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Your Take: Any Dumpster Divers Out There?

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Dumpster!Earlier this week, Crystal shared a few safety and frugal tips for dumpster diving and I thought it’d be fun to revisit the idea, the subject of a former Your Take a few years ago. Since then, I’ve still never gone into a dumpster but I routinely walk Tobey, our beagle, beside some dumpsters outside an apartment complex near our house.

When I walk by, I can usually see a litany of stuff people are disposing of as they move out. There’s usually some broken furniture, some computers and televisions that probably don’t work, and your usually assortment of cardboard boxes and general trash. While I’ve yet to take anything to keep myself, I have picked up several computers, the ones that are left on the ground beside the dumpster, that I simply drove to the local Best Buy to recycle. While I have no interest in any of the stuff I’ve seen so far, I figure I can do my part to recycle all those heavy metals and other crap that we don’t need leeching into our ground water.

I’ve read about some fantastic dumpster diving finds but have yet to see anything worth actually diving in a dumpster for. :)

(Photo: warrenski)

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18 Responses to “Your Take: Any Dumpster Divers Out There?”

  1. daenyll says:

    I work next to a security company, and the other engineers are always checking the dumpster to see what fun electronics and stuff the security drivers have thrown out.

  2. Dave says:

    My stepdad is a Home Depot dumpster diver. He’s found a ton of awesome stuff, albeit a bit dented. Perfectly good grills with a dented cabinet or tools that have broken plastic but work perfectly… his biggest score that I know of though was a $3000 hydrolic dump trailer that was being thrown out because it had some dents and a bent rim – he replaced the rims and it was like new…

  3. lostAnnfound says:

    Have not gone dumpster diving, but have done trash picking. My husband does this a little more frequently than I do, picking up metal things from stuff left out on trash day, brings it to the scrap yard.

  4. Glenn Lasher says:

    A friend of mine has, and has turned up all kinds of interesting things from Staples and Office Depot.

    I used to know a guy who lived on the edge of an affluent neighbourhood and would go biking on garbage day, making mental notes of what he saw and where. He would then go to those places with his van, retrieve, repair and sell what he found.

    He actually gave me two of the things he found: a microwave oven (needed a new door seal, which he put on and tested for leakage) which was retired a few years ago, and a stereo receiver, which I used for ten years or so, and then handed on to my wife, who still uses it, and it still sounds great.

  5. Husker Avid says:

    I once picked up an oil painting in an alley. I enjoyed it until my husband trashed it during a move. I guess he didn’t like it! Oh, the painting wasn’t very good.

  6. Michele says:

    My father in law trash picked a Microwave that was still under warranty, we used it for 23 years before it was retired.

    Once, a coworker found an oriental rug in a dumpster, it was pretty rough looking in some spots, it had some signs of wear but it was from the late 1800′s, with some tlc and restoration, it was worth over $10,000.

  7. freeby50 says:

    I’ve never done it.

    My dad finds stuff in the trash cans at his rentals. Nothing too impressive. Theres frequently household items and clothing. He got an old but working laptop once and I believe a small TV/VCR combo unit.

  8. Wilma says:

    I went to work and asked others what they thought of the dumpster diving thing. Seems there are regular store dumpster divers among my coworkers. From pet stores to grocery stores to hard ware stores and every thing in between. I’m told there’s money to be made and free is awesome even if it’s slightly imperfect. Dumpster diving makes the pay check go farther.

  9. Martha says:

    The best thing I found from the “dumpster” was at my boyfriend’s apartment complex; there was a smallish TV (25″) that even had a remote that was taped to it! I used that TV in my first apartment and it still worked until the day that I gave it away. I always loved the end of the month at my apartment complex too because people were moving out and would tend to leave lots of good furniture and electronics!

  10. As I wrote in a recent post, I’m not a dumpster diver. I’m more of a dumpster WADER, sort of paddling around the edge. If I see something I can reach, sure. Still using the floor lamp that I pulled out six years ago, for example.
    Most recently someone was moving out and among other things dumped one of those Costco packs of Hormel chili. Nine of the 12 cans were still in it! Worse, it had been put into the recycle bin even though the cans were still full. So yes, I pulled it out.
    A couple of days later a friend visited and invited me to go to church with him. He mentioned wanting to donate to the church’s food bank. I said, “Hold on a minute” and got out the box of canned chili. (I also added half a dozen cans of tuna and a 42-ounce box of oatmeal.)
    Apparently I was *meant* to dumpster dive that day. ;-)

  11. skylog says:

    living in a city with a very large university in it, there are several times throughout the year when there are just tons, literally, of goods out by dumpsters.

    i personally never have dove in, but there are certainly crews that go around town during those times and load up. to be honest, i do not blame them. the just horrid waste that takes place really makes me sad. i understand why people do not want to take certain things with them when they move out; but, the number of more or less new items that get thrown out is staggering. items that many people could use.

  12. Master Allan says:

    More of a dumpster drive-by instead of diving. At the dumpster for a small business office park I worked ten year ago someone left a Macintosh Performa.

    Not too high end for the time but an interesting find. with the computer was the CRT monitor, instruction manuals, original software CDs, keyboard, mouse, and original box!

    The drive was wiped but OS was included. I gave it away for free to the first person to respond at my university. Perfect for someone in need or wanting to learn computer usage.

  13. Strebkr says:

    I don’t dumpster dive, but just last night a neighbor we don’t know about 10 houses down threw out a TON of kids toys. They were moving and didnt want to take it. So we go some large stuff like a kids picnic table, sandbox, water table, etc.

  14. Ray says:

    i have found thousands of $$$ worth of merchandise in the Staples dumpster near my house ! printers, scanners, software, even computers, and alot of new wireless accessories :) oh and i have found 4 office chairs 3 in the boxes still and one that was already put together but in perfect condition :)

  15. sarah says:

    I have found tbd vcrs chairs phones computer things mostly little things. Still waiting on My big score.


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