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Dumpster diving

 
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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just too much fun, and i didn't even know there were Freegan's !!

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-great-online-resources-support-dumpster-diving-lifestyle-si/
 
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Location: Los Angeles
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good movie on netlfix called "dive" too and "gleaners" or "glean" about french gleaning folks and the legal protections of gleaners in France.
I dumpster dove exactly once for food when I was 14. We found a box of candy bars -- WOW!!
Just as we were about to make off with the booty, the store manager came out to yell at us.
She informed us the candy bars had been recalled b/c they were contaminate with worms.
Sometimes things are in the trash for a reason, but I do support diverting edible food from the waster stream, just maybe trash as food might have drawbacks if it is contaminated and not known by the consumer.
 
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I have heard that big retailers like Walmart, etc, throw away all of their garden /patio furniture by late August or so. It costs too much to ship it/store it, etc.

Anyone know if this is true or just an urban legend?
 
steward
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I'm reviving an old thread because while I saw threads about dumpster diving for art,  for livestock food, and as part of a freegan (or wombling!*) lifestyle, this seemed the best one for dumpster diving in general.

You see, going around Facebook has been this rather inane thing - list 10 or 20 concerts you've been to, but one of them is a lie. Your "friends" are supposed to pick which is the lie.

Then, a rather brilliant guy posted this, instead:

10 best things I've dumpster dove... One is a lie

1. Fresh deer head w/10 pt rack
2. Silver coins
3. Venison summer sausage
4. Prostetic leg
5. 4 cases of bananas
6. Antler handled knife
7. 7 bags of onions @ 50 lbs each
8. Brand new backpack still with tags
9. A glass eye
10. 5 car batteries that went directly to the scrap dealer and went for $25


I love it!!

Personally, I've been too chicken to dumpster dive, (except for once when someone left an awesome cast iron skillet and other cool dishes in a box next to the dumpster!), though I certainly understand and respect the practice of putting to use serviceable, edible and usable things.

*wombling - hat tip to Burra for this British term.
 
pollinator
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It is true regarding Walmart in concept.

I scored about 30 rolls of 3 feet wide, 6 inch thick, backed fiberglass insulation batting from a industrial manufacturing facility that they were going to throw on the dump. They over-ordered it for a job, but as the maintenance guy explained, it had no value, just costs.

By the time they paid employees to move it to a storage place, where it would take up space, then require more labor to take out of storage at some point in the future, and put into another construction job, it was just cheaper to throw out and then buy new insulation when they needed it the next time. No labor involved, no storage costs, no storage requirements. I can sadly see their point.

Me, I am super frugal so while they can't justify it, I certainly could not justify heat going through my attic and now have even more insulation in my super-insulated home.

Big Business: They are so efficient they are inefficient!
 
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I dumpster dove to feed my husband and I for a period while we were saving to rent a new place. We had to buy VERY little, basically just condiments and occasionally staple grains or cheese or the like. I had one source, made sure to only go in the middle of the night just after getting off work, and made certain to leave it better looking than I found it. I think we got through four months this way. I stopped when I got too pregnant to handle getting in and out of the dumpster. One time the thing was filled with two solid feet of perfect looking cabbages. I was able to select six pristine specimens and left shaking my head at the wastage, just like normal. I could never take everything the store threw away.

To the person who found the box of candy bars: I doubt the manager told you the truth. When an item is recalled, stores are required to ship the item back to the manufacturer. I think she was snowing you to keep you out of her dumpster.
 
gardener
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Years ago I found out about "The Art And Science of Dumpster Diving" from The Whole Earth Catalog.
Got a holding it and found it enlightening.
I realized I was a natural diver,with food being the only exception,and the book got me past that.
My 8 year old knows dumpster diving is for grownups,due to the hazards involded, but she is enthused every time we stop - she wants to see in and we talk about why we keep some things and leave others.
I favor hospital and college dumpsters. They are constantly remodeling and building out where I live, offering furnishing and building supplies.
Produce stands and bakeries are my favorite food suppliers.
 
gardener
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My husband and I make a living selling used items at flea markets.  We regularly shop at thrift stores and yard sales for our inventory and a few years ago we ran across a lady who had lost her job and was having yard sales at her home every week to make ends meet.  On our fourth or fifth visit she admitted that most of the items she sold were from dumpster diving at Goodwill and other thrift stores.  In most instances, the items were in pristine condition.  She was happy to sell to us and we were happy to buy, knowing that we had gotten a good deal and that we were helping a friend in need.

