Monday, July 16, 2012

An Introduction to Dumpster Diving

Intro image CC via Flickr

What, you’ve never heard or partaken in a spot of dumpster diving? What in god’s name have you been doing all your life? Your sheltered life needs some form of excitement in it and dumpster diving is definitely the way to go. Ok, we’re joking; you’re not really a weirdo if you’ve never jumped into the hobby of dumpster diving, but you’re intrigued by what it could be, aren’t you? Well then, you'd better read on!

Ok, so dumpster diving. It’s basically what it says it is: diving into dumpsters. That’s a bin for any of you not accustomed to American parlance. Of course you don’t literally dive in though, that would be ridiculous and dangerous.

The idea around it comes from this new-age concern for trying to stop waste. In the west, we tend to discard a lot of food, clothing and basic items because we’re used to such a luxurious lifestyle of abundance. The US, for instance, wastes 40-50% of its food produce due to government-imposed ‘use-by’ dates, so it’s no wonder that dumpster diving has started to catch on.

Basically, you’ll find yourself a skip or rubbish bin and, as you can imagine, just start wading through it to find items of worth. It sounds disgusting, smells probably horrendous, but there are a lot of companies out there who bin a lot of perfectly usable items – and people have started to realise this.

Supermarkets, for instance, are legally forced to bin items which have passed their sell-by or use-by date. But, in theory, these food items – like cereal – would be fine to eat as long as they didn’t contain any dairy or ingredients which tend to go-off or become mouldy. Dumpster divers will poke their head and hands into the supermarket’s skip and take home their winnings – all for free.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? You’re coming around to the idea and you want some of that dirty rubbish all in and around your face. The thought of cutting down on your bills every month with a spot of dumpster diving appeals and you’re not ashamed who knows it. But wait! There is a bit of a legal issue.

Firstly, you’re trekking onto private property, so in theory you’re trespassing. Likewise, you’re taking something which you didn’t pay for. Ultimately it’s a bit of a grey area. While you’d be technically subject to prosecution should the owner of the dumpster in question want to press charges, the likelihood of them doing so is low since most people don’t really care about the stuff they throw away. That’s why they threw it away.

Supermarkets have been less happy with the divers in recent years as they feel like there’s huge scope for the diver to take plenty of produce which they have paid for. And, if you think about it, the image it portrays for the supermarkets is extremely negative. Would you want to shop at a store which has dozens of people searching through their bins every night?

So be careful out there. Dive responsibly, be respectable to each individual company and don’t take cheese and milk.

Of course, if you're looking for a way to kickstart your finances that doesn't involve wading around in waste, there's always forex trading from!

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