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Selasa, 30 Oktober 2007

dumpster diving or trashpicking

Dan's Trashy Page


Here are my general suggestions for those considering dumpster diving or trashpicking. Some of them are probably common sense, some of them may not be.

Check your state and local laws first.
While dumpster diving and trashpicking are probably legal most places, you probably don't want to find out the hard way that they're not in your town. Your library or town hall probably has state laws and local ordinances. Some states have their laws on the web as well.
Don't rule out free non-trash things.
Many people will "set out" whatever's left at the end of their yard sale, in the hope that someone will see it and find a use for it. If you see it, and have a use for it, you can make their wish come true - and this stuff is generally in better shape than what you'd find in a dumpster.
Scout your locations ahead of time.
Dumpster diving and trashpicking are harmless, usually legal and generally have a positive effect on society and the world as a whole. Of course, not everyone understands this. It helps to become familiar with a dumpster's surroundings and visit it at times when you are least likely to offend the sensibilities of the less sensible.
Try not to look like a criminal.
The proper image is that of a harmless, if slightly eccentric, frugal-nature-lover sort. I'll second someone else's suggestion that your "digging stick" be a cane or walking staff of some sort. Avoid dark colors at night, and dress "down." Don't take papers - the last thing you want is to be found with a credit-card receipt or something marked "confidential" hanging out of your pocket.
Bikes and bags are your friends.
Wheels get you places a lot faster, and bags make it a lot easier to carry loot, without people staring at you funny as you stagger down the street under the weight of a dozen mainframe disk packs or whatever. A backpack or shoulder bag should do just fine. If you don't want to limit yourself to what you can carry on a bike, a car will hold more - but cars are far more likely to attract suspicion.
If something doesn't look like trash, ask!
If you're diving a consumer-electronics store and find a whole carton of brand-new Walkmen, march them right inside, flag down a security guard and let them know you found them "out by the dumpster." Some employees try to steal things by putting them in with the trash and coming back for them later, and you don't want to receive any stolen material. And who knows, maybe they'll say "oh, we meant to throw them out" and let you keep them.
Be careful
Remember, you're dealing with unknown material here. Some of it may be harmful. Sturdy shoes and clothes are the way to go. Gloves, if you have them. If the dumpster's an old one with a metal lid that doesn't swing all the way open, make sure it's propped very securely, so it doesn't go shut on your head. All the usual warnings about tainted food apply. Places that sell fresh food are probably better than ones that sell "prepared" food.
Use your common sense
If you can't find a use for something, leave it. Maybe someone else will come along who can use it. If not, it might as well go to the dump. If something was inside the dumpster when you arrived, it should (unless you take it) be there when you leave. We're not dogs or raccoons, and we don't accomplish anything by strewing garbage around.
Learn to "shop" trash
Become familiar with what you can expect to find where. If the neighbors around the corner throw away one or two old suitcases a week - ours did - you know where to look for luggage. Produce is more likely to be in the supermarket dumpster than the bookstore dumpster. And so on. But don't be surprised if someone's dumped something inappropriate in an unexpected dumpster - my first dived computer came from one behind a pizza parlor.
Avoid compactors
Anything that's in there is squished already. You could be, too. And don't try to dive a dumpster that's about to be picked up.
Obey security
If they say leave, leave. And don't go back.
Don't be a nuisance
Don't be loud, obnoxious, or do anything that would consitute disturbing the peace. People will call the cops on you for that.

The Manifesto

My Trashy Past



Diving Tips

Other Dumpsters

Books To Dive

Dan's Trashy Page, 1998-2001, Dan Birchall
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