We did dumpster dive a few times with some success.  I would drop my husband off at the dumpster and park at the fast food restaurant next door.  On our last dive, the restaurant employees were taking turns watching the dude in the dumpster and we figured the cops were going to show up.  Of course we are not shy about helping ourselves to curbside garbage either.  I always score a supply of plastic pots and seedling trays every year.  A few years ago we found two fairly new push mowers with minor problems.  My husband fixed them, sold one, used the other one for a year and sold it too!  Of course my favorite road side find was a week ago, when we found four huge hanging baskets of petunias just in time for Mother's Day.  There's a greenhouse near the spot where we found them and we assume that they fell off their truck negotiating a sharp curve.
 
gardener
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Years ago, during a hard financial time, I would dumpster dive at a local grocery store. I knew what day of the week to show up and take home items that, just past their expiry date, were still frozen. I'd just haul them to my own freezer, no problem. Sometimes, an employee would come out back to the dumpster, but just pretend that they didn't see me.

There have been other times, at dumpsters that were provided for locals to dump their household trash, that lots of signage cautioned against diving. Some sites even had surveillance cameras installed to deter divers. I guess this all has to do with liability.

I try to play by the rules, for the most part, but I am sure that the scales of justice don't tilt in my favor. However, I feel like I miss many opportunities in trying to play by the rules. For instance, the days of clean up in town, where people can pile whatever junk curbside and the town will haul it off, I see many people helping themselves. I don't think it's legal and I feel like I would be sure to get busted if I "stole" items.

This goes for leaves piled up on the curb for town removal too. I'd love to help myself to leaves already in nice tall piles. The problem is that the town collects the leaves and then sells them after they have composted them. If I am taking something that they could make money off of, I'm sure it would not go unnoticed.

This has always baffled me. If town officials are truly in favor of recycling and reduced waste, then why is dumpster diving illegal?
 
pollinator
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I've never done it for food (wouldn't want the overprocessed 'food' that'd be thrown out of shops round here!), but plenty of times for 'stuff'. Used to work next door to a charity shop and they threw loads of stuff away that we acquired- furniture, toys, books. I have a habit of looking in every skip I go past as well- I've scored loads of polystyrene insulation, wood (timber and firewood), old carpet for the allotment, etc.
 
steward
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Oh man, this trhead brings back memories. Back story: My husband grew up poor, and his family dumpster dived. I grew up low-middle income, and we shopped thrift stores but NEVER dumpster dove.

Now the story. My husband and I were dating. We'd both driven to church in our own cars and then left from there to drive to his apartment. I'm following behind him in my car. All of a sudden, he pulls off to the side of the road. I pull over, too. "Did you see that!?!" He exclaimed.

"The sign for the park?" I respond, as I'd just seen a sign for a park, and I didn't know there was a park there.

"No, the dumpster!"

I'm very perplexed and respond with something like "huh?" or "what dumpster?"

We then get in our cars and turn around and he parks a a house with a big dumpster in front of it. I hadn't even SEEN it when driving (it's amazing how much our brains ignore certain things that we subconiously don't think are important). We park and he goes digging through it merrily. And that was the first time I went dumpster diving!

-----

Another story:

My husband still loves dumpster diving. One Easter, he, his mom, and I were all driving back from church together. As we drove, we spotted two or three big dumpsters in the parking lot of a catholic church/school. So, of course we pull over! Either my husband or his mom then deemed those dumpsters our "Easter Baskets." We found an awesome wooden rocking horse and two other cool things. We kept that rocking horse in storage for 5 years until we finally had my son. He loves riding it!

