Tashy Crap Get Money Dumpster Diving Page
When was the last time that you threw out something
that was still useful,
or something that could be recycled?
When was the last time you threw out something
because you didn't want anybody to read it?
Contrary to popular belief, discarded stuff doesn't just
disintegrate when it hits the dumpster. Now, before you
go thinking that I'm some weepy environmentalist, let
me assure you, I'm not.
I'm a Dumpster Diver.
Ewwww! Aren't there icky germs in there?
Human beings come equipped with this rather nifty
thing called an immune system. Although you may not
believe it after watching soap commercials, it protects us
from those icky germs. Personally, I have been dumpster
diving for a solid year and a half, and have eaten food
that I found in the trash. It was quite good, thank you,
and I have somewhat obviously lived to write this page.
But doesn't it smell bad?
It really depends on the dumpster. Residential trash,
which we've all had to deal with from time to time, does,
in fact, smell bad. Commercial trash, on the other hand,
doesn't smell nearly as bad, and, in some cases, actually
smells good (florist's dumpsters, for example, smell like
If it was any good, why would it be in the trash?
Again, when was the last time you threw out something
that was still useful? If it was any good, why did you
throw it out?
Okay, so why should I dumpster dive?
People are throwing away lots of good stuff every day.
No, really. For example, here's some of the stuff I've
A Marantz stereo tuner.
Movie posters (including Liar Liar and The Fifth
Videos (including The Fugitive and Johnny Mnemonic)
Two flashlights (both working, with batteries)
Countless "Demo CD's"
The board from an "Astro Fighter" machine.
A Webster's New World Dictionary.
Lots of binders, phone books, tapes, disks, CD-Roms,
magazines, paperback books, and calendars (this
A "Far Side" calendar display, which makes an excellent
The obligatory "Spool".
A TRS-80, in working condition. Ironic, considering the
nickname of the TRS-80: The Trash-80.
Ok, so how do I dumpster dive?
Look in the trash. Get stuff. That's the essence of it. Of
course, there are some finer points, like what to wear,
what to bring, and so forth. Which I'm about to get to.
What to wear.
Just about anything, really. Some people wear gloves,
but why bother? You really don't get that messy.
Basically, be comfortable.
What to bring.
A car. Not really necessary, unless you want range that
can't be provided by walking or using a bike. If you take
a car, I recommend taking a phone book. That way, if
you think of a type of business that might be good to
dive, you can look it up in the Yellow Pages. A "Dive
stick". This is just a pole with a hook in the end. It is
used to move trash out of the way. If you dive a night, a
flashlight. A good one, not one of those cheap
Eveready ones. Get a Mag Lite, or go to an Army
Surplus Store and get one of their flashlights. Get
Code of Conduct
DON'T MAKE A MESS. In fact, clean up the area
around the dumpster. Don't dive behind a fence. If it's
behind a fence, it's there for a reason, even if the reason
is that the owner of the dumpster is just a jerk. Ignore
labels on the dumpster. They are put there by the
company that makes the dumpster, so that they won't be
liable if anything happens to you. Which brings me to
another point: If you injure yourself or get food
poisoning or something, DON'T SUE. It's your own fault
for being in the trash.
Where to Dive
Bakeries. Lots of bread, cakes, and so forth. Donut
stores are good and predictable.
Thrift stores. People throw out stuff they can't sell to
the store. The guitar, dictionary, and TRS-80 were all
from the same thrift-store dumpster.
Bookstores. "Virtual subscriptions" to any magazine
they sell are entirely possible. They rip the first half of
the magazine in half lengthwise, but guitar magazines
still have the tabs in the back, Gamefan still has the
Animefan section intact, and half a Computer Shopper
is like a quarter of a phone book. AOL disks are rare
nowadays, but used to be commonplace. "Demo CD's"
have replaced them as the standard issue with computer
magazines. The duplicates are essentially useless, but
they make good coasters (if you put something cold on
them, they warp).
Video rental places. Movie posters are a given. Videos
are rare, though not impossible.
Where not to dive
Office supply stores. You'll find a lot of promisingly
Any medical dumpster is stupid to dive. Not only are
there actual lethal germs circulating in there, there are
also needles, broken glass, and other biohazards.