ve been diving and giving stuff away I never worry about money anymore. I just don’t. It’s changed me in a very big way. I loathe malls and shopping now. I usually just buy small amounts of food, gasoline and necessities. If companies continue to throw perfectly good stuff in the trash – then people like myself and others who need it – will use it.

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