William Bronson wrote:
I favor hospital and college dumpsters.



My husband works at hospital, and they ARE always tossing perfectly good stuff in there. He's brought home a tricycle, various chairs, shelving units, giant metal buckets, and antique urinal, and a lot more that I can't remember. He passes up a lot of good stuff just because we have no room to store it!
 
pollinator
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Tool for divers: https://fallingfruit.org/
dumpsters, edible and non-edible marked.  
I've marked a few.  Out of fear of loss of resources, I have not marked some of my "best" sources, for fear of drawing attention to them and cutting into my ability to harvest.
Any other divers out there?  I'm a "semi-freegan" we still buy groceries because my wife won't fully "buy-in" to the philosophy of not buying things.  So, I just augment the table with things we would never buy.  Also, feed for livestock.
 
pollinator
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I would do this, but the last time I talked to my husband about it (about 5 years ago), he just wasn't on board.  I could barely get him to stop to pick up things on the side of the road on trash day, lol.  He has gotten better about that, so maybe I could approach the subject again. :D
 
Thomas Dean
pollinator
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Thomas Dean wrote:Tool for divers: https://fallingfruit.org/
dumpsters, edible and non-edible marked.  
I've marked a few.  Out of fear of loss of resources, I have not marked some of my "best" sources, for fear of drawing attention to them and cutting into my ability to harvest.
Any other divers out there?  I'm a "semi-freegan" we still buy groceries because my wife won't fully "buy-in" to the philosophy of not buying things.  So, I just augment the table with things we would never buy.  Also, feed for livestock.



Reviving this thread.  
I got a new job MUCH closer to home, and not in an urban area... my dumpster access is greatly reduced... but I still have some sources.  It's amazing what my own neighbors throw out!  
I am considering an end to purchased chicken feed for the adult birds, going completely to scraps and what they free-range... but the hens are getting fat... hmmm...
 
master pollinator
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Every one of the waste transfer stations and recycling centres I go to has a "take it or leave it" area. People drop off stuff they don't want but is still good to use. It diverts an amazing amount of material from the landfill. And it's a lot safer than rooting through broken glass and bags of wet cat litter.

At transfer stations without a public drop off, people strategically leave good stuff beside or on top of the bins. I scored a very nice Bose speaker system that way, including power supply (it was made for iPods, but has a 1/8" stereo jack input as well).

My favourite dumpsters are metal recycling bins. Cookware, roofing tin, eavestroughs, quality kitchen knives, T-posts, you name it.
 
Thomas Dean
pollinator
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Every one of the waste transfer stations and recycling centres I go to has a "take it or leave it" area. People drop off stuff they don't want but is still good to use. It diverts an amazing amount of material from the landfill. And it's a lot safer than rooting through broken glass and bags of wet cat litter.

At transfer stations without a public drop off, people strategically leave good stuff beside or on top of the bins. I scored a very nice Bose speaker system that way, including power supply (it was made for iPods, but has a 1/8" stereo jack input as well).

My favourite dumpsters are metal recycling bins. Cookware, roofing tin, eavestroughs, quality kitchen knives, T-posts, you name it.



In Rochester, MN, there was a "chemical room" where you could take anything you wanted.  You couldn't just leave stuff, but you could take it (I think that the drop-off was more complicated because they didn't want all kinds of nasty ick, just recognizable, useable products).  Cleaning chemicals, soaps, paints, etc.  I checked it frequently.
At my new home, we are very near the landfill - can see it when the trees loose their leaves.  They have a "no salvage" policy, but I've salvaged on community cleanup days when the workers weren't working.  SO MUCH GOOD STUFF mixed in with the true garbage. It hurts to see it.
 
