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Guide to Safe Dumpster Diving

I heard about Freeganism about a year ago. I will admit, the idea of dumpster diving [3] for food and home items when you aren’t starving grossed me out. I just don’t think I will ever be comfortable rooting around trash to find treasures. But when I wrote about that on my own site, I was surprised by how many people have been able to find some awesome stuff in other people’s trash. Apparently, you may be surprised about the great things that you can find by dumpster diving. Here are some tips that have been suggested for finding the best stuff.

Look for Older Items

When dumpster diving, most of the new items that you will find will be worthless. The best finds are older items that may be unique or hard to find in stores. You would be surprised at the number of antique items that people discard with no thought as to their value. Old chairs, desks, nightstands, and book cases can be worth a lot of money. Remember that one man’s trash [4] can truly be another man’s treasure.

Search for Collectibles

People often throw away valuable collectibles because they are simply unaware. Old baseball cards, comic books, stamp collections, and coin collections are often thrown out by parents once their children grow up. If you can find any of these in decent condition, then you might be able to sell them for a quick profit. You don’t have to find a number one edition to make money either. One reader emailed me to let me know that they sold a bunch of old comics for $10 apiece despite the fact they were mid-series editions.

Cash in on Cans

Recyclables always have value. You are almost guaranteed that most dumpsters will have a bunch of cans and bottles in them that you can turn in for some cash. Most states will pay you a nickel for every can or bottle that you collect and some states will go as high as a dime per can. Even if you simply take them to a scrap metal facility, you can make a few dollars per bag of aluminum cans.

Cruise the Office Dumpsters

Corporate offices and supply stores often throw away brand new items just because they have some simple defect. You could score a new desk, chair, or piece of office furniture that would go perfectly in your home office. You can also resell found items via a garage sale or flea market if you want to make some extra money off of it. Please keep in mind that most corporate dumpsters are on private property though.

My Take on Dumpster Diving

Despite the emails and comments I received, I do not see myself dumpster diving in the near future. Not only would I be icked out to crawl around thrown away food, but I don’t have the time. For anybody out there that is cashing in on dumpster diving, way to go. I seriously applaud anybody making money through hard work that isn’t hurting anybody.

What are your thoughts about dumpster diving? Have you ever made a great find?

(Photo: edkohler [5])