Thomas Dean
pollinator
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Thomas Dean wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Every one of the waste transfer stations and recycling centres I go to has a "take it or leave it" area. People drop off stuff they don't want but is still good to use. It diverts an amazing amount of material from the landfill. And it's a lot safer than rooting through broken glass and bags of wet cat litter.

At transfer stations without a public drop off, people strategically leave good stuff beside or on top of the bins. I scored a very nice Bose speaker system that way, including power supply (it was made for iPods, but has a 1/8" stereo jack input as well).

My favourite dumpsters are metal recycling bins. Cookware, roofing tin, eavestroughs, quality kitchen knives, T-posts, you name it.



In Rochester, MN, there was a "chemical room" where you could take anything you wanted.  You couldn't just leave stuff, but you could take it (I think that the drop-off was more complicated because they didn't want all kinds of nasty ick, just recognizable, useable products).  Cleaning chemicals, soaps, paints, etc.  I checked it frequently.
At my new home, we are very near the landfill - can see it when the trees loose their leaves.  They have a "no salvage" policy, but I've salvaged on community cleanup days when the workers weren't working.  SO MUCH GOOD STUFF mixed in with the true garbage. It hurts to see it.



Now that I am thinking about it, I went and looked.  My county DOES offer "SafeChem Swap Shop" where I could go get cleaning supplies, etc... except that it is NOT in a convenient location for me at all.  But I am glad they have it!
https://www.woodtv.com/news/kent-county/now-open-what-you-can-get-for-free-inside-kent-countys-swap-shop/
 
pollinator
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I made this from a piece of wood I pulled from the trash at work.
I made several and gave most of them away.
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Thomas Dean
pollinator
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Phil Swindler wrote:I made this from a piece of wood I pulled from the trash at work.
I made several and gave most of them away.


What is it?  
 
Phil Swindler
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Thomas Dean wrote:

Phil Swindler wrote:I made this from a piece of wood I pulled from the trash at work.
I made several and gave most of them away.


What is it?  



If you look up "Tensegrity Table" you will find similar items.
They were really big in the woodworking community for awhile.
This one is about 9 inches tall.  I keep my coffee cup on it.
 
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I dumpster dive every day.. for pig food. All of the restaurants and schools in my nearby town save all food waste for me, except for two “corporate” restaurants who shall remain nameless.. let’s just call them Benny’s and Rubway. The amount of perfectly good food they prefer to send to the landfill is shocking. Perhaps even more puzzling is the patrons. It appears that most eat very little of what they order, yet they seem fatter than ever? This is strange to me, as I never leave a scrap on the occasions that I eat out, and I can’t seem to gain weight. By the way, I did this all through the “pandemic”, and never got sick once, despite sorting through used straws and napkins. Bonus.. I have a HUGE collection of silverware and dishes that the waitstaff saw fit to include in the garbage.. Thanks!
 
Thomas Dean
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Ted Abbey wrote:I dumpster dive every day.. for pig food. All of the restaurants and schools in my nearby town save all food waste for me, except for two “corporate” restaurants who shall remain nameless.. let’s just call them Benny’s and Rubway. The amount of perfectly good food they prefer to send to the landfill is shocking. Perhaps even more puzzling is the patrons. It appears that most eat very little of what they order, yet they seem fatter than ever? This is strange to me, as I never leave a scrap on the occasions that I eat out, and I can’t seem to gain weight. By the way, I did this all through the “pandemic”, and never got sick once, despite sorting through used straws and napkins. Bonus.. I have a HUGE collection of silverware and dishes that the waitstaff saw fit to include in the garbage.. Thanks!



Ted,
The school that I work at allows me to put buckets out for the students to discard their food scraps into.  I am shocked by how many students will walk right past my bin to throw food away!  I dig it out in front of the students, little shame.  I tell them that I do it for the environment and for my pocketbook (chicken food).  A lot of the food is subsidized through gov programs... so it's my tax dollars being spent to fill the landfill - so irritating! I have several stops that I frequent when out and about, several have given me permission, a few I've not asked.  Recently a student caught me on video jumping out of a local dumpster.  I laughed when they showed me.  My wife knows my habits, but would be horrified to know that the students have me on film.
As for silverware... one of my sources supplies those for me as well.  I wish I had a good home for it.  It goes in the bin for scrap.  I don't need a million spoons, and they are not high quality anyway.  
 
Ted Abbey
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Thomas Dean wrote:

Ted Abbey wrote:I dumpster dive every day.. for pig food. All of the restaurants and schools in my nearby town save all food waste for me, except for two “corporate” restaurants who shall remain nameless.. let’s just call them Benny’s and Rubway. The amount of perfectly good food they prefer to send to the landfill is shocking. Perhaps even more puzzling is the patrons. It appears that most eat very little of what they order, yet they seem fatter than ever? This is strange to me, as I never leave a scrap on the occasions that I eat out, and I can’t seem to gain weight. By the way, I did this all through the “pandemic”, and never got sick once, despite sorting through used straws and napkins. Bonus.. I have a HUGE collection of silverware and dishes that the waitstaff saw fit to include in the garbage.. Thanks!



Ted,
The school that I work at allows me to put buckets out for the students to discard their food scraps into.  I am shocked by how many students will walk right past my bin to throw food away!  I dig it out in front of the students, little shame.  I tell them that I do it for the environment and for my pocketbook (chicken food).  A lot of the food is subsidized through gov programs... so it's my tax dollars being spent to fill the landfill - so irritating! I have several stops that I frequent when out and about, several have given me permission, a few I've not asked.  Recently a student caught me on video jumping out of a local dumpster.  I laughed when they showed me.  My wife knows my habits, but would be horrified to know that the students have me on film.
As for silverware... one of my sources supplies those for me as well.  I wish I had a good home for it.  It goes in the bin for scrap.  I don't need a million spoons, and they are not high quality anyway.  



    I just came from my town run, and have the same experience at the schools. The lunch ladies are good friends of mine (they always make me a lunch to go!), and although they constantly remind the kids, only a few actually take the time and care to separate food and trash. I dig through the “garbage” can, and usually double my haul. So much uneaten food, but oddly, the kids are all fatter, too.

    On a positive note, the school district was so impressed with our efforts, that they have instituted this program in all schools district wide.. so others are benefiting, as well!
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Thomas Dean
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Ted Abbey wrote:

Thomas Dean wrote:

Ted Abbey wrote:I dumpster dive every day.. for pig food. All of the restaurants and schools in my nearby town save all food waste for me, except for two “corporate” restaurants who shall remain nameless.. let’s just call them Benny’s and Rubway. The amount of perfectly good food they prefer to send to the landfill is shocking. Perhaps even more puzzling is the patrons. It appears that most eat very little of what they order, yet they seem fatter than ever? This is strange to me, as I never leave a scrap on the occasions that I eat out, and I can’t seem to gain weight. By the way, I did this all through the “pandemic”, and never got sick once, despite sorting through used straws and napkins. Bonus.. I have a HUGE collection of silverware and dishes that the waitstaff saw fit to include in the garbage.. Thanks!



I stopped at "rubway" and a local pizza place last week, both told me that company policy did not allow them to give me food waste.
However, I've made a good and legitimate connection with the produce manager at a local store, and a couple times a week, I get boxes of produce for the livestock.

 
Ted Abbey
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Thomas Dean wrote:

Ted Abbey wrote:

Thomas Dean wrote:

Ted Abbey wrote:I dumpster dive every day.. for pig food. All of the restaurants and schools in my nearby town save all food waste for me, except for two “corporate” restaurants who shall remain nameless.. let’s just call them Benny’s and Rubway. The amount of perfectly good food they prefer to send to the landfill is shocking. Perhaps even more puzzling is the patrons. It appears that most eat very little of what they order, yet they seem fatter than ever? This is strange to me, as I never leave a scrap on the occasions that I eat out, and I can’t seem to gain weight. By the way, I did this all through the “pandemic”, and never got sick once, despite sorting through used straws and napkins. Bonus.. I have a HUGE collection of silverware and dishes that the waitstaff saw fit to include in the garbage.. Thanks!



I stopped at "rubway" and a local pizza place last week, both told me that company policy did not allow them to give me food waste.
However, I've made a good and legitimate connection with the produce manager at a local store, and a couple times a week, I get boxes of produce for the livestock.



The “rubway” dumpster is an occasional goldmine. Some days they will toss bags of 30 to 50 foot long loaves of bread. My pigs love it..

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William Bronson
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My sister teaches at a place called La Soupe.(https://www.lasoupe.org/)
It exists to divert food waste away from landfills and into the mouths of the needy.
Vollenteers prep ingredients for the chefs, then they make a communal meal.  
It's a good time for anyone who likes cooking and community.
They get  good stuff from local grocery stores, and the meals are delicious.
They compost or recycle almost every scrap ,  right down to the food handling gloves.



I don't currently dive for food or feed, since I only have 3 chickens, but I do stop and grab the best bits out of construction dumpsters.
When I do dive for edibles, Aldi is my go to.
Since they've raised their produce standards, the pickings are better than ever, but they are still too cheap to pay for a compacting dumpster.
Trader Joe's is also good, but too far away from me.
I've noticed my birds don't care for whitehead, but I don't think it's them being smart, since they love themselves some styrofoam...

I've been tempted to dive a KFC dumpster, just for the bones.
Make bone char with them and grow a bunch of melons or squash
Even the paper would be useful for making fire, and the cups for starting plants.
Only plastic would be hard to use, and that could be returned to the dumpster!

 
Thomas Dean
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William Bronson wrote: My sister teaches at a place called La Soupe.(https://www.lasoupe.org/)
It exists to divert food waste away from landfills and into the mouths of the needy.
Vollenteers prep ingredients for the chefs, then they make a communal meal.  
It's a good time for anyone who likes cooking and community.
They get  good stuff from local grocery stores, and the meals are delicious.
They compost or recycle almost every scrap ,  right down to the food handling gloves.



I don't currently dive for food or feed, since I only have 3 chickens, but I do stop and grab the best bits out of construction dumpsters.
When I do dive for edibles, Aldi is my go to.
Since they've raised their produce standards, the pickings are better than ever, but they are still too cheap to pay for a compacting dumpster.
Trader Joe's is also good, but too far away from me.
I've noticed my birds don't care for whitehead, but I don't think it's them being smart, since they love themselves some styrofoam...

I've been tempted to dive a KFC dumpster, just for the bones.
Make bone char with them and grow a bunch of melons or squash
Even the paper would be useful for making fire, and the cups for starting plants.
Only plastic would be hard to use, and that could be returned to the dumpster!



I have experience diving in other communities, but now I live and work in my little home town, so I have less opportunity.
I will look up La Soupe later, just out of curiosity.
I am familiar with ALDI.  I echo your sentiments.  A decade or so ago I lived within biking distance of one.  I visited often.  Daily.  My job the past 6 years was right near an ALDI in another community & state.  I'd visit nearly daily.  Now I only go to ALDI about 1x a month, but one just opened in a nearby community.  I need to visit sometime.
Trader Joes' was my first experience diving for food.  I was on bicycle (had racks and baskets), almost could not carry all I gathered.  MANY, MANY eggs that day.  I have not been to a TJ's in about a decade, there are none convenient for me.
There is a local place that does a lot of meat cutting (not a true butcher shop, but they process deboned deer meat, as well as selling steaks, making jerky, etc).  I have permission to look for cardboard in their dumpster, but I pull out meat and bones too.  The dogs get most of that.  The leftover (chewed on) bones get thrown into the fireplace when I have  a hot fire, little crumbly bits of bone end up in the garden when the ashes go out, same idea.  
Plastic waste is a pain.  We don't pay for curbside trash removal.  I'm guilty of burning much of it in a burn barrel.  I don't want to get caught putting trash INTO the dumpsters that I get cardboard, etc out of, as it might jeopardize my ability to continue to remove materials, even if what I am putting in came from that same place the day before.  
 
William Bronson
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We helped a church friend move today.
Although we brought boxes, we ran out.
Fortunately we were only a mile from a pair of dumpsters I frequent.
One is a perpetual construction dumpster, a real golden egg laying goose.
It took some willpower to ignore it, but I was on a mission.
The other is always filled with boxes.
Clean dry boxes, no food or ick.
I'm not sure why its like that , but it came in handy today.

Ive got a bum leg right so I couldn't get in the dumpster to get all of them, but it was a good haul, nonetheless.
 
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I can just imagine the scene William, belly balanced on the dumpster edge.
Body see- sawing as your centre of balance changes.
Ever shot down into a bin?
 
Thomas Dean
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John C Daley wrote:I can just imagine the scene William, belly balanced on the dumpster edge.
Body see- sawing as your centre of balance changes.
Ever shot down into a bin?


I'm youngish and relatively spry.  I often go all the way in, but I've done the "belly-balance" and almost went in that way, unintentionally.
Better to just go all the way in feet first, if safe to do so.  
I remember meeting an older diver who was panicked because she had dropped her phone in when leaning over the edge.  I dove in to find it for her.  I think she was also chemically impaired... but she needed help, so I helped.  Back in that city, there were quite a few divers - some frugal people, some extreme eco-nuts, some hippies, and some homeless who were often drunk/high.  There was MORE than enough to go around. Now I'm the only "local" I see, and since getting my new job in the community, I have to be very aware that there is a good chance one of my students will see me.  It limits me a bit.  Not that I care too much, but just in case someone decides to seek legal recourse for my "trespassing" or something, now they know who I am.

 
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The talk of diving on behalf of chickens reminded me I wanted to ask this question. I get a bag of coffee grounds often from a cafe. It has a few pastries and cake in it. If I had chickens, would it be good to dump the sacks in the run and let them pick at the pastries among the coffee grounds? Or would chocolate cake and coffee grounds be bad for them?
 
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I carry long sticks with hooks on the ends, and in my truck a short step stool. I got hurt badly once getting out of a dumpster, and I don't get in them anymore. Late on a cold winter night, industrial area, no one to help, and I had tossed out the things I could have stood on. Limped for a month. Learned my lesson! I do still lean over them, and have almost belly slid in. I was trying to haul something heavy out recently and had no leverage, it tried to haul me in instead!  

I find appropriate tools MUCH safer! I have asst things in the truck, can get almost anything out. Recently got out of a construction dumpster by myself (and I'm not feeling strong these days, health stuff) a 5 foot diameter glass and heavy metal patio table. Very pretty! Not a light beastie at all. Already had the heavy metal matching chairs for it. Not sure what metal, doubt they are steel, but definitely not aluminum. The whole batch was heavy, and I got very creative with it all to get them. Good tools for the win!
 
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Where I live there is a lot of "stooping" where you place something you no longer want on the stoop (or anywhere accessible to the sidewalk) and sometimes put a "free" sign on it so that any passerby can take it if they want it. There is also the bigger items that are placed in a building's trash area ahead of heavy trash day, which if you can haul it you can take it. Larger buildings have "take it" tables in the laundry rooms. It's incredible the things you can find, I once supplied all the (matching and high quality) dinner and glassware for a friend's new condo from a box on the street. I found a like-new toaster oven, an antique brass candlestick, books, mirrors, a shopping granny cart, and have passed up countless other treasures. I have often thought it would be an interesting creative challenge to completely furnish a place with what you get from stooping or free craigslist etc.

Most of the local stores and restaurants that would have the potential to dumpster dive for edible things deal with the local shelter so I don't even mess with that. I grew up on the day old bread from a bakery (given, not gleaned) and I guess I'm kind of over it. My dad also  used to freegan at the big state farmers market near where I grew up, pulling boxes of tomatoes and bananas and produce that hadn't sold out, until a state trooper caught him and told him he needed a permit to get pig feed out of the dumpsters. He made sure to tell us little piggles at home about that



 
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When there is a need for boxes some of the best places are the variety type stores such as Dollar General, and Family Dollar.

The contents of those dumpsters are usually just boxes.  No food scrap that might destroy the boxes.

I usually ask before taking items from the dumpster.

I once called a carpet store to inquire about room-size carpet remnants and was directed to look in their dumpsters.
 
Thomas Dean
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Rebecca Norman wrote:The talk of diving on behalf of chickens reminded me I wanted to ask this question. I get a bag of coffee grounds often from a cafe. It has a few pastries and cake in it. If I had chickens, would it be good to dump the sacks in the run and let them pick at the pastries among the coffee grounds? Or would chocolate cake and coffee grounds be bad for them?



I'd give it to the chickens.  Cake is empty calories, but so is cracked corn... As for the coffee grounds, I doubt they will eat enough to matter.  I used to get coffee grounds and add them to my compost, which the chickens have access to.  That was pre-covid and pre-job change, both of which stalled collection of coffee grounds for me.  I even saw that TSC offered a bedding made of used coffee grounds.  I saw it once, then never again.   Reasonable idea.  Also, here's some info about coffee bedding, have not read it, but I think it's the same stuff I saw at TSC  https://blog.meyerhatchery.com/2022/06/using-coffee-grounds-bedding/
 
Thomas Dean
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Thomas Dean wrote:

Rebecca Norman wrote:The talk of diving on behalf of chickens reminded me I wanted to ask this question. I get a bag of coffee grounds often from a cafe. It has a few pastries and cake in it. If I had chickens, would it be good to dump the sacks in the run and let them pick at the pastries among the coffee grounds? Or would chocolate cake and coffee grounds be bad for them?



I'd give it to the chickens.  Cake is empty calories, but so is cracked corn... As for the coffee grounds, I doubt they will eat enough to matter.  I used to get coffee grounds and add them to my compost, which the chickens have access to.  That was pre-covid and pre-job change, both of which stalled collection of coffee grounds for me.  I even saw that TSC offered a bedding made of used coffee grounds.  I saw it once, then never again.   Reasonable idea.  Also, here's some info about coffee bedding, have not read it, but I think it's the same stuff I saw at TSC  https://blog.meyerhatchery.com/2022/06/using-coffee-grounds-bedding/



Just read that blog I shared...

You don’t want to make your own coffee grounds bedding. Keep this to the professionals.


Yeah... LOL.
 
William Bronson
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My middle has plenty of padding, and my back end is a substantial counter weight,  so my teeter-on-the-edge game is quite good!
I've never fell in, but I used to go in foot first all the time.

That being said,  I prefer Pearls style of retrieval.
Honestly,  she brings home things that I won't even try to tackle!

Rebecca, I throw pastries and coffee grounds to my chickens, no problem.
That being said, I also throw citrus and allium scraps to my chickens, too.
I give them anything that's not moldy or anaerobic.
They eat what they want  from that.  

Side note, the people behind the Nest thermostat are pitching a garbage can that turns food scraps into chicken feed.
They call it Mill, and it's a grinder/dehydrator.
The dry meal produced is then  mailed back to the company, for only 30 bucks a month!


 
Thomas Dean
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Found a "new" pair of blaze orange snow pants last week.  Just in time for cold weather, also my doubled up blue jean "snowpants" were at the point where the holes on the interior and exterior pairs were growing large enough to have overlap and let in cold air.  
I think in the long run, I need to set up another pair of doubled up blue jeans... for farm work they are so much more durable, and I would feel bad ripping these "new" snowpants, which really are in good condition.  
Plus, I am more conspicuous in my blaze orange pants when I go into town in my barn clothes.  Old blue jeans are less memorable for anyone who might see me diving.  
 
She still doesn't approve of my superhero lifestyle. Or this shameless plug:
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